Among recent accomplishments, James Nihan's song, This Land is not Our Land, is on the Grammy-nominated CD by Becky Hobbs entitled "Nanyehi, Beloved Woman of the Cherokee", which is also a musical play funded by a grant from the Smithsonian Institute. The song is also being used to promote conservation of our natural resources. He lent his narrative voice to a documentary on the Inupiat tribe of Barrow, Alaska and Seeds of Light is the title inclusion of the Unity Church International Songbook. James' anthem, I See the Light in Everything, received the 1st Place People's Choice Award, as a 'world peace' song, from the organization Bring Peace Not Pain, supported by many artists including Yusuf (Cat Stevens). Original Notes: It was three years ago that the CD All Creation was released. At that point I felt I had nothing more to say. Earlier this year (2008), I began to feel that urge, that fire, once again. I began booking studio time with Duane and proceeded with the faith that 'if I book it, they will come.' The songs, that is. They did and I am grateful once again for the divine hand that I believe guides me through these blessed challenges. - James (Read James Bio Below) A few words about the songs... Three Petals - Inspired by a beautiful Peruvian despacho ceremony I attended in 2007 in California (Summer Celebration of Love). Hovenweep - A decade ago Dawn and I walked through the ruins of Hovenweep in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. We felt a mystical energy there in the haunting silence. A decade later, I was asleep and dreamt I had pen in hand and was writing a new song. Aware that I was dreaming, I wondered what I was writing. At the top of the page I found the word 'Hovenweep'. When I awoke, I finished it - a tribute to the ancient Anazasi people. Love Is not a Verb - As Dawn was teaching the Intent Mastery group in Tennessee one Sunday morning, she spoke these words. I'd never heard her say them before and it sounded like a song title. Sitting there, I quickly thought of a chorus. Later, at home, we finished it. We often blame love for causing us problems but, the truth is, love is blameless...love is love. What hurts us are the skewed beliefs and unrealistic expectations we have of love. Mariposa - The butterfly is a symbol for transformation. It was October of 2005 and we sat in a circle at the top of the Pyramid of the Moon. There were about twenty-three of us in the group. The butterflies rose up from the earth below, joining us - attracted, I believe, by our own transformations. Mystic Maiden - Two days after I met Dawn, I wrote 'Waiting for Dawn.' A few months later, she inspired 'It's Only Natural' and 'We Were There' (all on the Mirror Boxes and Diamond Rings CD). After the passing of more than a decade, I thought it time to celebrate her again. Jaguar Mural - This song tells of my dreaming experience in Teotihuacan at the temple of Tetetla, while sitting before an ancient mural. Piney River (I Am One) - I had just returned to Tennessee after a visit with my dying father. While contemplating his inevitable passing, I stepped from my office at The Ranch, spying a bald eagle as it flew up the Piney River. It dove at a grounded flock of Canada geese. Even death, I thought, is a part of the beautiful miracle of life. The moment took away my breath and the seed of creation was planted. Stories - Is it possible to allow every day to be blissful? Perhaps. This is an ode to the storyteller of the mind and the lies he tells. That's Life - In creating our lives, we can choose what we create. Peace or chaos, joy or sorrow, heaven or hell, love or fear... This song speaks to the "victim" of a lost relationship. Song of the Crone - Written for a croning ceremony in 2004 to honor elder women. As a woman moves from the role of mother to elder, it is also considered a shift from knowledge to wisdom. Crones of old were revered in clans and tribes as healers and midwives and so much more. The Pools of Tepantitla - Sitting in a dream at the Temple of Tepantitla, I was visited by an old shaman. The short poem here reflects his words to me, as he stirred the pool of water with a staff, merging my reflection with those of the stars. Liner Notes Dreaming into painted portals of ancient days, palindromic paths converge and millenniums melt. Creator's hand reaches out, sowing sparks in tinderbox hearts. To the breathless lover's thirsty eye, this masterpiece is never dry. Divinity dances between the brushstrokes. - In gratitude, to the Toltec artists of Teotihuacan, - James Creators and Creations 1. 'Three Petals' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocal & acoustic guitars Ron de la Vega: Cello Duane Sciacqua: String arrangement Dawn Zurlinden: BU vocals 2. 'Hovenweep' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocal, acoustic guitars, N.A. flute, harmonica & hand drum Duane Sciacqua: Electric guitars & rain stick Brian Hinchliffe: Bass Kevin: Djembe & shaker 3. 'Love Is not a Verb' (Words and Music by James Nihan and Dawn Zurlinden) James Nihan: Vocal & acoustic guitar Dawn Zurlinden: Vocal Duane Sciacqua: acoustic lead guitar 4. 'Mariposa' (Words and Music by James Nihan and Dawn Zurlinden) James Nihan: Vocals & acoustic guitar Duane Sciacqua: Electric guitars Brian Hinchliffe: Bass Steve Holland: Drums & tambourine 5. 'Mystic Maiden' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocals, acoustic guitars, N.A. flutes & wind chimes Ron de la Vega: Cello 6. 'Jaguar Mural' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocals, acoustic guitar, jaw harp, hand drum & ocarina Kevin Ball: Djembe Duane Sciacqua: BU vocals 7. 'Piney River (I Am One)' (Words and Music by James Nihan and Dawn Zurlinden) James Nihan: Vocals, acoustic guitar & N.A. flute Becky Hobbs: Accordian Kevin Ball: Djembe 8. 'Stories' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocals & acoustic guitar Duane Sciacqua: Electric guitar Brian Hinchliffe: Bass Steve Holland: Drums Dawn Zurlinden: Tambourine 9. 'That's Life' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocals & acoustic guitar Duane Sciacqua: Electric guitars & BU vocals Brian Hinchliffe: Bass Steve Holland: Drums & shaker Dawn Zurlinden: BU vocals 10. 'Song of the Crone' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocals & acoustic guitars Duane Sciacqua: Acoustic lead guitar Ron de la Vega: cello Kevin Ball: Djembe Dawn: BU vocals & tambourine 11. 'The Pools Of Tepantitla' (Words and Music by James Nihan) James Nihan: Vocal & acoustic guitars Duane Sciacqua: Ambient sounds JAMES' BIOGRAPHY Massachusetts native James Nihan began playing guitar at age nine and writing songs at fourteen. He was first influenced by the music of Tom Rush, John Prine, Mickey Newberry, Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor. He began performing at age nineteen, appearing throughout New England at venues that include The Folkway, The Pressroom, The Sword In The Stone, The Me & Thee and The Grog. After the blizzard of '78 struck, on his twenty-first birthday, he left New England in search of warmer climes. He entertained throughout Texas, Arizona and California from 1979-87. In 1980 his songs were commended by Arizona governor, Bruce Babbitt and Berkeley, California poet, Gene Fowler, presented James with an award for the song poem 'The Hardest Road', saying it reminded him of old sonnets. James also wrote and produced radio commercials for anglo and hispanic markets in Los Angeles, at the same time performing at rodeos, folk societies and vineyard restaurants. James moved to Nashville in 1987 to continue a career in songwriting. He was first published by Ed Bruce and George Strait. In 1990 he was voted 'Songwriter Of The Year' by the Tennessee Songwriters Association. 'I Can See Arkansas' was released by Anne Murray and went Top 10 in Canada. It can also be found on albums released by David Ball and Steve Wariner (Country), Larry Stephenson (Bluegrass) and Ninjaman (Reggae). The late great songwriter, Harlan Howard, who penned thousands of songs (I Fall To Pieces, Busted, Heartaches By The Number), acted as publisher and mentor for James from 1990-95. Other publishers include EMI Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group. He has been a guest on numerous radio and television programs. His songs have been performed on the Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits, Nashville Now, The Regis Philbin Show, CMT and more. Appearances include the Kerrville Folk Festival and Mountain Stage. He was featured poet at the Annual Poetry Fair at the College of San Mateo in California. He founded and hosted the annual 'New England Songwriters Show' held at Nashville's renowned Bluebird Café. Past guest artists include Peter McCann, Barry & Holly Tashian, Dave Mallett, Gary Burr, Cindy Bullens, David Olney, Jon Pousette-Dart, John Scott Sherrill, Jess Leary and Robert Ellis Orrall. He has taught songwriting to children through the non-profit 'Words & Music' program at the Country Music Hall of Fame for many years, and he now brings his songwriting workshops into schools across the country. He has worked with patients in addiction and psychiatric treatment, where poetry and music are used to encourage self-expression and healing. In 1995 he released the CD 'Mirror Boxes & Diamond Rings'. Performing Songwriter magazine said, 'Nihan is the lonesome preacher...with a voice thick as molasses, (he) tells the tales of the lover, the loser and the lucky survivor.' The CD 'Rays Of Light' was released in late 2003. The songs are uplifting and from the heart, inspired by Toltec and Native American wisdom. Jean Pumphrey, Literary Director of the Marin Poetry Center said, 'In the songs of James Nihan we enter a world of artistry. Here is a poet's voice painting in sound and image a portrait of where love lives.' Toltec teacher, don Roberto Paez, said, 'A loving tribute to the power of transformation! James Nihan has created a refreshingly honest and moving memoir, a chronicle of awakening to the sweetness of life.' "All Creation" was released in 2005. The heartfelt songs are both meditative and contemplative and incorporate a variety of instruments including sitar, gemshorn, pennywhistle and hammered dulcimer. The West Virginia Register-Herald said, 'James' music transcends barriers; it speaks to all of us.' 'His music brings joy to the soul and is the perfect music to grow and learn by,' wrote Sheri Rosenthal, DPM, author of The Idiot's Guide to Toltec Wisdom. In 2008 James again released a CD inspired by his spiritual path. The poetic storytelling of "Murals" is the result of new thoughts, dreams and meditations, both at home and at the pyramids of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Other creative endeavors include a screenwriting collaboration (with the well-known recording artist/actor Ed Bruce), poetry, photography and a novel that will be published soon. James resides on a farm in the hills of Tennessee with his wife, singer/songwriter and experiential therapist, Dawn Zurlinden, their too-smart Aussie dogs, Iris and Angel...and a few stray cats.
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