Day 3: An Album Inspired By the Death of Artist Graham Howcraft

Graham's death forced her to confront the direction her own life was headed

It’s official, after 10 fast and furious Februaries, the NL RPM Challenge has produced more than 1000 local albums. This year, about 130 local albums were written and recorded in the month of February, and every weekday for the rest of the month the Editor of the Overcast will haphazardly select and feature one, which will merely skim the surface of what was released. See the full list here. feel free to fire along some fun facts about yours to chad@theovercast.ca (with the understanding this series can only cover 17-18% of albums released).

Day 3: Rozalind MacPhail’s Sunset Sunrise

This record is what it says it is, right on the album cover: meditation music. Ethereal, emotionally engaging background music.

It was inspired by the recent death of local artist Graham Howcroft, who happened to be local award-winning musician Rozalind MacPhail’s housemate at the time of his death.

“Graham was a brilliant artist, an insightful intellect and an inspiring mentor to many,” MacPhail says in discussing her new album, “he was also my housemate. We only knew each other for one short year but his death had a profound effect on me.”

After Graham passed, she says she couldn’t believe “how the world kept moving so fast while my world seemed to stop. It wasn’t the first time I had lost someone close to me, but it was the first time I observed an artist who I greatly respected deteriorate from disease in old age, and it troubled me to my core.”

Graham’s death forced her to confront the direction her own life was headed in. “My eyes were forced wide open, I could see that I had two possible paths ahead of me. One led me in the direction of abundance, joy, vitality, and connection, and the other led me to poverty, disappointment, disease and isolation.”

It was during these reflective moments she decided to create an album she could use “as a tool to help others cope with loss, addiction, stress and the process of letting go.”

She says meditation has gotten her through some darkest moments, adding that “there is a great need in our world right now to find ways of tapping into our inner peace while being in the midst of so much uncertainty.”

Of the album’s title, she says “Graham savoured the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets from his St. John’s apartment each day, and this space is where I composed and recorded the flute and bansuri tracks, accompanied each morning by the sunrise over the Narrows. I wanted to create music inspired by the same beautiful view Graham had enjoyed, and I used the RPM Challenge as my catalyst to create and complete the project during the shortest month of the year.”

Joining her on the album are Portland musicians Kim Henninger and Shawn Parke, who added their electronic tracks after a loss of their own, a Mr. Ryan Parke. “Woven in the electronics of ‘Sunset’ is Ryan’s voice whispering the word ‘love,’” she explains.

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