“The peaceful music—eleven original compositions played solo on eight different flutes—is designed to quiet the mind, relax the body, and allow sound healing to take place. On Listening Inside, Nina Umai Spiro invites you to honor your own personal healing experience and listen to the wisdom that your body speaks. Nina Umai has practiced various healing arts for the past 33 years, and her music reflects an even longer involvement with the healing properties of sound. I was not surprised to learn that she began playing wind instruments intuitively at a very young age for her own healing and self-expression. Her music grew naturally as she spent many hours in the woods surrounding her country home, playing what she felt inside to the wildflowers, trees, and animals. Her rapport with the natural world continues to this day, expressed on this CD through “the ancient sounds of her healing flutes.” – Chris Roth, Music Reviewer, Talking Leaves, Eugene, Oregon
“From an emerald green forest on the front cover, the omnipotent, yellow eyes of a snowy owl rivet your attention to the message to Trust Your Inner Wisdom. Right away you know that this album will be like no other.
Nina Umai Spiro embarked on her recording journey two years ago with her first release, Listening Inside. This new release, Trust Your Inner Wisdom, will soon be followed by a double album which is getting its finishing touches, entitled Sounding - Journeys for Inner Truth. Nina Umai has a lifetime of experience with wind instruments and a deep connection to Nature which drew her into the healing arts. She has developed Pravada Sound Healing which is her own method used for journeying, meditation, and healing experiences. Nina Umai offers her sound healing through teaching, private sessions, and healing concerts and gatherings. She has played several different wind instruments since she was a small child and has considerable experience with singing. From her perspective the sound of the Native American Flute is ideal for creating a sacred space for healing.
All Nina’s compositions on this album are original and are based on her own meditations, her experiences and training, and her Russian, Romanian, Polish, and Jewish heritages. She emphasizes that she never attempts to play Native American music. Her songs are a reflection of who she is, yet she has an amazing talent for creating sounds that touch her listeners whatever their ethnic backgrounds. Her soothing flute music creates a peaceful, sacred space that invites you to travel on a personal healing journey and to be in touch with the inner wisdom of your spirit. Trust Your Own Wisdom is Nina’s testament to the versatility of the cedar flute, proving that it can speak with many voices and in many styles of music beyond the Native American genre—truly a universal instrument.
To feel the full power of Nina’s music, you will get the strongest results by listening with eyes closed in a meditative fashion in a warm, comfortable, and relaxed environment. She weaves a musical blanket of many colors that wraps snugly and protectively around you. Her flutes speak an ancient language, free of the constraints of familiar or standard rhythms and melodies. The tones re-balance energy, allowing your body to release layers of tension, pain, and cellular memories, freeing the spirit for healing. This is done through Nina’s technique of starting a song with higher pitches and moving to lower pitches as the song progresses. The length of the song, the length of sustained single notes, and the melodic repetition relaxes your mind, allowing the sound to enter your body and different chakras as your mind goes journeying . . . journeying from forests, to European and Asian countries, to the comfort of a grandparent’s arms. The first selection Songbird shows Nina’s ability to talk to the birds through her flute. She seems to be saying, 'I am your sister.' Nina Umai has always felt a special connection to birds, particularly owls. She once had the honor of caring for an injured owl in her home at the request of the local Wildlife Sanctuary facility during the owl’s convalescence. Immediately you will notice that there are no bird chirps in the background of this piece; it is pure flute music without electronic wizardry or special effects. This is true of all her cuts—one of the reasons that this album is so unique.
The second selection called Irish Mist honors her friends of the Irish culture. To me it has a sweet and haunting melody which captures the essence of a melancholy lass waiting in the foggy mist on the moors for a loved one to return.
Cherry Blossom, the third selection, reflects Nina’s childhood memories of a favorite cherry tree in full bloom and her feeling of an ancient connection with the Japanese people. This melody has a strong Oriental quality to it. In my mind’s journey, I see a perfect Japanese garden and hear a small waterfall in the rise and fall of the pitches. A beautiful Geisha girl sits looking at her reflection in the pool at the foot of the waterfall.
Other selections lay bare Nina’s life and soul as she reveals her musical feelings for old friends, special places and times, and the members of her family who were most influential in her life. I find the song Ancestral Voices to be my favorite of the album. It has a heart warming ethnic melody that is exceptionally beautiful and moving. For Nina, it keeps her Grandmother Rosie alive. For me, it has a familiar sound and I instinctively hum along. It makes me wonder if I have some Russian roots because it feels like I have sung this song before in some far away time. Its plaintive and low pitches resonate and vibrate through my body, down to my toes.
Likewise, her Russian heritage and influence is the inspiration for the song Memories of a Red Star, my second favorite. I see dancers in bright colored costumes doing intricate steps. Again I find myself humming along as if this song is somehow part of my own 'cellular memories.'
Sacred Temple, which was my favorite from Nina’s first album, is the tenth selection on this new album. I am mesmerized by its haunting Eastern European melody. For this album she plays the song on a double flute which gives it a different color and power. It makes the hair stand up on my arms and gives me chills.
Her eighth selection titled Grandfather’s Lullaby, and her last selection called Grandmother’s Wisdom, reveal even more of Nina’s heart and soul. I feel privileged to learn of the influence of her grandparents in her life.
Near the end of the liner, Nina Umai has included the Song Chart for Sound Healing which explains where the healing focus of each song will be working. Her flutes range in key from B flat minor to E minor and are made of a variety of woods from Mahogany to Sitka Spruce to traditional cedars. She honors her flute makers—Albert Jim, Scott Loomis, Lew Price, White Crow, and Ward Stroud—by listing their names and featuring a back cover photo showing the flutes that she used for this recording. Clearly, the essence of this album is symbolized by the front cover’s magnificent snowy owl which portrays the wisdom of the inner spirit and Nina’s connection to Nature and to her sister owls—truly an album like no other.” – CD Review by Sherrie Kuhl, Voice of the Wind, the Official Publication of the International Native American Flute Association