4th of July, 2018

I descended the staircase that leads to my rooftop where I live in the East Village. I came down early, mainly because I felt uneasy, confused and at quarrels with my old beliefs of “America”, right before the climactic ending of the fireworks’ display. However, right before I came down, a modest launch (but massive at heart) of fireworks was set off from an apartment rooftop on Avenue A, which seemed to have caught everyone’s attention. It was something that definitely resonated with me, perhaps because of its close proximity.  It was local. (I felt like I was in combat for a second.) The people enjoying the Macy’s fireworks from respective neighboring rooftops applauded the show of the local firework’s display. Another local, across the way on the rooftop of a newly built building directly north of me, a woman tipped her glass in the direction of the local launch pad and cheered “Woooooo!!! Yeah!!! I’m Mexican!!!”  

That, her human spirit, seems to have resounded more in my chest than the booming spectacle of fireworks from the east and west, the dozen helicopters hovering above the lower eastside river of Manhattan (where the Macy’s fireworks display takes place), the fire-trucks barreling through the corridors of 14thStreet, and the people’s cheers of awe and spirited appreciation, all happening in that 25-minute timeframe.  

This day, since I came to this country as a young child some 40 years ago, is disturbingly different for me. I wonder if it rings true with every single immigrant who’s found refuge in this country, in his or her sense of American patriotism; and if it is different, how is it so? If the feeling of threat to our American way as we stand today, where the ugly heads of injustice, with its evil masterminds and executors, have pushed their way to make their case, is the supposed new way of “high” America. 

I feel that it is not the case, that this is merely a test of the spirit of humanity. Where there is love, the human spirit will  rise and sing, and where there is hate, “it” too shall fall and die; but at what price? Should my brothers and sisters who’ve safely found their way on this land from across the globe, much like I did, be afraid of being robbed of their dignity and loved ones?  

I’ve always believed that love conquers all; and I have no reason to doubt my belief now. I pray that I shall be strong whenever I am - and when my brothers and sisters are - pushed and tested; and that, no matter what, I will always speak my truth and fight for what is right. May God bless America. 

 

Raul S Quines

Copyright © 2018

November 11, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen... 

Today is 11/11, and I am beyond excited!!! To say the very least, I am nervous to be making this announcement!!! This is my first time doing something like this. So, bear with me here. [I know, I'm a late bloomer like that!] But here it is... 

"MESMERIZED", my single song debut as singer-songwriter, IS UP and AVAILABLE NOW!!! For its first 24 hours of being into this world, "Mesmerized" will only be available for download on CDBaby.com. After that, starting tomorrow, it will be available for download and streaming on iTunes, Google Music, Amazon, Spotify, etcetera.  

For easy and direct access to the song, go to my CDBaby album page by clicking on the link below:  

http://cdbaby.com/cd/raulquines 

The audio clip is very short and was not of my choosing. So, you might just have to splurge a whopping buck and twenty-nine cents to get the whole experience! That's half the price of a cup of coffee. Hahhh!!!!!! 

Now, ​I'd love to hear your feedback. Let me know what you think of "Mesmerized'. What do you feel? What does the song remind you of?? Sounds like??? So please, I urge you to write a review at the bottom of my CDBaby page where it says "Reviews". Be the first to review it, and I'll give you a BIG FAT HUG and buy you a full cup of coffee!!!  {~:;  {~:; 

Last and not least, a shout out to Amy Kang for her beautiful Solo Cello playing and to Tim Cramer for his expert engineering work at Maelstrom Music. Thank you so much!!! 

​Hope you enjoy it! 
  
RQ

Standing Up For What Is Right

September 21, 2016

This is what's on my mind today: 

We see, far too often in this country we call The United States of America, the acts of injustice, inhumanity and utter disregard to human life. Precious American lives are taken away, week in and week out for no justifiable reason; in this country called The United States of America! The loved ones who have to deal with the shock and mourn the sudden loss of a fallen brother, sister, son, father, mother, husband, wife, lover and/or co-worker whose life was cut short are the ones who have to suffer and endure the devastation, pain and emptiness for rest the of their lives. These are serious matters.  

There is no recourse to a life taken away. One cannot replace it. It is not an equipment or technological device, which one can easily take back to the store and exchange it for something new or a refurbished item when it breaks. When the heart stops beating, that is it. A precious human life is irreplaceable! It is not difficult to imagine a scenario of, say, a loved one stepping outside for a few minutes - speaking at the top of his or her lungs as the door closes, "Just gotta grab some milk. I'll be right back!" - and never to return?!?  

This must stop today!!! People of color have been grieving for far too long for their brothers and sisters. This must stop today. The change must start now, before the healing process can begin. Radical changes in the laws and regulations of sales, handling and use of firearms need to be made, that accountability is measured without bias and that justice is served responsibly.  

We have to stand up for what is right!!! We all share this responsibility.


Copyright © 2016

On Being Luckier today

May 17,

It's 3:35am, late Monday night or early Tuesday morning (however the bill fits) in New York City and I'm asked at the second to the last car on the 1 line at 96th Street (heading southbound) by a kind soul in a relatively desperate state (destitute and hungry) if I could spare some change for food. I told him I cannot spare change and offered him the bag that I brought on board, which contained a $16 salad with grilled chicken. He initially refused it, preferring money instead. I told him this is what I can offer to satisfy his hunger, feeling skeptical about what he would do if I gave him a $20 bill.  

Without waiting another minute, he graciously accepted my offer and went straight into the container. He was apparently quite hungry. He also mentioned that he has a wife at the shelter with their 8-month old son. He seemed quite genuine talking about this as he was talking about everything else, which I appreciated. He also asked me again if I can spare a dollar or two, to which I said I cannot (questioning in my head what he might do with the money: perhaps go to a crack house with the funds he's raised or what, buy a fifth when the liquor store opens up?!?) I gave him my personal/business card offering my services to him and his family, a thing I learned along the way: "to be of service." 

This man was clearly down on his luck, unable to land a job, for one reason or another. I had no doubt that he had other issues. But who am I to judge, an educated human being with a couple of degrees seemingly put together, but nonetheless an individual with chemical addiction who had, has, and perhaps will continue (yet still) to carry himself to countless points of no return.  

Deep down inside I had very little uncommon with him. I think this is why we were able to just talk the walk. My interaction with Jesus was a salvation perhaps, if not a reminder of the times that I had been there on many levels; and how grateful I am for the privileges I have today.  

If there is one thing that I've learned on my way home late tonight it is that I am probably no different from him. And if there is one thing certain it is that I am simply luckier than he is today.


Copyright © 2016

Reflection on 9/11

As streams of memories on September 11 are filtering in, some of which are shared by dear friends in New York City and abroad, I feel compelled to share my own reflection on it. In so many ways, 9/11 changed the lives of everyone on this planet, even those who were not born until after the event. For me, the event altered my perception on life in many ways. I learned to ask more questions, always look up, always be a friend, always be of service, always remember to say “I love you” to your loved ones because you never know if and when there will be another opportunity to express it, always speak your truth and lead by example, and the list goes on and on. What 9/11 did for me as well was get me back to writing music again.  Most of my friends and colleagues were not aware that I did not pen a note for a solid seven-year period prior to this day (which we memorialize again today). 
  
So this is a special day for me. When this day came around in the morning fourteen years ago, it got me so twisted and bent inside that I didn’t know what to feel. Then, I couldn’t do anything but cry my eyes out. And then my heart followed. And I wrote, even when it was so painful to relive the atrocities that unfolded before my eyes, before all of our eyes. 
  
Music for Lamentation was expressly written to commemorate those who perished on September 11 of 2001. The piece dared nothing musically challenging in shape, sound or form (especially to my critical music colleagues), but is closest to 'genuinely' bringing to bare my reflection on September 11. Midway thru writing the piece, I came to the realization that I was finally recognizing a significant disconnect in my life; grieving the loss of my father, nearly thirty years after his death. Allowing myself to go through these states of emotional turmoil, mourning and longing did me a lot of good. It mended emotional fissures and helped heal old wounds of my own. 
  
I've said this before and I will say i again: I am indebted to my daughter and Stringendo (Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley) for the immeasurable encouragement that helped me finish the work. See, I never thought that I was capable of finishing it; and so this is why I am so grateful to them. Thank you so much!!!  [There is another significant story about the evolution of the piece, but we don’t need to go there today.] 
  
"Music for Lamentation is not merely an elegy that laments those lost; it’s a vessel I call ‘Hope,’ which has no expiration. ‘It’ holds a lot of promise and healing power. It is a story about ‘recovery’ from devastation, ‘optimism’ to look ahead, ‘enduring willingness’ to stride forward and ‘overcoming fear’ in order to persevere. In the wake of the breaking news, global catastrophes, and the 14-year anniversary of September 11, I ask each of you to help raise awareness, recover what might be fractured or an abandoned trust in the fundamental truth of humanity, and instill in the collective conscience of our communities that far greater things are born (than lost) from our human suffering.” 
  
With all my heart, I present to you my 9/11 dedication piece Music for Lamentation as performed by Vivace of Stringendo, under the baton of Jonathan Handman with hope that this musical passage will help those in mourning today. Thank you and have a blessed day!

9/11/2015

Copyright © 2015

where I go

September 4

Copyright © 2015

Premiere of Surrexit

New York state of being.

This new year.

Counting my blessings this season

On Composing In the Kitchen; as Cooking Is...

[Builder of]Being One’s Own (revised)

On New Year's Day

Raul's Periodical Muse

"Inspiration"

Other scribblings...