By Lois Herbine
Last month, I recorded a single solo flute track as a
contribution to the Action Moves People
United project, sponsored by the United Nations, UNESCO.
I played an improvisation realized by pianist Catherine
Marie Charlton. Both the flute and piano accompany a poem entitled I Cried by
Karelle Wade, which is about war and unity, spoken in the perspective of new
Action Moves People United CD
This project is a CD compiled of poetry and prose tracks,
read by spoken word artists and accompanied by musical instrumentation. The
central message is world peace through a call to action to promote positive
change. Catherine’s improvisation was influenced by the text. The music starts
remotely and builds in strength and resolve as the poem first laments the
problems in the world and then finds hope in the future. It is read in Cuban/
Spanish by Kenya Autie and in English by Alex Metnick.
Catherine recorded her piano contribution separately and
then uploaded her audio file onto a sharing service so I could download both
her part and the spoken word file and play through my computer and speaker while
As a classical flutist I prefer to read a part instead of
improvising it, so Catherine composed the flute solo by recording a separate
track, and then I transcribed it using music writing software.
Following the flow of the text, I began the flute softly
playing triplets against the piano’s duplets to provide an unsettled feeling.
Then as the voice become more confident, so did my flute by getting fuller in
sonority then popping the octave while the piano part filled out by adding
chords in the left hand. I practiced in the style of an improvisation,
sometimes using rubato to pull away from and then rush to sync up with the
I spent an hour at Eastroom recording studio where recording
engineer Drew Taurisano placed the piano track through the one sided headphone
and recorded my flute playing against it. Using the headphones in this way
allows me to hear my part clearly, while fitting it in with piano. This gives
me the ability to assess subtle color changes in the sound. After Drew
submitted the raw flute file that afternoon, one of our producers, Rupam Sarmah
of India, compiled the music tracks and sent the recordings back to the spoken
word artists to rerecord, as the music will naturally propel the expression of
You might be wondering why the producers selected a
classical flutist to play an improvisation? One of the plans for the album –
and eventual film – is to pair up artists from different genres and around the
globe for collaborations that go beyond politics, religion, and borders. Other
flutists that will be joining me on this musical journey for peace are new age
flutist Wouter Kellerman from South Africa and Powell artist and rocker Ian
Anderson of Jethro Tull fame.
Live Concert and CD
album is available for pre-sale during the Nelson Mandela International Day
festivities in Washington, D.C., July 15 through 18, 2016. As part of this
celebration, I will be performing with an African band, Sharon Katz and the
Peace Train, and an American Roots artist, Grant Maloy Smith, at the Washington
Monument on July 17, 2016. For
concert information, visit Lois Herbine’s blog http://www.piccolois.com/blog/2016/6/28/sharon-katz-and-the-peace-train
or events page http://www.piccolois.com/events/.
Some of the other collaborating artists on this project are
Julian Lennon, Kathy Sledge, Annie Haslam, John Wetton, Patrick Moraz, Dan
Aykroyd, Tony Levin, Steve Walsh, Ricky Kej, Amy Otley, and Janice Ian. Action Moves People United is produced
by Kevin Mackie, Krista Wallhagen, and Rupam Sarmah.