Downloadable music track: mp3 format: 4 minutes 33 seconds
On Iona you become intensely aware of the moment. ‘Iona is a place of moments,’ someone said: a place of amazing sunsets, brilliant conversations, incredible meetings. A place where the mood of the weather can change by the minute – where you can experience sunshine, hail and rainbows all in a half-hour.
A place where storms blow over and joy comes out unexpectedly. Where tourists come for the day, Abbey and MacLeod Centre guests stay a week, and volunteers remain for a moment of their lives. A place where the ferry keeps coming and going across the stretch of time, bringing change, disturbing routine.
‘So, why did you come to Iona?’ visitors asked me when I was living there. One answer I had (among many) was: ‘to learn to live more fully in the moment’.
These short, meditative piano pieces were composed as ‘intros’ and ‘outros’ for services in Iona Abbey during the time when I was part of the Iona Community’s Resident group on Iona – a wonderful and challenging time – and were inspired by special moments in community and by a feeling of communion with the landscape of Iona. They are meant to offer the listener a moment and space to ‘be’ … to still and centre themselves before going out to work in God’s world.
I recently recorded these pieces in the living room of my flat in Biggar, Scotland, late nights, usually after editing or writing. The tracks were recorded in Garage Band on a Yamaha electronic piano, usually in one take, in an attempt to keep a direct, emotional, human edge.
Royalties go to Amnesty International
– Neil Paynter
Neil Paynter is the author of many books, including This Is the Day: Readings and Meditations from the Iona Community; Down to Earth: Stories and Sketches; Around a Thin Place: An Iona Pilgrimage Guide; and Iona: Images and Reflections (Wild Goose Publications).
Track and album photos by David Coleman.