My thoughts and experiences:
I truly love this CD. Patricia Sereno really has a gift for writing lullabies! Each one has a unique sound and mood from the last, yet they all come together as a cohesive unit, set to rock your baby to sleep with the soft strings of the Celtic harp. The songs in Moonrise Lullaby flow smoothly from one to the next, with no abrupt interruptions or startling introductions which might wake Baby when she's in that in-between sleep stage.
I've enjoyed rocking Daniel to sleep at nap time while listening to this album. He is fairly picky about what types of sounds he'll tolerate during the early sleep stage, but Moonrise Lullaby goes over well even with my sensitive kiddo. I play it very softly over speakers in the room, and the notes of the lullabies float in over us as we rock in the glider together. I've found myself rocking with Daniel longer than usual lately (even after he's fast asleep), because I so much enjoy the peace and sense of calm that I feel while holding and breathing with him in that space.
We also play this album in the living room during quiet "chill-out" times when we all need to slow down and decrease overwhelming stimulation in the environment. Like using some other types of music, the harp pieces on this CD can help to calm Daniel down when he's feeling too wound up.
In the process of setting up this review and giveaway, I had the pleasure of having a lovely phone conversation with Patricia. I enjoyed talking with her so much that I thought you might like to get to know her a little better, too! I hope you enjoy learning more about what motivates and inspires her to make beautiful music to help soothe babies around the World:
Amy: How did you get started playing the harp? And do you play other instruments?
Patricia: Since I was nine years old I knew I wanted to play the harp. Music in my life began with the piano when I was five. After that, I played classical flute for many years before learning the Celtic harp in my early 30s. There was the wonderful opportunity to borrow a harp, which I took and then gave myself lessons for one year. Right away, I knew I had found the instrument of my heart and at the end of that year, bought my own harp!
What is it that you love about playing the harp in particular?
I love how the sound of the harp vibrates and has such a long resonance. This means the lower notes can still be vibrating as I play higher notes on top of it which creates a special sound. What is wonderful is when I play the harp, I can feel the vibrations of the music.
I also love that the harp, especially the smaller sized harp, has a history that is over 5,000 years old and was part of so many ancient cultures. In addition, the harp has always been strongly associated with spirituality, healing and Angels.
What motivates you to write music?
Each piece of music tells a story. Each piece reflects a feeling, situation or event that I attempt to communicate to the listener. When I am moved about something that happens to me or someone around me, I turn to the harp and try to capture that essence and feeling with a certain melody, harmony and tempo. The tempo of most of my compositions reflect the natural rhythms of the body such as heartbeat, breathing or walking which the listener can consciously or unconsciously relate to.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Loreena McKennitt has been my inspiration both as a harpist and independent musician. Her music is powerful and moving and she produced her early albums under her own label in order to keep the integrity of her music rather than make her music into what the big music labels wanted to sell. I admire that immensely.
People found my music easy to fall asleep to and many were using my first two albums to put their children to sleep, and to be a part of their children’s bedtime ritual. So I thought, if that music works, imagine what would happen if I made an album of intentional music to put babies to sleep - that would be even more effective! Happily, that is exactly what has happened.
I get a lot of comments from people that they haven’t been able to listen to the whole album because they fall asleep during the first few tracks! Recently I was sent a photograph in an email from a mother who plays my music regularly for her two small children. The email was entitled “Track 2” and all it contained was a photo of her daughter fast asleep in her car seat! To me that was a sign of true success for my album – I have accomplished what I set out to do, put babies to sleep!
What's your favorite lullaby?
My favorite lullaby is Sleeping with Angels. This is because I know that Angels watch over all babies, even the ones we have lost. Losing a baby, before or after birth, can be a silent grief carried by women that nobody talks about. Yet this kind of loss has been the experience of women since the beginning of time. I wanted to give a voice to that bittersweet grief and love that I have felt, and perhaps other women have felt too.
My second favorite is Ellianna Rose, which is a piece I wrote for my great niece when she was born. She was only 2 lbs and 10 weeks early. She was a tiny miracle of life. She just turned 6 this year and is smart, healthy and strong – including strong minded! This piece is about the strength of the human spirit, how it can survive and thrive despite uncertain beginnings.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, your music, your calling?
When I was 23 I had an ectopic pregnancy and almost died. After that, I was so damaged internally I was unable to have any more children. Through the lullabies, through the music, I am able to love to sleep all the babies who hear it. When I recorded the album, I played the harp as if I were playing the music to put my own baby to sleep.
I am also aware that babies born today have so many more challenges than ever before. The speed with which everything is changing, the use of technology in almost every area of our life, and the complications of modern life are just a few examples. There are so many more noises and distractions that babies have to cope with now that never existed before. Because of these and other reasons, it was important for me to create a peaceful space apart from all of that for the babies and their parents to relax in, even if it is only for a few minutes at a time.
It is my great wish that my lullabies and the sounds of my harp might give babies a comforting experience and perhaps transport their parents to a place of simple calm, where time moves more slowly.
I can tell you that even from the relatively brief time I've known her, that Patricia has a real gift for connecting with and understanding people. She deeply cares about babies and their parents, and she hopes that through her music she can make a difference in the lives of sleepless families everywhere.
Thank you, Patricia, for taking the time to talk with me and for sharing your story and your gift of music with all of us.
You can purchase your own copy of Patricia Sereno's Moonrise Lullaby CD through Indie Pool for $20, or from iTunes if you prefer to put it directly onto your smartphone or mp3 player. Patricia's other albums, Evolution of Light and Mystic Morning are available for sale through Indie Pool and iTunes as well!
For your chance to win your own Moonrise Lullaby CD from Patricia Sereno and Anktangle, simply enter by leaving a comment and using the Rafflecopter system below!
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