Keeping the Body in Mind

 

cd cover

1] Everybody has the Gift**
2] Caminho de Irineu
3] Remembering the Bones
4] In the Heart of the Moon
5] At the Heart of Listening
6] Mariposa Mensajera***
7] In my Mother’s Kitchen
8] Dame Da Vinci
9] Star house
10] Manana en Mexico
11] Suena La Vida
12] If I Can Sing**
13] At the Heart of Listening (Instrumental version)***
14] Star House (Instrumental version)***
15] Fire*
16] Water*

CREDITS

 

Everybody has the Gift to Heal Themselves

For as long as I can remember I had a strong desire to make music. I began as a young child, humming along with my father when he sang as he held me in his arms. From there I sang in trees when I was 6, wrote my first songs on piano when I was 8, sang in a choir and learned flamenco guitar in my teens, did folk singing in my early 20’s, wrote more songs and dreamed of
becoming a performing songwriter in my early 30’s, performed and recorded with my husband in my 30’s and 40’s, attended many courses and conferences on songwriting in Nashville, lost my singing voice in my 50’s, changed to writing instrumentals on the nylon string guitar, and finally recorded this CD.

Throughout all these efforts I was dealing with the reality of having only one good ear and the facial/ throat trauma that happened during my botched ear operation when I was 9. I took many vocal lessons, guitar lessons, and received many forms of healing. My disability, though it was a major roadblock to doing music, was a gift. It guided my career as a massage therapist and body oriented psychotherapist, and made each musical success a treasure. This struggle with adversity made me more sensitive as a person and a writer.

I appreciate and deeply thank everyone who has helped me accomplish my goal of getting my music out in the world for enjoyment and healing: My parents for teaching me independence, my sisters for their support, Donna O’Connor, Eileen Smith and Lucas Marchand, my vocal coaches, Kim Ratcliffe and Donna O’Connor for supporting me in the first round of my musical journey and teaching me so much, Frank Falco, Don Ross, Kim Ratcliffe, Jeff Edge and Juan Valencia for teaching me musical and guitar skills, My First Ave writers group, Debra Alexander, Suzie Vinnick and David Leask for their help with writing, recording and the courage to do it, My cousin Dean, inspired musician and my guitar hero, Everyone who sang or played on my CD, Mary Anne Carswell for believing in me and writing our book, Keeping the Body in Mind, which was one of the inspirations for this CD, Sandy Peic for her beautiful design and warm encouragement, All the various healers that helped me: Aaron Low, Jonathan Goldman, Jeanette Han, Kristy Micklewright, Emily Zarb, my meditation group and my beautiful supportive family and community on Waldron island, Aldo Palma for his belief in me and my project, and particular thanks to Juan Valencia and Diego Las Heras my producers, who taught me and figured out how to make it all work – how to accomplish my goal of getting my music out in the world for enjoyment and healing: it happened because of their musical skills and big hearts.


Everybody Has the Gift to Heal Themselves**

The seed of this song (the hook line in the chorus) was born at a breath workshop with Jonathan Goldman. I had been suffering from vocal tension dystonia for three years and not able to sing at all. Just before the workshop I had been seeing a speech therapist who diagnosed me and gave me exercises to help the condition. This was the first song I wrote in my “new” voice. It was very exciting. I used this song to inspire me for the next nine months of hard slogging through my vocal recovery. When I realized that the original verses were not lyrically satisfying I asked my friend Debra Alexander to help me rewrite them. I will be forever grateful to her for taking it to another level. The day after I received the mp3 from Debra with the final version of our re-write I was listening to CBC and heard a program about a child somewhere in Africa who had been separated from his mother and then was re-united. He was singing a little song “every cell in my body is happy, every cell in my body is happy” I feel so good” This synchronicity validated my choice to write a song about body healing.
This song expresses how I feel about my work and our book “Keeping the Body in Mind”.
Feel free to sing along!

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Caminho de Irineu

The seed of this piece began in a Dance Meditation on April 25th 2006. The originator of this Brazilian form of meditation was Mestre Irineu and this is where the title came from. I wrote more of it on my trip to Spain in Jun. 2006. This turned out to be a difficult journey – confronting some of my ancestral and karmic past. The song comforted me on my path – I felt a spiritual presence guiding me. One year later I began my recording project with Juan and Diego with this piece. All through the project which has been a spiritual journey for me, they have been my excellent guides.

Feelings of comfort and the images of travel are common experiences of people who have listened to it. I invite you to imagine feeling comforted and backed up on your journey as you listen and “travel” wherever you need to go.

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Remembering the Bones

I wrote the beginnings of this piece in 2006. I played it frequently because of how it made me feel: light and strong, as if I were dancing. In the fall of 2007 when the time had come to record it, I wrote the second section. As I was practicing it to send a rough demo to Juan, I was thinking about bones and how deep in the body they are. This thought lead me to my flamenco roots for the intro – Flamenco was the first music I played on guitar as an 11 year old..

One of the things I learned in recording this song was to count and play at the same time because the time signatures change several times. So for me it was a process of “remembering the bones” in two ways: my musical influences and the basics of music; counting. It may be useful to think about your own ‘bones’ and ‘roots’ while listening to this piece.

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In the Heart of the Moon (En El Corazon de la Luna)

The first part of this melody was written in Mexico. I knew it needed more, so when I returned, I researched my musical ideas on my m-audio and found one entitled “Aldo’s song” because I wrote it when Aldo (one of my supporters in this project) came over for dinner. It fit perfectly.

This song was completed when I was in the middle of a healing crisis with my teeth and back. One day when I was in pain from both, I wrote the intro – a prayer for centering in the middle of crisis. In my mind ‘the heart of the moon’ is a place where I go to reflect and be held by calm feminine love. A place where I can learn what I truly feel or truly need.

Recording this piece was quite emotional for me and I was crying as I came out of the sound booth. This piece had soothed the impossible grief of ‘not having’ my music by allowing me to ‘have’ it. The next day Diego sent me an email saying, “It is in these moments when we realize that music is not only about ears but about soul too.”

As you listen allow yourself to be soothed by the universal feminine; the moon.

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At the Heart of Listening

My good friend Alberto Lunati gave me the title for this song. He was telling me about a book with the same title – an in depth osteopathic book about listening to the body. At the time I thought, I’m going to write a song with that title. With the next visit from my muse there it was!

The lyric expresses some of my deepest beliefs and feelings about life and about the power of music. I knew it needed something more to fulfill its song destiny. I thought of my coach Donna O’Connor. I knew she believed in me as a song writer and I knew she could develop a harmony that would support my recovering voice. It worked!

How has music helped or healed you?

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Mariposa Mensajera (Butterfly messenger) ***

This piece began in the upstairs room of my cousin Dean’s house, April 14th 2007 just before we took a walk by the Mississippi river. On the walk a butterfly flew around me several times even though it was totally the wrong season (all the vegetation was still grey and brown) I managed to get a photo of it. I felt that it was a messenger of transformation – my cousin thought it might be a message from my Dad who had passed many years before.

Juan and Diego helped me to complete it. The piece was a real challenge for me because it required new skills: single line playing, playing over a rhythm with accents on the 2 and the 4, and teaching my fingers the new melody parts that Juan had written. I loved working with their ideas and the final product is beautiful.

The message of the Mariposa to me was to come out with my artist self – to emerge into the world with my music. As you listen, ask yourself what part of myself needs to come out now?

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In My Mother’s kitchen

This song began in the kitchen of my mother’s house on Waldron island, right after I did a session for someone who was dealing with mother issues. At the time I was also dealing with mother issues (she had died several years previously). A year later I added another section and named it “In my mother’s kitchen” because its fragility and beauty were symbolic of my relationship to her.

I spent a month rehearsing this song and during that time I had a significant dream about my mother. This ‘change’ dream was telling me that I now had the help I needed. The recording process was nurturing and as I listened to the final mix I knew writing and recording this song had healed the mother wound.

When you listen you might ask yourself “Where am I with my actual or inner mother? How could I receive more? What do I need?” Or, just let the music soothe you.

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Dame DaVinci (Give Me DaVinci)

The title for this song came while I was reading a book called “How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci”, an inspiring book about how to find balance in your brain and your life, thus nurturing the artistic process. This piece was another challenge to my playing skills and, like the painter’s technique of looking at a painting in a mirror; I learned to practice Dame DaVinci at different tempos to get perspective on it and to become more intimate with it.

A synchronistic thing happened when I got home after the first recording session knowing that I needed to write an intro to complete the piece. One of my clients had called and left a message saying “I was meditating and I got this idea that ‘every brain has its own song’. The idea is that each person has a unique co-ordination that pulls everything into harmony. I don’t know what to do with that but I think you might.” I was excited by the phrase and its connection to my title. This gave me the energy to write an intro which became a signature part of the song. Diego and Juan went all out on this piece —in all we recorded 35 tracks Wow!

As you listen, let all the different musical threads help your brain to come together in its own harmonious way!

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Star House

As many of my songs do this one began with a dream. In that dream I saw a house on a mountain with a star on its peak. In it was a room especially for dreaming. This is a song of gratefulness for the wisdom that comes in dreams and for the grace that comes with an inclusive approach to life. Thanks to Lucas Marchand (my vocal coach), Juan and Diego, and LENS neurofeedback, I have recorded this song. It is not perfect. In the recording process I had to face that it was just what my voice could do now. I am proud of the hard work I put into it and how the process made me grow and change. I am grateful for each note.

When you listen ask inside, “What am I grateful for?”

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Manana en México (Morning in México)

This piece is a good example of how different parts of a song can come to the writer at different times and then magically fit together. Coincidentally, at the time I wove together the two parts of this piece, a client was talking about Mexico and how being there had a magical affect on her. I identified with that because Mexico had a similar resonance for me. Symbolically, I finished writing the last section of this piece in Mexico on a Christmas vacation with my family.

Juan added emotion with ornaments and vibrato, which were new skills for me. I realized that I had been so intent on playing without mistakes that I often bypassed the emotion. With Mañana I learned how to take the time for emotion without losing the beat. I honored the culture that had brought me happy times with my deeply felt emotions. The power of music is that it can bring back feelings associated with place quickly and strongly. Where is your Mexico?

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Suena La Vida (Dream Life)

I began this song in Mexico during that wonderful vacation with my sister’s family. In one of the hostels where we stayed
I talked to the young man who worked there. He loved his work but he dreamed of traveling to other countries. He had put names on the doors of the rooms that were Harry Potter references. Even despite difficult circumstances he was energetic and happy.

As I played the song it kept evolving. The event that secured its place on the album was my uncle sending me a photo of my Dad when he was 18 and a boy scout. In the picture he looked so happy and hopeful. I sensed he was dreaming his life at the time the picture was taken. When I played then piece for Juan and Diego they responded with creativity of their own. Juan helped me to put the final touches on the melody and pushed me to play at a higher level. Diego wrote and recorded the inspired piano part that took it in a brilliant new direction. (Thanks Diego for your creative daring).

The song is dedicated to the dreaming part in all of us. The part that has the daring and courage of a young man. In the process of recording this last song of the cd, I realized that this was the energy I needed to complete my book and cd and get them out there in the world. It seemed fitting that important dreams guided my project. (See lyrics for If I can Sing).

A strange coincidence happened after the recording: I got an instant message from a Manuelo Marzo (the young man from Cancun) He said he had just moved to New York state from Cancun. When we dream our life synchronicities happen. What are your dreams? Your synchronicities?

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If I can Sing**

One month before I had the meeting with Juan and Diego that was the birth of this project, I had a dream where a horse came running to me across the blue water of a bay. He pulled up before me larger than life and said, “Do your songs”. I wrote the chorus shortly after that dream and sang it to myself to keep up my spirits during my vocal recovery. I wrote some verses and first titled it “The Jesus Horse” because the horse in my dream was walking on water and talking about what seemed to me at the time (still mostly unable to sing) a miracle.

I asked Debra to work her lyric re-write magic on it. During this process I felt like I was re-living parts of my life. The subject of the song is myself with all the pain and triumphs I have had on my long, long vocal journey. At the end of the writing I felt that I had passed through a major transition and though it was another year past the recording of it before I could actually sing a full song, that was the moment I owned the possibility and let the musical depression I had been in drop away.

When you are listening to this song ask yourself what ‘miracle’ have you accomplished in your life.

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At the Heart of Listening (Instrumental)***

During the time I had spent singing along to the arrangements that Juan and Diego had made I fell in love with the tracks and wanted to have an instrumental version. Juan and Diego wrote the clarinet parts and the final recording was joyful. What a fitting way to complete the project.

As you listen, find your heart’s desire and climb your mountain. What is there at the top?

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Star House (Instrumental)***

During the time I had spent singing along to the arrangements that Juan and Diego had made I fell in love with the tracks and wanted to have an instrumental version. Juan and Diego wrote the clarinet parts and the final recording was joyful. What a fitting way to complete the project.

As you listen, find your heart’s desire and climb your mountain. What is there at the top?

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Fire* and Water*

I was visiting my cousin just at a point when I was starting to believe that I could have a book and a cd to go with it. Nothing written yet. At the time I thought the cd would accompany some of my Five Element teachings that I had developed over the years of doing workshops on the Chinese Five Element theory. I wanted the music to be instrumental and I wasn’t writing any at the time. I had always admired my cousin and loved his music. So I bravely asked and he said yes. He wanted to have an understanding of what the elements of Fire and Water were so I did a mini-workshop with him. Out of that these incredibly beautiful pieces were born. He said that he wrote them as inversions of each other so as different as they were they would have an integral connection to each other just as Yin and Yang do – one always transforming into the other.

Let your body dance with the Fire and rest with the Water. Go back and forth several times and see how your body feels. See which one you need more of in this moment.

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Credits

All songs written by Kristi Magraw except * written and arranged by Dean Magraw. **co-written by Debra Alexander.
***co-written by Diego Las Heras and Juan Valencia.

Lead Vocals: Suzie Vinnick 1, 12 Kristi Magraw 5, 9

Nylon string guitar: Kristi Magraw on 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11

Additional Nylon string guitar: Juan Valencia 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14 Jacob Karlowski 10

Acoustic steel string guitar: Kristi Magraw 7, 12 Debra Alexander 1

Suzie Vinnick 1 Jeff Edge 7 Dean Magraw 15, 16

Banjo and slide guitar: Justin Abedin 12

Bass: Lee Hutchison 1, 12, Ben Miller, Scott Kemp 3, 4, 8, 10 Jim Anders 15, 16

Drums: Max Sennit 1, 12

Percussion: Diego Las Heras 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ,11, 13, 14 Marcus Wise 15, 16

Piano: Diego Las Heras 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 14

Background Vocals and arrangements: Donna O’Connor 5, 9 Gwen Swick and Caitlin Hanford 1 12

Clarinets: Martin van de Ven on tracks 13, 14