Song Without Borders is an initiative created to support people in reconnecting to their creative source and celebrate ‘the Great Song‘, understood in many cultures and traditions as the original, inherent and underlying sound vibration.
As a way of simplifying and streamlining our offerings, Song Without Borders recordings and films are now presented under the banner of Michael Stillwater’s music company, Inner Harmony, founded in 1980.
Following is a timeline review of Song Without Borders since its inception.
Anytime you wish, use the menu to browse the Inner Harmony site.
Between 2008 and 2019, Song Without Borders produced innovative recordings and films which catalyze creative expression, honor the music within and celebrate the connection between one’s inner life and the universal current of life, ‘the Great Song’.
Our original initiative, under the auspices of the non-profit Companion Arts, provided a series of community-building events to Cape Ann and Essex, Massachusetts in 2008. Celebrating diverse elements within the community through the power of song, concerts and workshops were offered to the public and social organizations. A brochure was published describing our vision and mission.
Our first recording project, released in 2008, was The Honoring, a CD of intuitive songs from Michael Stillwater. Born during personal songportraits and Honoring Ceremonies, inspired by individuals whose themes led to new songs, the original guitar/voice recordings were then arranged in a state-of-the-art Zurich studio with harmony vocals, percussion, bass, cello and other instruments.
Produced by Michael and Doris Laesser Stillwater together with Lemme, the recording is a musical testament to the subtle energies moving between us all.
Our second recording project, released in 2009, was SongSourcing, a selection of customized music tracks for supporting anyone’s songmaker to awaken. Produced in Zurich, Switzerland, the project resulted in 30 tracks of instrumental patterns in folk, jazz and rock styles, at varying tempos.
Used in workshop and group settings, therapeutic sessions and personal life, these soundtracks have served thousands of people in finding their natural creative voice. Songwriters have used these repeating, harmonic tracks for accessing new lyrics and melodies. Alternatives, a creative arts educational organization in Hampton Roads, Virginia, was inspired by SongSourcing to develop a musical curriculum for helping kids K-12 find their own voice.
Recognizing the massive potential of film for conveying and transmitting unique concepts to the general public, an ambitious project began in 2009 which would span ten years, traverse the globe, and encompass three feature-length documentary films. A question was asked- “What is the Great Song in your tradition?”
An initial trip by Michael Stillwater to Melbourne, Australia, interviewing spiritual leaders at the Parliament of World’s Religions, was followed by interviews with Aboriginal Elders in Byron Bay. Simultaneously, Doris Laesser Stillwater was in Switzerland interviewing Indigenous Elder Angaangaq from Greenland.
SHINING NIGHT: A PORTRAIT OF COMPOSER MORTEN LAURIDSEN
a man, an island, and music that moves the world
The first film of our series became available to the public in 2012 with the release of Shining Night, portraying the life and music of National Medal of Arts recipient, Morten Lauridsen. Considered one of the greatest living choral composers, Lauridsen enjoys composing on Waldron Island, a remote forested isle in the Pacific Northwest, from where his choral pieces journey to choirs around the world. Filmed in US and Scotland, Lauridsen’s island studio served as an idyllic location for conversations with the composer,
deemed ‘a heartening rarity’ by Wall Street Journal.
IN SEARCH OF THE GREAT SONG
Fifty voices. Twelve countries. One question.
In 2016 we released In Search of the Great Song, the panoramic vision of the heart of music in all life and cultures. Featuring fifty speakers from twelve countries, we asked each person one question- ‘What is the Great Song for you?’ The spontaneous responses were authentic, insightful and thought-provoking, resulting in a timeless, contemplative transmission. Whether in spoken word or through original music, the echo of the Great Song weaves throughout, often leaving audiences silently reflecting upon their own response.
BEYOND THE FEAR OF SINGING
Unlock Your Voice. Release Your Song.
The series concluded in 2019 with Beyond the Fear of Singing, a sensitive exploration of childhood trauma and joyful celebration of released expression around one’s singing voice. Appealing both to those who were told they can’t sing, as well as those who have already found their way to come out of hiding. An encouraging, inviting and heart-warming tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of song to lift us all.
EMISSARIES FROM THE WILD
The Animals of Earthfire
In 2019, following the completion of the series, Michael Stillwater was invited by Susan Eirich, PhD, the founder of Earthfire Institute, a wild animal rehabilitation center in Idaho. The purpose was to create a short film about the deep connection between humans, animals and nature. It seemed a fitting postlude to our three film series to celebrate the voices of the wild animals.
Initiated in 2008 by Inner Harmony founder Michael Stillwater together with Doris Laesser Stillwater and a team of allies, Song Without Borders has spread the awareness of ‘the Great Song’ in America, Europe, Australia and beyond.
Song Without Borders non-profit fiscal umbrella was initially provided by Companion Arts and subsequently by Living Bridges. Special thanks to Camille Adair, Executive Director of Living Bridges, for her role in shepherding our projects through to completion.
Into the future, any new Song Without Borders projects will continue to be produced and made available in association with Inner Harmony.
We greatly appreciate everyone who has provided
funding for developing these projects, including:
Ursula Lamberson Straumann
Artist/Founder, Harmonic Fusion
Edward Anderson, MD
President and Founder. Nucleus Technologies, Inc.
Linda Vento, RN
National Healthcare Management Executive and Consultant
Distinguished Professor of Composition, University of Southern California
Rinaldo & Lalla Brutoco
Omega Point Institute, Santa Barbara, California
Business Consultant, Scotland
Lloyd Symington Foundation, California
Founder, Mindfulness Without Borders