Final installment of The Making of Avalon
Someone remarked to me a few days ago, “It must feel so good to be done with the recording.” I laughed. I am done spilling my guts, twisting and turning and thrashing about night after sleepless night for weeks on end in the excitement and anxiety of creating something musical out of pitched wind. I’m not living on Power Bars anymore. That part is over. But even as I write, I can hear the whir of machinery as it gears up for the next phase: moving Avalon out into the world through my touring and through international distribution of the CD. Before I respond to that sound, I want to take a moment to share a few of the unexpected gifts of Avalon.
It took me three years to write most of the material on Avalon. Some of the music seemed destined to sound just as it does on the recording. I knew “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” would have a sax line, that it would be simple. However, I could never have imagined that Freyda Epstein extraordinary duet in “Watch For Me.” It happened quite by accident as she was trying to compose a string line for the solo section. She began to play along with her voice as she sang, looking for that elusive string solo. It was amazing! We recorded her immediately, before that moment passed .
I knew I wanted harp and back-up vocals on Avalon. But when Mary Fettig suggested she had a tenor sax line she’d like to play, I shook my head “No!” I thought the sound would be all wrong for the song. But Kerry encouraged me to listen to the idea. As soon as she began to play, the song’s deepest intentions were made complete. The mind – body – spirit connexion was instantly fused with the addition of that sax line. Unbelievable.
I had the best time I’ve ever had in the studio because the focus never left the intention of the music. I had so many experiences of reaching beyond where I thought I could go artistically… because I could. Every musician I worked with gave me her best work. Every day, day after day. Stephen, our most excellent and earnest engineer never quit when there was something more we could do to make the music more beautiful, more true to itself. Kerry gave the most precious gift of all as she carefully encircled and enlivened the studio environment so I could access the essential stillness I needed in order to create. Danielle anchored my intense daily efforts with her spacious heart and simple kindnesses.
We lit three candles every day in the studio – to call on the hearts of the Goddess. Candles burned from January 17 through March 21. To balance the sublime with the child-like, we brought in ever more flamboyant images of Minnie Mouse – plush Minnies, Pez Minnies, Minnie cups, Minnie towels, a three foot-tall Minnie marionette. Several of us wore Minnie watches. I began to wear a Minnie pin every day. I discovered Minnie Mouse memorabilia on E-Bay during a long sleepless night and made everyone nervous.
We created a world at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California. We were there a long time. And as time passed, the music created a spell. Even the hard-core rockers who visited our “room” commented on the “vibe.” They couldn’t name it, couldn’t place it, but they were fascinated by it. Strangers from other sessions came into the control room and just stood around, entranced.
I hope you will find the music entrancing in the same way we all did. What we were creating, what they were hearing and what I hope we have succeeded in capturing on thin plastic discs is the sound of loving women.
Two special mentions: My brilliant sister Aquarian and composer Kay Gardner has also released a recording called Avalon. It is a tape of flute improvisations recorded at Glastonbury, England, the site of Avalon. You can find this cassette by contacting Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be joining me on the web at kaygardner.com very soon.
For those of you curious about the stones in Marcia Lieberman’s fine photographs which I used for the CD cover imagery, the photos were taken in Southwest Wales. There are many tales about the stones. We both agree they are ancient Witnesses. For me, they emanate the same quality we were reaching for in the music. You can contact Marcia at www.planetpoint.com/marcia_lieberman.
For more information: Pleiades Records