Cathy Segal Garcia
a Spiritual Path to Music and Life
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As far back as I can remember, I thought there was a deeper world than what was around me. Hidden, mysterious and wonderful.
The door to something else, behind the nail in the wall. Nymphs and elves in the woods by my house. Something important hidden in a wonderful book, read while sitting in our green velvet armchair in the living room…so lost within the story that I didn’t hear my mom talking to me right by my side. Maybe it was because I learned to read by reading Through The Looking Glass/Alice In Wonderland…
My dad was a sax player, and he loved jazz, and I was his buddy, so he taught me about it. He took me to big band rehearsals from the age of 4, and I helped him put his band book together on Sunday mornings after the Saturday gig. I sang with my twin sisters all the years after that.
After high school I went to Berklee College of Music. Even though I was a singer, they didn’t have vocals at the time, so I played flute and studied arranging and composition. I was young but I soaked in the being-ness of a musician.
There were milestones along the way. Why I decided to keep singing, why I decided to sing jazz. From when I was child through college, that was a dramatic time in popular music. The Beatles, Woodstock, Cream, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendricks, Motown artists like Aretha. Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat. And on into the ECM Label, Weather Report, Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, John Coltrane. The music was mind and soul altering.
As I grew older, I used my voice to make money, and to learn and have fun. I started writing, and found that my music writing was like my word writing. It usually reflected an intangible essence that I seemed to be reaching for. The way I expressed myself was in more ethereal concepts, rather than simple direct statements. I had to get used to that coming out of myself. It turned out to be a long life lesson, taught by music and the rest of life.
My mother and my sisters taught me about liking people and communicating. I taught myself about fearlessness. The ladies taught me about gathering people together. I taught myself about getting people into action. We were about giving help and love to our peeps.
When I started to teach, a large door opened up for me. I was forced to explain what I saw, in a way that could be understood and applied. I wanted to be truthful and kind, but get a result.