Writings About Music
The Feeling Is Mutual
A friend I originally met in Maui is a gifted professional masseuse whose clients have included Sting, describing him as a brilliant, kind, and unpretentious person. Still can’t quite believe it, but she did once tell me that the music she’s played for him during sessions includes my own, and that he enjoyed it a lot. I’ll have to confirm the next time I see her what those pieces might have been, but I’m guessing early works like "Pilgrim", "Delayed Response", "Pink Candle" and "Dark Yellow" may have been played for that serene setting, my friend only having a few early recordings, something I will seek to update now that I've thought of it.
Only in the past year did I hear Sting’s "Fragile" for the first time, loving its gentle-powerful, essential message; its wondrously original and tender beauty. His version of "Soul Cake" slays me, too, first hearing it while high up in the West Maui Mountains during a Christmas television broadcast six years ago.
Two other great favorites are "Desert Rose" and "A Thousand Years" with their gorgeously hypnotic, sublime assimilation of Middle Eastern essences touching the heart chakra. The finest Indian musicians do speak of chakras with great respect, so I’m glad to have some understanding of why they feel this way, disregarding overuse and misuse of the term here in America. And Sting's collaborator on "Desert Rose", the phenomenal vocalist, Cheb Mami, helped inspire The Spirit Pool album.
Pilgrim is the first track on my first album, Trembling Flowers.
Delayed Response began with a chord progression composed at the piano.
Pink Candle anticipates a later friendship with Ray Manzarek.
Dark Yellow was inspired by a Giorigo de Chirico painting.
The Spirit Pool is centered upon a Karnatic kriti composed by Saint Thyagaraja.
I've never seen Sting perform live, but we did pass by each other while walking through Central Park in Manhattan one afternoon just behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art years ago. I stole a surprised glance upon recognizing him, and he, understandably, ignored a look from a stranger.
- Michael Robinson, February 2019, Los Angeles
© 2019 Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).