I send this song out to all whose hearts are aching for the lives lost and damaged in Japan. I offer you this song to use for your healing, for your meditation. I hope it brings you comfort and peace.
"Sakura" is a traditional Japanese folk song, and the word sakura means cherry blossoms. In Japan, it is traditional to picnic beneath the beautiful cherry blossom trees, which are indigenous to the region and very widespread. Japan has given thousands of cherry blossom trees to the United States, and these trees can be found flourishing in many cities including Washington D.C., Manhattan, San Francisco and Philadelphia, where they are celebrated and enjoyed each year in Cherry Blossom Festivals.
I happened to be playing at a lovely community church one Sunday a week after the earthquake in Japan, and for my first solo, I played "Sakura". Although it was not chosen to fit the Lenten theme of the service as the rest of my music was, it felt right, and there was a palpable response from the congregation. The people of Japan were on everyone's mind that morning. During his messsage, the minister extemporaneously spoke about the music, the deeper meaning, and expressed what we were all feeling. After the service, so many people came up and spoke to me about the music I played, and what it meant to them! One young man of Japanese descent told me his mother had sung "Sakura" to him when he was a child, and hearing it again evoked such strong feelings for him, especially now. It was all very moving for me.
The song stayed with me throughout the ensuing days, and I decided to record it and make it available for everyone who is thinking of the people of Japan now, and offering healing thoughts, prayers and actions. This music is one of my prayers for the people of Japan, and the people of the world.
What an intense time we are living in! Just this week, as I recorded this song, we had the one year anniversary of the BP Oil Deluge in the Gulf; a massive natural gas well blowout in my home state of Pennsylvania; the 41st Earth Day - I helped organize the first Earth Day events in Syracuse in 1970; Passover and Easter; and on the day this song is being released, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
All this is happening against the backdrop of ongoing nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, and the incredible natural disaster in Japan. I am heartbroken at the tens of thousands lost in the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, and the many more homeless and displaced. But I am terrified of the consequences of the unnatural disaster at Fukushima, created by people who thought they knew better than, were stronger than nature. Just like nuclear plant owners everywhere, the utilities in Japan claimed they were prepared for anything and everything, and nothing like this could ever happen. But it did happen, and now we see the people in charge do not know how to fix the problem. We see brave workers risking their lives and futures to save us all from something even worse happening. Now, so much radiation has already been released, and so much more will be. I believe as a result, our world is changed forever, and many many more people will die and be seriously injured as a result of this radiation.
Yet at the same time, we see that trees and bushes near the nuclear plants, and windmills on and offshore survived the earthquake and tsunami with no problem or damage whatsoever, and kept functioning and providing power. Mother Nature rocks!
I have worked to end the use of nuclear power and weapons for most of my life, starting when I was in high school, and I will continue to work to accomplish this goal. I invite you to learn more about my music, and also about nuclear issues, by visiting my website at http://www.SilverNightingale.com, and especially my Nuclear Free Zone there.
I will be making my song "No Nukes Swing" available here very soon! It's a fun, catchy little ditty about nuclear plants, weapons and war. Please check back, you'll love it!
And I would love to know of your experiences using "Sakura" for your meditations. Please leave a comment right here, or contact me via my website at http://www.SilverNightingale.com to share your thoughts and feelings about this music.
This song was recorded with the very kind assistance of two environmental musician friends: Jim Ryan, who did the recording, and Jon Singer, who helped with getting the music online. Thanks gentlemen! I couldn't have done it without you! Also thanks to my fabulous artist friend Liora who gave me lots of encouragement regarding the artwork for the song. She has promised to create some artwork for me for a future recording project. I can't wait, I know it will be great!
I send Peace, Love and Healing to All!