First let us understand what thunder is. The I Ching tells us that Thunder is the symbol of the shock that brings quiet. It is the shock that releases tension. It is the music of the earth. For music too eases the tensions of the heart. Thunder is the quickening of the child in the womb. For the children, they are music. It is my prayer that you may come to understand the significance of thunder as it relates to the growth of all things and the furthering of life.
Let's begin with "Children's Dawn Blessing". I wanted to include something on this album that was especially for children. How better to do that than a prayer and blessing. I wrote out the prayer in English first, but I knew enough about the Lakota language to know that the translation to Lakota then back to English would give a very interesting perspective and be a thing of beauty. In our English language, we can get quite caught up in detail. So much so that we can completely miss the beauty of metaphor as well as the cosmic quality of expression through communicating through such metaphor. Lakota language uses metaphor as its means of communication. Asian languages do this too. I've often contemplated how different we would see our world if we had our beginnings rooted in communication through metaphor.
I wanted children's voices so I asked the Bad Hand children (a Lakota family) if they would sing. At the time, the youngest was about 10 years old and their sweet voices truly melted my heart. It was a dream come true to have them in the studio singing and fulfilling the creative vision I had for this piece, although the actual recording process wasn't all that easy. We had to capture the good takes (rhythm, pitch etc.) and work with that to create what we were after. It was still so sweet to have them there adding their energy to this creation. I'll never forget that experience. They truly blessed me! I should also add, that a portion of the melody of this piece was an adaptation from an original pow-wow dance song by their father, Howard Bad Hand.
"There Burns The Flame" was simply an expression of some of my deepest meditative experiences. Did you realize that from the cosmic perspective, in your physical experience when you look out into the world you are actually looking "in", and the true cosmic looking "outward" is that place deep "within" when you close your eyes to meditate. This is where you connect more deeply to the cosmos.
Some life experiences are hard to put into words. I am fortunate to have music to help express what my heart wanted to share through the song "Sundancer". To attempt to say anymore about that song would take away from it. (The verse melody of "Sundancer" was an adaptation I did from a powwow dance song by Mr. Bad Hand called "Rio Grande".)
There was an instrumental piece that came to me light and airy and playful, but I didn't know what to call it! While at home visiting my Dad a couple of years before his death, someone that he use to work with came to visit him. They said, "Well, hello "Parnie!" My Dad's name was Parnell, but I had never heard him called "Parnie". I got a real kick out that. Later I was playing this instrumental piece for him. He had been very sick and was quite frail at the time. But he really perked up when I played that song. He loved it! I decided right then and there, I knew what the song would be called, but I didn't tell him. "Parnie's Song" would be a surprise. When I recorded it, I sent it to him before the album was done so he could enjoy it🧡 Ah, music can be so healing!
The song "Thunder" originally came from a dream in the summer of 1993. The completion of the song then came during a very lively thunderstorm some time later. I knew immediately that the song would play an integral part of the shaping of the work that was already underway. There was something prophetic going on in the creation of this song. The words seemed to be coming directly from Source and telling what was to come. I do believe the prophetic aspect of this song can be seen even to this day.
"Grandmother's Heart" is an instrumental piece who's name says it all.
The song "Tunkasila" was my personal prayer to Creator. It is an intimate prayer about living life in an appropriate manner. This Lakota word means "Grandfather" but it also means "all that came before". So actually "Grandmother" is included too in this understanding. We must realize that all our relations, all of our ancestors, everything that is, is a part of Tunkasila. We may think that we are separate, but we are not. If all is included within Tunkasila, then your prayer (what you pray for and to) includes all beings and includes yourself!
Sometimes I just like to rock out! Nothing is more fun to do musically than a song like "In Spirit's Realm". I think I like it so much because it's about relationships and how we do them. May we truly take it to a higher place of love in spirit's realm!
"Butterfly Concerto" was another song that was inspired by a Bad Hand melody called "Howard's Concerto". The 'verses', if you will, play off of that melody and are then answered by a counter melody that came naturally as a response. It was a fun piece to create. Butterflies are a symbol of self-transformation. Let go of resistance to change and allow yourself to be transformed. Find your wings and fly!
"The Turning Point" came directly from Source about things to come. I truly believe we are living that now with the changes our world is going through. We face the battles for possession of our soul everyday. Will we follow the red road?
And finally "Let There Be Peace". A song. A dream. A prayer for the union between man and woman to be so appropriate, so complete that it brings peace to all things. The hexagram in the I Ching for peace represents the coming together of male and female, creative and receptive, in a way that ends all feuds and brings harmony and balanced productivity. Through this all things are nourished appropriately. Such peace can only come when we learn to respect each other and trust each other again. But this trust must be based on that which endures and that which is right. For our relationships to have duration, we must be able to see things exactly as they are and these relationships must be based on sincerity. When we can do this, we can learn to trust what the other person truly is or is not. With clarity and acceptance of the truth we can make appropriate decisions for ourselves from there. Maybe we will leave. Maybe we will stay. But it must be based on truth to bring peace. If the truth about it is that it is a state of conflict, know that true conflict cannot be resolved. Opposition can be resolved, but true conflict cannot. There is a difference between the two. The way to peace when something is in the state of conflict is to withdraw from the conflict. This is the teaching of the Tao. These words may be hard to hear, but it is the truth. So my prayer for you is "Let There Be Peace".
I had been told by the spirit world many years ago that this album "Thunder" would undergo a dark period, but that when the dark period was over, it would then circle the globe four times. The dark period seems to have been that transition for me of bringing the music home and re-releasing these three earlier albums. I am so happy that "Thunder" returned home. Thunder's true time is now.
Thank you for allowing me to share this special part of my journey with you,
Mitakuwe Oyas'in (We Are All Related),