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The Making Of

A Wild Soul

My personal journey of birthing & becoming ‘From the Wild’

Ariana live in the studio

From the get-go, I had a clear mission in creating this musical anthology, but it was one I had to live into, to actually experience…

To put it simply, I set out to fall in love with this place.

These beloved lands.

Even the pulse of wild nature in my own veins.

I began writing the title song in 2013, as its theme beckoned me to trace my roots back to the natural world from which I came…

See, there’s a reason it’s called from the wild, and not into the wild. I wasn’t setting off for somewhere new, but rather to return to what was there all along.

“there’s a reason it’s called from the wild, and not into the wild”

How many times have we heard, “he went into the wild,” or “let’s go into nature?” But as I see it, we are always in nature, we already are nature—we just have to notice what is all around us (yes, even in the midst of pavement and high-rises), and remember what we are made of.

So rather than focus solely on epic excursions*, more often my practice of “rewilding” has simply meant making friends with the natural world in my everyday life.

(*you can read about some of those beautiful & majestic places—and how their primordial wildness has infused this music—in the place-by-place tracklist below)

For the truth is, pretty much everywhere has its majesties, if you begin to look…

And once I started looking, even when home and amidst my daily routines, I started finding so much beauty and wonder and wild.

Basically, I got interested.

I started wondering who the creatures were in the air, in the trees, hiding in the thickets… My neighbors! I got curious what different trees grow around me—whether introduced from far continents or growing for millennia on this one—and how they harbor so much life, offer shade, and even interact with one another. My eyes started opening to the many plants that grow at my feet—even in the city, there are so many more medicinal and edible than I’d imagined! (To say nothing of how they serve the needs of my non-human neighbors!)

“this has not been a theoretical or abstract practice”

Indeed, reconnecting with wild nature has not been a theoretical or abstract practice. Inspired by the beauty I see, I find ways to engage: to offer flowers for the pollinators and water for all creatures, to endeavor to bring back balance where invasives have taken over, and to plant things that will allow our human-disturbed ecosystems to rebound & flourish. For the benefit of all critters.

I’ve heard the too-close curious sniffing of bears, fed daily kitchen scraps to a winter-weary bunny, followed fox tracks following mouse tracks in the snow, become familiar with the songs and chatter of countless birds, made friends with many a squirrel, and spent many nights up with the owls…

I suppose the truth might be that I consider myself one of them—just another animal.

“both its limitations and its longings”

As an animal, remembering the “wild” has meant tending the simple truth of my own natural yet mortal body—both its limitations and its longings… I continually tend its rhythms, and its changes. I know what it is to be too hot, too cold, too lonesome… I know both fatigue and exhilaration, sorrow and delight… And I know the comfort of just-enough, and the preciousness of every drop of love.

“in a state of wonder”

These simple gifts and humble practices are the lodestars that guide me. They keep me in relationship with the more-than-human world, or as one could simply call it, the world. They keep me engaged with the textures and smells and changes of seasons. They keep me in my body and my heart. And they keep me in a state of wonder.

In crafting From the Wild, I kept walking, witnessing, and singing-with… And in filling myself with such beauty—in both my adventures and my everyday—I continually asked, “how can I bring this beauty, this vitality, to these songs?”

Sometimes the answer was to bring in the actual voices of the birds, the ocean waves, the trickling streams… (you can hear them in the songs if you listen closely!)

“I had to be the wild I was singing about”

And sometimes the answer was that I had to be the wild I was singing about. Because as I said earlier, I didn’t want to merely sing about, or even to—but I wanted to sing from…the wild.

I hope some of this journey—both the inner and outer—conveys in the music you hear, and that maybe it transports you to some of the places I sing of. My greatest hope, though, is that it will evoke your own curiosity, that it might inspire you to find more ways to engage with the more-than-human world right outside your own door, and most of all that it may open your heart.

“a love song to the natural world”

For if this album is to anything, it is a love song to the natural world. Or as some would call it, the world 😉

In closing this little reminisce, I want to take a moment and give thanks to Fernando Medina for always encouraging more daring in my songs (and adding it with his drums!). And also to David Bergeaud (who expertly mixed and mastered the album) for explicitly inviting me to re-record my vocals on several of the songs. A little over a year ago he said to me (with all kindness), “I think you can do better. I think you can sing with more of the wildness you speak of.” He was right.

And so, inspired by these two fine gentlemen and the unending beauty the world over, I dug deep, I danced, I remembered the winds that have torn through my hair, I even sipped a bit of whiskey… And I sang again, for the wild, from the wild…

The Birthplace of Songs…

Because the songs on this album were all born from the actual lands I walked, I thought it would be fun to share their origins…

 

TRACK LIST

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  1. Grandmother’s Tears — written on a parched and desolate day amidst the gnarled oaks and relentless sun of Southern California. Completed while also walking in that region of the world—but in gardens and amidst community—which gave me a sense of hope and earth’s bounty to balance out the grief and fragility I had previously felt.
  2. Cry to the Moon — written while dancing in the teasing waves of a north Malibu coastline, amidst towering black sculptures of rocks… A song of celebration and delight, even amidst the rocky waves of life.
  3. From the Wild — written between the rich, Mediterranean climate of SoCal and the stark but stunning desert Southwest. Grown wilder in the tangled rainforests of Oregon and the gnarled pine mountains of Colorado. Born from many lands…and dedicated to them all.
  4. Beneath the Waves — written on the rocky Oregon coastline—on dragon-spine cliffs above the tumbling winter sea—often while serenading seals. Refined in the deep, watery night. {In glossolalia, wordless vocal sounds}
  5. White Thistle Garden — written fast and on a whim, the images contained herein are almost all from witnessing the wild cacophonies around wetlands, specifically on the Colorado plains.
  6. Shelter of the Wood — written over several months while walking in the rain-soaked Coast Range of Oregon, these melodies simply kept me company and kept pace with my walks. It was winter, so the air and every tree and hillside were dripping, misting, gushing, trickling… {In glossolalia, wordless vocal sounds}
  7. Night Ride Across the Caucasus — written by Loreena McKennitt. Our rendition was born in a one-room shack amidst a winter wet and dark and dreary. This song soothed us with hope amidst those dark times. “Ride on, through the night…”
  8. The Last Days — written originally as another wordless song (like Beneath the Waves and Shelter), during the recording of the album I decided to write lyrics to match the already-existing title. … I sat many a night watching woodstove flames flicker in the snow-silenced Colorado mountains, coaxing the poetry forth to match the feelings of both grief and hope in my heart.
  9. Secret Path — almost all of the nature sounds in this song were recorded on the very walks this melody (from Shelter…) was born from. This rendition brings us back to the birthplace of the song: its humble beginning as a simple, rhythmic walk through the forest.

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"From the Wild" Album Cover

 

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ABOUT

Ariana Saraha is a singer & musician from the wilds of the West with a passion for primordial beauty and the more-than-human world. Whether writing, singing, or drumming, her mission is to invite us to remember our place beyond the trappings of civilization and the accepted meanderings of the mundane mind. She and her band have just released From the Wild, and are working on their next album while continuing to find wonder and inspiration even in the everyday.

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