“Geodepédie - Hidden Light” - For Christina Tourin, this powerful, thought provoking phrase is more than simply the perfect title for the influential, world renowned harpist/composer’s sparkling, magically lyrical new album – her first since 2010’s Iona Inspirations, which capped a prolific and prodigious 20 years of composing and recording.
Like the title of one of its key tracks “Music Is Love,” it’s an eloquent, multi-faceted expression of her soul purpose, a powerful symbol reflecting her deep understanding of her personal place and role in the universe. Looking into the crystalline light of a newly opened geode, one can see the relationship of the night sky filled with glittering stars, planets and galaxies. The music and narrative themes of Christina’s album remind us of the words we hear spoken so often by the great masters: “AS ABOVE, SO BELOW.” It’s a popular modern paraphrase of the second verse of the Emerald Tablet, a compact and cryptic Hermitic text. Lest we forget we are indeed connected to the ABOVE in every way, while the universe lives BELOW in the smallest beauties within the Earth. “With a twist on Erik Satie's “Gymnopedie,” Christina says, “may we open ourselves to let light shine forth as the beautiful geode!”
As one of the foremost leading educators of the harp, whose International Harp Therapy Program currently has training centers in multiple countries and languages with Therapeutic Harp Practitioners from 32 countries serving on five continents, Christina truly lives a life “as above so below,” experiencing the magnificent and transcendent in small but significant ways. As she says, “Expressing through music is not what I do, it’s who I am.”
From the time she was a child living in a summit house in Maine, built by the famous mineralogist George Howe, with an entrance adorned with gems and crystals, she was captivated with the Earth's breathtaking intricate beauty. Howe was her childhood mentor, having left a myriad of rocks and minerals in the basement acquired by her family. Her childhood was also immersed in beautiful music, starting with her mother playing Ravel and Debussy on a shining gold harp when she was born and through all her formative years.
From the classical masterpieces, Celtic traditional, and sonic innovations from other cultures to improvisational jazz, upbeat bluegrass and pop, music has been a constant inspiration throughout Christina’s life. There’s always been a tune wafting through her mind, helping her relate to the world, and there’s been a constant flow of melodies that seemingly drifted down from the heavens to provide not only a comforting soundtrack to life’s ups and downs, but serve as a catalyst for her to fulfill her visions of how her chosen instrument could transform lives, emotionally and spiritually.
While collaborating with wonderful musician friends on what she calls “little sparkles that illumine my whole being through the generosity of the Creator,” she has brought thousands to the instrument through her workshop organizational skills, introduced the modes into harp education/performance, and launched and developed her signature programs signature programs, Creative Harping©, Rainbow of Sound™ and Color My World©. She has seen lives can change in a very personal way through her private teaching of thousands of students over the past 50 years.
The International Harp Therapy Program currently has affiliate programs in The Netherlands, Italy, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. and South America. While perhaps only the start of a list of countless accolades across many musical endeavors, her lifetime of dedication to educating people on the harp has always been her way of making a difference in the world.
For 15 years until the her duties with the International Harp Therapy school took precedence, Christina focused on her career as a recording artist, with seven popular full length albums beginning with White Rose (1991) and including two 2008 releases, Illumination and Prayers for The Living Trees. Now that her International Harp Therapy School in to the hands of talented, administration oriented leaders, she plans to continue teaching and return to composing and recording.
Trained in performance both at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and at McGill University in Montreal, Christina’s fascinating musical life has taken her around the world from Japan to Ireland, where she’s brought the National Instrument of the harp to blind children; she also served as a trained music therapist at the Blind Institute of San Diego. In addition, she performed for 17 years for the Von Trapp Family at their Austrian Chalet Lodge in Vermont, and has accompanied chorales, performed with symphonies and been part of ensembles in off Broadway theatres.
As thousands of grateful listeners, students and patients can attest, Christina’s performances are the sacred, transcendent moments where she is most fully alive. Bringing her harp to magical life, she shares with the world the deepest, most profound truths of the universe, which she rightfully and intuitively credits as the source of all she creates – including her new single and upcoming album Geodepédie - Hidden Light!
“During a recent trip to Scotland and Ireland, I had time to reflect in a Stone Circle as to what this album was about,” Christina says. “It was revealed to me exactly why I had walked into the recording studio, half blinded and unprepared from the overwhelming schedule I was living - only to sit down, say a little prayer (“Heaven help me today!”) and then with each song, feel my hands literally being taken over to create the album with mostly first takes. For the first time, I had gained the art of “letting go!” At times, I was not certain how and why some of the pieces transpired – until I went to the Callenish Stones in Scotland. Every reason was revealed from the Stones. I am sure I will be creating a CD in the future about those Stones – but for now, I believe everything is embedded in this album.”
TRACK BY TRACK
1. Geodepédie - Hidden Light
Imagine cracking open a geode and experiencing the crystalline beauty that only can be seen when you open the outer layer and let the light shine forth from the center of the stone! It reminds us that when we share ourselves with others and spread our inner light, everything is brighter. A lover of gems, Christina’s childhood home was built by a famous mineralogist which her family acquired. It was filled with rocks and gems, which she spent her days cataloguing. She dedicates this song to both Mr. George Howe and to her grandson Jude Koa Tourin, to whom she happily introduces the rich sounds of Erik Satie. Jude gave her a beautiful geode for her birthday and when they cracked it open, the newly formed crystals popped out and glistened in the sunlight. He knows that beauty lie’s hidden within the smallest places as well as his love for the night skies and the Universe!
2. Music IS Love
Music is the Universal Language which we can all understand - it is pure LOVE. This composition was a special request from a dear mystic with whom Christina has learned so much!
3. Passacaglia - Handel’s Healing Harp
If George F. Handel were living today, his music would be as healing now as it has been through the ages. A favorite of Christina’s usually played verbatim on the Grand concert harp, she arranged it to fit on her lovely, delicate sounding Celtic Harp. A Baroque composer, Handel is definitely one of Christina’s all-time favorites!
4. Brigid’s Green Mantle
Christina composed this song based on an Ancient Celtic poem retold by Ella Young about Brigid being allowed to build her humanitarian ideals through the land of Ireland. The King granted her space to build her monastery for as much land as her Mantel would spread. It spread and rolled out in velvety green moss to the very edges of what is now known as Ireland. Over the centuries, Brigid (Bridhe) continues to spread her Uaine - green mantle around the Earth! Here are the words to the story which have been set to Christina’s music.
Now comes the hour foretold, a god-gift bringing, A wonder-sight.
Is it a star new-born and splendid up springing, Out of the night?
Is it a wave from the Fountain of Beauty up flinging, Foam of delight?
Is it a glorious immortal bird that is Winging, Hither its flight?
It is a wave, high-crested, melodious, triumphant, Breaking in light.
It is a star, rose-hearted and joyous, a splendour Risen from night.
It is flame from the world of the gods, and love runs before it,
A quenchless delight.
Let the wave break, let the star rise, let the flame leap.
Ours, if our hearts are wise, to take and keep.
5. Land O’ The Leal
Imagine the castle of our dreams, our visions of Paradise! This beautiful Scottish traditional tune is one that musical healers often carry in our hearts when playing harp in hospice settings. The word Leal refers to loyalty and virtue but has also taken on the meaning of HEAVEN. In the songs, the man sings to his wife who is in the process of leaving this earth experience and he is saying to her, “It won’t be long before I see you again. You will be going to see our wee bairn who left us too early. Go, be with her and we will meet up soon.”. This tune brings out the most tender moments of “Letting Go” and reaching for Heaven or the Great Mystery. It is one that is most dear to our hearts while attending to those at the end of life and in palliative care.
6. Early One Morning
Also known as Aamulla Varhain, this is a Finnish Folk song. Imagine being left alone as many have been. This Finnish song is about a woman who wakes and finds her love is no longer with her. May we comfort those who yearn for connection, a smile, a gentle hand. What a difference that can be!
7. Walk Through The Sunflowers
Bright yellow flowers reaching upwards to bring their divinely given faces, scents and colors to bring forth happiness. Therapeutic Harp Practitioners through the International Harp Therapy Program, founded by Christina Tourin, send music and prayers to those in need around the world needing hope, love and peace. The sunflower certainly shines hooe upon us.
Think of all those memories we tuck away, only to have them surface when we least expect them. This is a heartfelt and reflective tune for how life used to be and how we are always faced with change. But the sweet memories still remain with us.
One day, when that little Birdsong of Hope enters into our being, as John Whyte writes in his book “Consolations,” life blooms. Our hearts open to let in their natural beauty of the world that has been waiting for our welcome! This is a Swedish hymn for summer. Christina first heard this song while driving through the mist in Ireland and she immediately fell in love with this tune.
10. Icelandic Northern Lights
Picture the wee child tucked in for a good night’s sleep after your mother and father have sung you a beautiful Icelandic Lullaby, -
Sleep my darling sleep, rain is gently falling,
Mother will thy treasure keep,
Hidden where the shadows creep,
Hush thee my Baby, night for rest is calling.
However, as a child, you awake and see beautiful color ribbons dancing in the sky, swelling and painting unforgettable images on the biggest piece of canvas you have ever seen. Twinkling lights peek through the greens, yellows, reds and blues! Wow!
11. Morning Mood
Each morning we rise is another day of light coming to meet us. We are never left in the dark forever. Thank you Edvard Grieg. Your composition brings shivers when the sun splashed its rays over the mountain tops in the early morning!
12. Largo - Vivaldi’s Vision
The composers of Vivaldi’s day had the ability to sculpt what they saw into sound. Sound healing has helped humanity from very ancient times to the present. Christina has known that this has been her pathway from many ages. She honors her favorite composer, Vivaldi, along with Handel, Ravel and Debussy.
13. Arigatou, I For You
Midoriko Kawamura, a student of Christina’s, has written this beautiful song for the Voluntary Humanity program in Japan. It is a beautiful way of extending gratitude for all we are connected. Christina loves touring and performing in Japan where she sees that time and focus is on creating beauty. Arigato, Thank You, Midoriko!
14. Amethyst of Avalon
Gems from within the Earth shine their light in their hues of violet, emerald green, sapphire blue, golden citrine, and ruby red. The natural colors from within the Earth tantalized Christina while growing up. She lived in a house built by a mineralogist who travelled to Africa and brought back every amazing cluster one could imagine. By the age of eight, she had a most amazing collection that kept her busy cataloging and researching stones and gems when not playing the harp! This song is dedicated to her granddaughter, Avalon Nalu Tourin.
15. As Above, So Below
When one stands out on a warm summer night staring at the dark sky, one cannot help realize the complete mystery that surrounds us. When we look at images from powerful telescopes, the colorful galaxies spiraling billions of miles and light years away look so much like the formations of geodes. “As Above So Below” really shows us how everything is connected under the same principles, whether macro or micro. In this composition, we experience the vastness of the Universe and find ourselves being drawn to this tiny blue green ball. We hear the calling of the dolphins as we hover over the blue ocean. We view Brigid’s Green Mantle; spreading beauty upon the land, light within the stones of our mountains, geodes looking like mini galaxies in the sky. We see the wonders of what our evolutionary brains have created. It is all perfect, if only we can respect and care for what it all is. “As Above So Below” When will we open to this great mystery and truly give it the “arigato” it deserves.?
16. Colors Of The Seasons
Ahh, the colors of the galaxies, the colors of the crystals and gems; the colors of the seasons - winter, spring, summer and fall! We are provided with sparkles of snow crystals; budding blossoms opening their beauty; variegated green leaves on bright summer days and then the crunchy, spicy flavor of the days we have enjoyed. What a smorgasbord of senses we live in! May all the people of the world honor the colors of our peoples and all living things, the flowers, the birds, our furry friends. We are all a part of this planet and paint the most beautiful kaleidoscope of mandalas to focus on our unity. A World of Peace, Hope, Light, Life and Love!
Listen to Geodepédie - Hidden Light here: https://christinatourin.hearnow.com/