Trees are divine creations, alive and breathing alongside us. We have lost our awareness of trees as characters in the story of our daily lives, an awareness that ancient communities knew all too well. Many biblical stories took place near trees, and we have typically viewed them as part of the setting and scenery. Instead of being the context, many of these trees were actually characters who played important roles in the story.
The idea for creating By the God Tree came from wanting to call attention to our intimate connection to trees as our anchor points to the earth, rather than the background for our lives. Children often have the awareness and ability to hear the magic and godliness of trees, yet many of us lose this gift as we get older. In this moment where we are on the cusp of losing everything with our Mother Earth, this album seeks to re-connect us by helping us tune into the trees and listen to what they are saying.
The creative process for the album has been a spiritual journey in itself. Many of the songs on By the God Tree were created through a series of recorded improvisations, followed by hours of listening and reflecting. Gayanne and Producer Will Robertson then refined and honed the material from the recordings into unique and original songs and collaborations.
The space to create this album came from Gayanne’s participation in the first cohort of Hadar's Rising Song Institute's Fellowship. Chosen for this prestigious honor, Gayanne has joined with other musical artists to cultivate Jewish spiritual life through song. Rising Song supports creative musicians and prayer leaders who hope to reinvent the future of music as a communal Jewish spiritual practice. This album promises to be a powerful contribution to the Jewish community and the larger world.
Huge thanks to producer, fellow musician, and friend, Will Robertson, for his many hours of playing instruments, singing, recording, producing, and mixing the album. Many thanks to the following people for their beautiful musical contributions: Colin Agnew (drums), Jessie Reagen Mann (cello), Sarah Zaslaw (violin and viola), Gary Schreiner (harmonica), Aviva Chernick (vocals), Sonia Osio (vocals), Rebekkah Goldsmith (vocals), Amy Robertson (vocals), Noa Robertson (vocals), and Ariela Freedman (vocals).
Listen here for a preview of Gayanne's new album.
"This album came together unlike any other I have worked on: equal parts improvisation, collaboration, orchestration...and of course, inspiration. The journey of creating this work of art was rich and intense, and ultimately led to some of the most gratifying music-making I have ever been a part of. Only a visionary could have heard the truth in what the trees are trying to tell us and bring it to life in an album like this. It is always an honor working with a visionary like Gayanne. "
"Gayanne's beautiful, powerful music deeply moves me and so many others. Singing from the depths of her heart and her experience, she opens up pathways towards transformation for everyone who has the courage to join her."
"You must spend some time with Gayanne's voice and music, with her artistry. I am enthralled each time I have the pleasure of hearing her, of working alongside her, moved by the fullness of her offering which is generous and lush, strong and ancient in the feeling of connection it stirs in the listener. We need Gayanne's voice in this moment in time as she is a rare and courageous creative adventurer, modeling a superb strength of spirit and a radical openness of heart."
"Gayanne has a voice that makes the spirit soar and a Jewish soul that you can feel through her music. Part of the movement bringing spiritual depth into Jewish worship through writing and performing new music, Gayanne has brought a wonderful contribution in this, her first album. It is a moving and valuable addition to Jewish life."
"Gayanne's songs are like the trees that inspire her. The rich depth of her voice roots the listener, and her gift for improvisation takes us into the sky. Both inspirational and grounding, Gayanne's music is a spiritual experience."