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let the words and music surround you with the wonder & magic of A Gentle Wind
Sarah Pirtle is an award-winning author and musician who writes and sings for all ages.
She has received the Magic Penny Award
WHY I SING WITH CHILDREN
Just as an artist stirred by beauty comes with a sketch pad to hold the essence in a drawing, I jump into life as a songwriter with a yearning to sketch with words. I pass on what I experience: the feeling of rock-hopping across a stream, the wonder of watching water strider bugs skate on water. I pass on what I imagine: the leaf home of a squirrel high in a tree on a windy night.
I look for how a young person sees the world. A song City Neighbors captures the joy of visiting familiar neighborhood stores including a favorite bookstore where you can pat the cat in the window. Another song on Pocketful of Wonder shows the feeling of balancing twigs to create a fairy house. It answers the age-old question Do the fairies visit this house Ive made? by letting the fairy talk about bouncing on the bed the child has created.
I look for unspoken connections: the impulse to keep collecting favorite sticks, the insistence while playing outside not to come in for dinner. On the recording, Heart of the World, I capture how it feels on a whale watch when a giant whale flips onto its back and cracks the water. Another song places us in a sailboat at the moment when our dog jumps overboard to swim with dolphins. We talk to quarks and DNA and the long line of plants and animals birthed by the earth. Science and wonder spin together.
The first song I wrote back in 1979 sings, My roots go down to the earth. It arrived, pushing its way up like an insistent flower bud, while I was walking at night under a full moon. My songwriters sketch pad keeps returning to the pulse of the seasons: what its like to jump in piles of leaves, or the taste of the first snowflakes on your face. Something happens that is so strong that I cant rest until a song is made; Spring Singer began with the force of spring striding up the valley to awaken and change everything.
I want children to be able to feel that same power of nature inside themselves and feel how it is available to translate into their own lives. Like the story of three girls building a treehouse Hold that nail and hit it once again .Dont give up til its just the way you like. And a new song, The courage of the dandelion is yours and mine.
Most of all I want them to feel their innate goodness: Youre so strong, youre so smart. You were born with the loving heart says the chorus of The Sun Inside Us on the Wind is Telling Secrets. I think of songs as a kind of medicine.
That same inner power of nature helps us learn how to talk out conflicts. I want to tell the truth about human difficulty: Im so angry I cant see straight. Im mad as a bull breaking down a gate. You and I are in this fight. Gotta find a way to set things right. The push inside for connection keeps sending out: Talk it out. We have to go through it. I speak of human longing for understanding: Why do we make walls? These walls divide us. Why dont we make a start, building a bridge from heart to heart. These songs are on the recording Magical Earth, along with a song about protecting the rainforest thats traveled a lot called, The Mahogany Tree.
For a quarter of a century and nearly a hundred songs, I have been creating recordings with A Gentle Wind. Were just brought out our fifth recording together called Pocketful of Wonder. These new songs place the listener close to the heartbeat of the earth Lets go outside, the trees are talking. They also celebrate farm life, like in the humorous description of children learning how to hug chickens.
I hear from families that what they appreciate is that adults and children alike can listen to the recordings -- like on lengthy car trips. Ive hoped for the songs to reach out to people of all ages. Back in 1984 when I recorded Two Hands Hold the Earth, while I was pregnant with my son Ryan, I started a practice of envisioning the families who would hear the music and sending out good wishes as I sang into the microphone. Ive gotten letters this year from unknown listeners, now with children of their own, who said they felt those wishes encoded in the music.
like to foster community through music. I have written four books including An Outbreak of Peace that received the Olive
Branch Award for outstanding book of the year on world peace. I travel throughout the
country giving concerts, school residencies, and teacher workshops. Im on the
national faculty of
I drive to the Gentle Wind studio, I go from this region of western
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