$13.00 – $16.00
“In addition to Ann’s impeccable talents as a pianist, composer and arranger, the unseen, but deeply felt, spiritual dimension that she brings to her music takes her elegant compositions to another level altogether. This latest release by Ann Sweeten, like the butterfly itself, is a thing of delicate beauty in motion symbolizing grace, transformation, and renewal. After 12 albums, Ann’s music continues to evolve into greater and greater levels of refinement and creative expression. … an inspired work of art from one of the genre’s premier pianists.”
Michael Diamond – Music and Media Focus
1. A Trace of You
2. Broken Wing at North Light
5. Veil of Tears
6. Morning Mist at Chimayo
8. The Hanging Road
9. Where Butterflies Dance
Throughout the world, in all cultures spanning history; from ancient times until the present, the metamorphosis of Butterflies, has been a source of wonder. Many legends or myths about butterflies have arisen in very different cultures that are representative of renewal, transformation, death, and rebirth, awakening, courage, love, joy and hope.
Album Notes (continued)
The Greeks believed that a new human soul was born each time an adult butterfly emerged from its cocoon. Northern Europeans thought that dreams were the result of the soul butterfly’s wanderings; Native American Indian legends told that butterflies would carry the wishes to the Great Spirit in heaven to be granted. No matter the symbolism, they seem to be viewed universally, with reverence.
The title, Where Butterflies Dance also symbolizes a number of things. The first is that butterflies not only represent beauty, but also a wonderful sense of grace. The word grace can mean many things, but I refer to the manner in which we live our lives and interact with our surroundings. Many ancient civilizations believed that butterflies were symbols of the human soul, so there is a spiritual connotation to the title as well. Where they dance, would be heavenly would it not? Two of my compositions embody this feeling such as Elysian Fields and The Hanging Road (Cheyenne for The Milky Way)
There is also an environmental message to the title. The Monarch Butterflies are actually on the brink of extinction thanks to companies like Corporate Giant, Monsanto and all the GMOS, pesticides and herbicides wreaking havoc on our environment. These shifting land management practices are responsible for the disappearance of the Milkweed plants along the Monarchs’ Migration route. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed: their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants and Monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. The too many warning signs are clear: If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves.
Continuing with the environmental message, Sateo, is about one of the last “great tuskers” with ivory tusks weighing over 100lbs. The great bull elephant, likely close to 50 years old, was found dead on May 30 of 2014 in Kenya, after being poisoned to death by poachers, after years of adapting his behavior to hide himself from humans. Elephants are such extremely intelligent and sensitive beings and he just knew that they would bring about his demise. Poaching has reached unprecedented levels in history in all species. Richard Moller of the Tsavo Trust, who had been monitoring Sateo for years confirmed that Sateo is indeed dead, killed by a poacher’s poisoned arrow, to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in far off countries.” Frank Pope of Save the Elephants in Nairobi stated that “the loss of such an iconic elephant is the most visible and heartrending tip of this iceberg, this tragedy that is unfolding across the continent.”
I wrote the piece after seeing the picture of Sateo before, in his grandeur, and then, after they had shot him down with poison darts and literally cut off his face, leaving him, felled by greed. In the recording, the violin represents the beauty and grace of Sateo’s spirit.
Majestic Tusker of your land
In Africa, your kingdom,
An Africa without Man
They shot you down,
Removed your face
And now Your ivory
Is gone without a trace.
There must be a place
Where we might know grace
Again. Sateo, Sateo, my friend.
Floating far above
Your kind and gentle soul
Seeks to know why greed
Succeeds instead of love
In awe we remember
In sadness we mourn
Your hallowed greatness
And all-too-soon sojourn.
There must be a place,
Where we might know grace,
Again. Sateo, Sateo, my friend.
Bless you Sateo…
A word must also be said about Love Among the Ruins. The love to which I refer is the growing number of species languishing and nearing extinction on a deeply compromised planet. And, also, perhaps, the love is the whisper of two lovers’ souls, forever mingling after flesh is gone. The Cello and English horn represent their voices as they struggle to be heard.
In conclusion, Where Butterflies Dance is both a call to action and a prayer for hope that we might find a place where the butterflies indeed dance, by righting the wrongs, and creating a renewed grace toward Mother Earth, all her inhabitants and toward fellow mankind.
May you dance with the Butterflies,
Performances in order of appearance
Ann Sweeten – Steinway Grand Model B
-EX5 Yamaha Synthesizer, Kawai K-5000 Synthesizer (Elysian Fields)
AkaneSetiawan – English Horn
A Trace of You, The Hanging Road, Love Among the Ruins
Charlie Bisharat – Violin
A Trace of You
Eugene Friesen – Cello
Broken Wing at North Light, The Hanging Road, Love Among the Ruins
Jeff Pearce – Ambient Guitar
Trisha Craig – Flute
Morning Mist at Chimayo, Where Butterflies Dance
Will Ackerman – Acoustic Klein Guitar
Morning Mist at Chimayo
Andrew Eng – Violin
Migration, Sateo, Where Butterflies Dance
I want to extend a big thank you to all the musicians who brought their passion and unique vision to this project. You are all wonderful!
Composed and performed by Ann Sweeten www.annsweeten.com
All tracks produced by Ann Sweeten except as noted below:
Piano tracks produced by Ann Sweeten and Will Ackerman
Charlie Bisharat’sViolin track produced by Will Ackerman
Cello tracks produced by Ann Sweeten and Will Ackerman
All tracks recorded and engineered at Imaginary Road Studios, Windham County VT except as noted below:
Performances by Akane Setiawan recorded at David Kean’s Audities Foundation Studio in Calgary, Alberta, Canada – Engineer David Kean
Performance by Charlie Bisharat recorded at The Village in Los Angeles, CA – Engineer Jake Valentine
Performances by Andrew Eng and Trisha Craig recorded at Universal Noise Storage, Newburyport, MA -Engineer Tom Eaton
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom Eaton:At Imaginary Road Studios
Visual Artistic Direction and Photography by Randy Yoder:
RBY Photography, Salem, MA
Manufactured and printed by Disc Makers:
Pennsauken, NJ, U.S.A.
Piano Technician: William Ballard
“In addition to Ann’s impeccable talents as a pianist, composer, and arranger, the unseen, but deeply felt, spiritual dimension that she brings to her music takes her elegant compositions to another level altogether. This latest release by Ann Sweeten, like the butterfly itself, is a thing of delicate beauty in motion, symbolizing grace, transformation, and renewal. After 12 albums, Ann’s music continues to evolve into greater and greater levels of refinement and creative expression. Where Butterflies Dance is an inspired work of art from one of the genre’s premier pianists.”
“Ann’s piano playing is gorgeous throughout this album, that is the best way to explain it. There is a flow and natural rhythm like what mother earth so generously gives us all. A heartbeat of life that pulsates, ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea, the music will capture you as you fall into it without even knowing it….magical.”
“Inspired by themes of nature, and specifically, the butterfly, Where Butterflies Dancedually captures the essence of human emotion and life’s experiences, conveyed by the butterfly’s universal symbolism of beauty, love, hope, death, rebirth and transformation. Ann’s piano playing is at once dynamic yet restrained, with a uniquely artful style that often reminds me of a constant gentle stream, cascading over stones and all its subtle nuances. Where Butterflies Dance is a thoroughly outstanding album and the compositions lingered in my mind long after the listening experience had concluded. Deeply passionate about the environment and its many afflictions, Ann so eloquently conveys a message of environmental awareness through her music, expressing her passion with originality, sentimentality and immaculate beauty.”
“Ann Sweeten has done a wonderful job of putting together a recording that offers a lot of reflection, introspection, and musical picture painting. ..reminiscent of something written by the great impressionists…out of the ordinary…”
“Ann Sweeten has one of the most instantly recognizable piano “voices” in contemporary instrumental music, characterized by a fluid melodicism wedded to a discernible melancholic/tragic romanticism. Where Butterflies Dance, her latest effort, co-produced by Sweeten and Will Ackerman, features terrific contributions from folks such as violinist Charlie Bisharat, cellist Eugene Friesen, and flutist Trisha Craig. It is Sweeten, though who anchors it all with her sensitive, emotive piano performance, infusing each of the 10 tracks with her unique emotional resonance.”
“The music on this album is touching to the core…beautiful!”
“Sweeten’s music is always warm and lyrical reflecting her love of nature, staunch environmentalism and animal activism. Ann Sweeten’s efforts to change the world with her music are both commendable and compelling… elegant and graceful… achingly beautiful.”
“…the key element is how evocative Sweeten’s music is, no matter an individual song’s tempo, mood, or accompaniment.”
“Ann’s music has a way of giving the listener a sense of comfort and optimism. Where Butterflies Dance is quite emotional, but the ten tracks always sound soothing…it is music in which bones and hearts mend at their own pace.”