About the Artist

Sara holding CBS 1766, a 3000-year-old cuneiform tablet that she helped decipher. Photo Courtesy of the Penn Museum. Learn more here.

Dear Listener,

I would like to tell you a bit about myself and my music.

I consider myself an amateur musician. Why? Because the word amateur is from the Latin word amator from the verb amare ‘to love’.

It is my need to understand my feelings of love and longing that lead me to express myself through song, and it is the solace and release that I feel from singing that makes me love to sing. I do not know if I could be alive, without music.

I sing and play from desire, never to ‘practice’. Sometimes I go for long periods without playing. Then, suddenly, I am inseparable from my guitar, and even sleep with it. I have come to accept this as a natural cycle – an emptying and filling that I have grown accustomed to.

In my relationship with music, I try to be humble and tentative – qualities that I associate with an amateur – for I believe these to be essential to songwriting. For a good song, I believe, can never be ‘made’: it is an unexpected gift from the gods. If we approach songs, instead, with a sense of ownership and attempt to ‘write’ them, I believe that the essence of the song recedes with every step we take toward it: like a faint star or a shy animal, a song is best approached laterally.

When I was 22, I stopped listening to recorded music, and that has been my practice ever since. Why? Because I need silence to hear my own songs.

I believe that when we listen to ‘produced’ music, its perfection can make us feel that we can never create something as good – so we stop trying. So, to protect my creativity, I generally make my own music, or listen to the music of family and friends. Perhaps some day this ‘slow’, ‘zero-mile’ approach to music will become better understood.

So, if I feel this way about recorded music, how can I justify making these recordings? Until I was 22, I listened to a few (mostly Canadian) songwriters and was captivated by the confluence of soul vulnerability and musical expression. If I hadn’t discovered and cultivated this capacity in myself, my life would have been very different – much sadder, much lonelier.

My songs are, in essence, confessions to myself: attempts to understand my experiences, my feelings. Almost every one of my songs was born in tears, and many I kept private, until now. But if sharing my songs can inspire just one other person to express herself through music and, in so doing, make her life path more meaningful, then I am honoured to be able to ‘pay it forward’.

In keeping with my philosophy about recorded music, these recordings have been made as authentically as possible, so that they show my humanity, rather than hide it. These songs were recorded during the stormy, Canadian, west-coast winter of 2020, in a cabin on a cliff overlooking the sea. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the tick of the wood stove, and the rain on the roof. Many thanks to my friend Emmanuel Morelli, in his role of sound technician.

Music is central to my life – not only singing and playing, but seeking to understand the deeper mathematical patterns that underlie music. This search has led me on a remarkable journey into deep history. Read more here. 

Here’s a short film made by Annabelle GuimSim, and narrated by myself (“We Have To Show Our Colors So Others Can Find Us”). The film explores the challenge of making music (and art) in a world that is struggling to keep its connection with soul:

Thank you for listening
Sara de Rose