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An Interview with Robert Sequoia

by Serge Kozlovsky and Alexander Petrov

Serge: When I listened to your album "Essence of Life" I noticed an interesting quality in your music. It is calm and clear. There is no inner aggression in your music. It is very interesting to listen to your music attentively and at the same time your music can be a perfect background. How could you define your music by yourself? What does your music mean for you?

Robert Sequoia: I describe my music as "21st Century Renaissance" because I feel that the time has come for a new awakening in the world towards a more humanitarian era of compassion, respect for each other and all creation, and more positive creativity instead of the violence and destruction fed to us by the media. This album, "Essence Of Life," is a collection of peaceful compositions meant for healing, relaxing and inspiration. The CD that I am currently working on, "Full Moon," is a more energetic album, reflecting some of the passionate sides of my soul. For me, music is a means of communication. I feel that instrumental music can be one of the purest forms of communication, because there are no language barriers. Music is the highest language. Even plants and animals can feel it. There are no boundaries

Serge: I don't know if you would like this comparison, but your music reminded me of the music of William Ackerman and, in general, of the "golden days" of Windham Hill Records. There is an inner silence between your chords and your guitar is very delicate and intelligent. Who has influenced your music? What musicians were a kind of "guiding lines" for you?

Robert Sequoia: Wow! You hit it right on the nose. I loved the "Golden Days," as you called it, of Windham Hill Records. I must admit that I've lost interest in what they've been doing over the years, but way back when, in the early 1980s, I listened for hours on end to William Ackerman, George Winston, Michael Hedges, Liz Story, Shadowfax, just to name a few of the masters.

Serge: From your interview with Jenna Robbert I know that your surname came to you in Sangre de Christo Mountains, when your inner voice told you this word. Also I know that you are actively supporting the preservation of virgin forests on our planet. You have even donated a portion of royalties for your album to Forest Guardian and Greenpeace. Could you tell us about it more in detail? How did you come to this idea? Why are you doing this? Why is this so important for you?

Robert Sequoia: I took the name Sequoia about 5 years ago. The sequoia trees are among the largest and oldest trees on the Earth. Some of them date back to the time when Jesus walked the Earth 2000 years ago. I feel these trees should be saved from the continuous destruction that goes on as you read this, of the forests on our precious planet. These forests can never be replaced. Not for thousands of years. I don't think it's fair, that a few men benefit monetarily from raping the Earth, while billions of others and their children, and their children's children, etc. lose out.

The ancient forests contain an energy that can cure the most depressed and lost souls, a magical essence that has to be felt and experienced. It cannot be adequately described in words. I know this, because I was one of those depressed souls. The trees saved my life and now I want to help by saving theirs. Please check out: www.lunatree.org on the net.

Serge: I think new age music destroys all barriers between people. This music brings people aesthetics of the better, more beautiful and holy world. This is the all-humanity music, music of our Global House which name is the Earth. What is important for you to express in your music? In general, how could you define the new age music? What is the new age music in your view?

Robert Sequoia: New Age music is really an old age music. I mean that nothing new is being said, really. These same things have been expressed by teachers, prophets, artists and poets for thousands of years. Hopefully now, we will listen a little closer to what they said because it's quite obvious that the way we've been running things, the show has got to change.

Serge: What inspires you to create the concepts expressed in your music? What helps you to make them so clear? And what would you like to tell people about your music?

Robert Sequoia: Each piece of music is inspired differently from the next. Some are inspired by a beautiful sights such as clouds or the forest, and others are generated at a more personal level.

Perhaps a personal relationship, for example. In some, I basically just like the sounds that are coming out of my guitar, and I sculpt them into a song. And then I feel like others are composed entirely by my guitar and I just happen to be sitting there with my hands on her.

Each one is different. I call them "musical paintings" because I feel each is a different portrait or landscape expressed in sound. If my music moves a person's emotions in some way, or takes them on an inner journey to another place away from their day to day worries and stress, then I feel that I have done my job well. I try to accomplish this by putting my mind, body and soul into the music as I perform it and I travel to that magic place too.

Serge: I was greatly surprised to know, that you learned to play guitar only in high school. Still, when I am listening to your exquisite and rich performing, one question comes to me again and again. It sounds like "how many lives are you carrying this guitar with you"?

Robert Sequoia: That's a tough question to answer. Yes, it is true. I started learning to play when I was 15 or 16, also most professionals start when they are little kids. I was quite bad and could barely play, to tell you the truth. There was no natural ability. I did however always hear music in my dreams while growing up, so some part of me spoke the language, I just needed to learn how to use the tool to express it. My ancestors from my mother's side were gypsy musicians in Romania way back when. So that may account for some of my gifts. As far as past lives I couldn't tell you for sure. I do believe in past lives though. If nothing else it's more fun to believe than not to do it. I don't think I've been around since the last renaissance though. I might have had played a little back then. A lot of the world and its ways are completely foreign to me in this day and age.

Serge: What's new of your music could I listen to, as an amateur of guitar music? What are you working on at present?

Robert Sequoia: As I mentioned earlier, I am finishing up a new CD. Two actually. One has a lot of new material, with some older songs that longtime fans have heard, but to most people are new. One of the CDs features more upbeat style compositions, some with a more ethnic, quazi middle-eastern flair and others, well, you tell me when it comes out. Hopefully it will within the next few months. I've been traveling, so it has been put on hold temporarily.

Serge: I know that you have a gypsy "roots". What are you from?

Robert Sequoia: I think I answered that one a little bit in question No.6, but basically my physical body in this life comes from a family with Russian, Polish, Romanian and Dutch roots with a little bit of Brooklyn thrown in. I grew up in a Bear Mountain region of New York state, in the U.S.A. As far as where does my soul come from? That's probably a more important question and one I'll leave as a mystery to you, because that's what it is for me. But I will say that I have deep rooted spiritual connections with the words spoken by Chief Seatle, which are printed on the inside of my "Essence Of Life" CD sleeve. I also feel very connected to the humanist philosophy of the Renaissance, so I know I was around then. And beyond that, I think that part of my soul is from a planet orbiting the third star on the right in the constellation of Orion.

Serge: Where are you living now? Do you like the place, where you live?

Robert Sequoia: For the past 13 years I've lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the U.S.A. I love that place very much. It is truly a magical vortex. Right now I'm playing with the idea of living somewhere else just for the sake of change.

Serge: Do you like traveling? What countries do you like to visit most of all?

Robert Sequoia: I always like to see new places, but I haven't traveled enough to have a favorite country other than my own, which I have to admit even with all its problems is still my favorite.

I'm a lover of nature and the U.S. still has some of the most spectacular I've seen yet. But again I haven't traveled too much and when I have it is mostly been to cities, unfortunately.

Serge: Are you practicing any spiritual exercises (techniques)? Do you belong to a particular religion?

Robert Sequoia: Currently the only practice I'm doing is practicing staying positive in a negative world. As far as religions, I belong to all of them and none of them at the same time.

Serge: What is your spiritual search?

Robert Sequoia: It is not much a search as it is a quest. I ask continually that I can help to create a joyous life for all and that I live in a mentally, physically and spiritually balanced and healthy way.

Serge: What long-term goals do you have in your life?

Robert Sequoia: I have so many, it seems. I'm an avid day-dreamer. Musically I'd like to continue with the instrumental endeavors, but also I have many pop songs that I would like to record and release in some way. My latest big project is creating a cartoon and educational program for kids.

Serge: What are your interests in life?

Robert Sequoia: Other interests of mine are just to attempt to be a normal guy. You know, have a family, mow the lawn and all of that.

Serge: Maybe, you would like to tell our readers something else? What else is important for you to tell us?

Robert Sequoia: I really feel that it is important for all of the caring, sensitive people, reading this magazine to know that it's all going to work out great. That is the most important thing. It's all going to work out great. In this time of negativity being force fed into our consciousness by the so-called newspapers, television and Hollywood action hero films, to really hold a clear belief, that everything is going to be just great. That is the most important thing to do. It's not easy at times, and in many ways not logical and practical, but do it anyway. You have to. Our thoughts create our world. I didn't make this one up. It's been said in many different ways throughout time. So, join the club and think positive in the face of the negative, and when things really get you down? try to have a good laugh.

Serge: What would you like to wish to the readers of our magazine?

Robert Sequoia: I wish everyone peace. Peace is not boring. Peace is not becoming a monk. Peace is happiness and love. Peace is running through a meadow naked. Peace is swimming in warm, clean seas. Peace is falling in love and not falling out. Peace is knowing that people, everywhere, in spite of what they look like or where they are from, are all the same. Peace is knowing that even the cruelest, most vicious people are really only extremely injured babies. Peace starts with you. I wish you peace.


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