I like the idiom 'second nature.' The first nature is the soul; by second nature someone does something, like throwing a baseball or playing the piano, as if it were part of himself. I live in an exquisite valley I look at 365 days a year, and somehow the beauty of the valley turns into music. The wind in the tall grass makes green waves by nature; by second nature these become flowing chords. The growth patterns of tress become a musical composition. When I recorded this album in 1983, I'd already been experimenting with the cross-rhythms of African music, especially the Shona music of Zimbabwe, for about ten years. These rhythms and their attendant harmonies arose from the African earth and spoke through it's people. When I first heard them I felt a great musical resonance, but inside that I sensed an even greater kinship. We're all exiles from an Africa we've never been to or seen, and playing these rhythms while watching the seasons change from the slopes of Barnett Valley was like discovering a homeland. William Allaudin Mathieu (b. 1937) is one of the most influential musicians of his generation. He began recording solo piano albums in 1980; Narratives is his eighth. He has written three books on music - The Listening Book; The Musical Life; and Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from It's Natural Origins to It's Modern Expression. Allaudin was a disciple of North Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath for 25 years. He studied African music with Nubian musician Hamza El Din, jazz with William Russo, and European classical music with Easley Blackwood. In the 1960s, he spent several years as an arranger/composer for Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington, and was the musical director for the Second City Theater in Chicago (which he helped found) and for the Committee Theater in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he served on the faculties of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Mills College. In 1969 he founded the Sufi Choir, which he directed until 1982. The past two decades Allaudin has devoted to composition, performance, recording, teaching, and writing from his home near Sebastopol, California.