Nicky Bendix & Sora
Andrea Hunt & Nicky Bendix

Story

Canadians are many things, but we are not generally known for our patriotism. So when I was asked to write a song centered on the notion of patriotism tying into themes of obsessive and at times devastating allegiance (along the lines of the IRA), I needed to take a few weeks to muse deeply upon what it truly means to be patriotic. In some ways we are all foreigners, perhaps not in body, but in blood, for who can trace their entire bloodline to a single place of being? To what do we owe our allegiance? To the tangled lines our blood traces as it threads through the years? To the land that cradles our houses, feeds our children and elevates our inspiration? What does our love of country truly mean? These are the questions that rattled through my head as I tried to find my way into the song. There is a feeling of ownership, to me, within patriotism, as if we can copyright our culture, our way of life, the shape of the land around us, and jealously guard against those who would `steal` it from us. Perhaps that is cynical, but it begs the question of how much we can possess when speaking of land, for perhaps it is the land that possesses us. Stricken as we are, at times, with homesickness for a place that ripples beyond simply a specific rock or tree, rather a gestalt filled with notions of nostalgia and belonging. As always it starts with a line, which often appear fully formed as if given to me from the wind. This time it was `Wings of the featherless cry, brought to the brink and asked to fly`. And so it begins.

Written in 2010 Madron Well - Heartwood

Lyrics

Wings of the featherless cry
Brought to the brink and asked to fly 
Fly on the razor sharp oath
Words that taste something like blood
like blood
Iron and blood

Bound to the dictates on high
Torches held up to burn the sky
Sky falling cinder rain down
Ashen tears, the colour of pride
Of pride
Fire and pride

What giants were born have long since gone
And laid down their bones
On the causeway of freedom
I will not fade
I will not let go of this land that weeps in me

Raised to the wavering flag
Foreigners all on fields of glass
Glass is the heart as it lays
Open in streams, spears of the path
The path
Pathway called home

What giants were born
Have long since gone
And laid down their bones
On the causeway of freedom
I will not fade
I will not let go of this land that weeps in me

I will not let fear
On it`s splintering shield
Call the shadowed ease in me

Rouse to the battering wave
Hold to the truth of verdant days
Days `ere the sun ever rise
Covenant stand, give breath to hope
To hope
Honor and hope

What giants were born
Have long since gone
And laid down their bones
On the causeway of freedom
I will not fade
I will not let go of this land that weeps in me

Sora
Andrea Hunt

Story

Legacy, I give little caring to my own legacy to the dust my bones will leave. What do we leave behind, blood and stone, beyond the moment? The quest for immortality so frantic in some, driving the sticky work for mewling cries of blood, fueling such piercing words as son and daughter, name and honor. I wonder at the futility of it all. Time forgets, how can it recall each grain of sand? Does the earth remember each drop of rain that nourished it? Do the worn grooves of rock remember, or do they just hold the shell of memory, devoid of flesh. Decayed thoughts and deeds, petrified for a time, for a time. Perhaps for some, it remembers, holding back the night with music that echoes into the shadowy realm, but even echoes fade. Yet, a singular word can alter the courses of fate, the proverbial stone on the road. Ripples, vibrations, stardust expanding beyond the reaches of measure. Is this all legacy is, waves cresting, endlessly carrying each moment? Does love twine through the ages, does it hold the sky into the bright flash of oblivion?

Produced by Douglas Romanow 

Written in May of 2010 Legacy - Single - Sora

Lyrics

The will of a single deed
Is ripples in time
On a pool, still forest pool
Feeding the leaves still to come

The song of a single voice
Can touch countless lives
So sing, petaled notes sing
Calling your truth into flight

Love holds the sky
Hope fills the moon
And our roots shelter the seeded dreams
Of our gift, legacy

The rings of each single life
Are all intertwined
In links, storm-weathered links
Sharing the journeys of man
When memory fades
And words decay
Feeling remains
Our ochre hands
A living bridge spanning the years
A century
Millenia
Spiraling
Know that your love holds the sky
Hope fills the moon
And our roots shelter the seeded dreams
Of our legacy, of our love

It`s the heart, tumbling heart
That is your legacy

Cindy O'Neil & Sora
Andrea Hunt & Cindy O'Neil

Story

Every musician knows there are difficulties to be had in any recording experience. Scheduling, financing, timing and technical issues are all fairly common. Yet, in the end, we overcome knowing that no matter how we come to the recording, the instrument is unfailing, that the ultimate joy is the moment when we move our songs through our fingers, through our voices, through our bodies from that ether realm of imagination into something tangible, something real. Imagine if you would then, that in addition to the regular obstacles that there was one with a far more personal and devastating impact - that your body had now become the greatest challenge of all. 

I met Cindy O`Neil in 2007 at a SOCAN event. We hit it off instantly and within weeks we were co-writing a song together. It was my first co-writing experience and though I was nervous, unsure how to proceed, unsure as to how Cindy`s jazzy and my Celtic new age styles would mesh, Cindy`s positive, upbeat attitude had us laughing, chording and lifting our voices together in song. By the end of the night I had recorded on my mp3 player the basics of a duet, `Wings in Flight`.

We always wanted to record it, especially after performing it live and receiving amazing feedback. Everything seemed on track. The virtuosic violinist and composer, Donovan Seidle, who is an old friend of mine agreed to write a string arrangement and we had someone to produce it in a studio. Of course, the best laid plans often go awry and the recording dates fell apart. These things happen right? As an artist synergy in projects is important, it creates momentum, focuses and streamlines. Cindy and I thought that maybe it wasn`t quite the right time, that there would always be another recording date. A year passed and Cindy moved from Calgary to Ontario to be with her fiance. Still, I thought perhaps on my next recording project I could fit Wings in Flight onto it. We thought that we had forever to record it.

Forever came sooner than we thought.

For you see, Cindy has been living for years with a life threatening disease, rheumatoid arthritis. And the medication that allows her do even the most basic of functions, that allows her to get dressed, brush her hair, this medication is stripping away her voice. Cindy phoned me and told me this earlier in the year and asked `can we record our song before I don`t have a voice left?`

We struggled to make a plan, with limited finances and cross country distance between us. I contacted a producer and recording engineer I know in Winnipeg and though this seemed an ideal solution, dates could not be pinned down. The song felt as though it might just slip away into oblivion. But a second phone call from Ontario changed all that. Cindy`s fiance, Ken, was planning a surprise trip West for her and when he asked if they could see me, it was as if the Universe had opened up and given me a gift, the ability to put together the best surprise present I could think of- a recording.

Within weeks it was all set up. And this time, it all fell into place perfectly, the recording studio, the musicians, media. I went into the studio and recorded the bedtracks and scratch vocal and hoped beyond hope that as the temporary guardian of this song, that I would do it justice, that I could manifest our joint vision to her satisfaction as well as mine.

Cindy knew nothing, until we stepped inside the studio. The song was put on and Cindy`s face said everything. She was overwhelmed, crying, laughing and above all else, she was singing. I can`t say it wasn`t a struggle, it was. Cindy`s lungs burned with each take, but to listen to her beautiful voice soaring above the lush strings wasn`t my gift to her. It was her gift to me. It`s not every day the Universe gives you the opportunity to give someone a legacy. And if a song, recorded as one`s voice fades -as the unfailing instrument cracks- isn`t a legacy, I don`t know what is.

Wings in Flight - Single - Cindy O'Neil & Sora

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