“Let Us Welcome a New Star”
People who have visited my Kickstarter page may wonder why Cascadia is listed as having thirteen songs, when the physical copy of the CD lists only twelve. The reason is that midway through the campaign, I decided to remove one track from the sequence, and instead to offer it as a bonus track. All Kickstarter backers received a link to this track along with their rewards. It also appears in the Cascadia songbook. The song is called “Let Us Welcome a New Star.”
Today, I want to share the story behind this song. “Let Us Welcome a New Star” is dedicated to Volary’s Samantha Lien. Samantha battled cancer before her too brief life ended, shy of her fortieth birthday. During this time, she recorded her debut album of original songs, Out of Shadows.
This song was written during a time when I had not seen Samantha for several years. I knew that she had been ill. I had only met her a few times, but I thought of her often. I had recently gone back to school, where I had taken an astronomy course in addition to my courses in comparative religion. So I was thinking about stars, about time, about impossible distances. And I was thinking about Sam.
Early this year, Samantha’s partner Alex wrote to me to let me know that she had passed. From his description, I had the sense that despite all of the pain that she had experienced, she had also come into a great and powerful beauty– realizing the preciousness of life, and living it to the absolute fullest. Alex shared that he and Sam had been wed at Commonweal, a spiritual center that brings together people undergoing cancer’s initiation. I was honored and moved to hear that they had played my song “Woods Part of When” at their wedding. They had also created a music video for one of Samantha’s songs, “Blackbird Fly.”
Recently, Alex traveled to Sam’s home country of Australia. There, at Cape Tribulation in the Queensland rainforest, he carved a memorial to her in stone. He plans to carve a similar memorial on a stone near Commonweal– two stones drawing a connect-the-dots line between two places that were dear to her, and between the two countries that made up an important part of her identity.
Samantha had a message to share with others who might hear of her music, and her experience with cancer. Here it is, in her own words– “I want people to know that life is precious and to not waste it away. My wish is for people to watch my music video and to remember me for my voice. I want people to know that I am at peace with myself and even though I have breast cancer it is not what represents me as a person.”
Lyrics to this song are posted on my site’s music page, along with the other songs from Cascadia.
Love and music,
P.S. If you did not get a chance to back the campaign, but still want to hear the song, write to me and we’ll talk.