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is a musical audiobook based on Afrodiasporic mythology and Buddhist psychology. This illustrated fairytale tells the story of River, an enchanted young woman whose tears bring music to life. As she embarks on a magical search to end her sadness, River must look to the natural world for the wisdom to face her darkest fears.

Written & Performed by Sparlha Swa.
Illustrated by Opie Snow.

Online Viewing

Option 1: Watch ‘Videobook’ $5

13 chapters and songs presented as slideshow ‘movies’. View at your own pace. 124 minutes total. Click for trailer.

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Option 2: Interactive ‘Onlinebook’ $20

An interactive online ‘book’ you can scroll through with images, text, narration & songs. Great for educators!
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Music 

Digital Download of 11 songs.

Building on the work of her past 3 albums, Sparlha Swa presents this new 11-song soundtrack. These are sonic poems about heart and shadow, longing for love, and the ever unfolding mystery of the natural world. (40 min)
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Audio Book & Album

Digital download of 11 songs and 13 narrated chapters.

Listen to the story as it is narrated by the author and accompanied by richly textured sound design. Hear the music woven seamlessly into the narration, songs flowing directly out of River’s tears. (122 min)
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album & audio book

Paperback Book

56 page full color 11×8.5 paperback book. 25 illustrations.

If you prefer to hold your books physically in hand, then order a copy of the illustrated paperback. For best results take home both the paperback & the audiobook to own the complete Moongazing experience.

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Illustrated Prints

10×8 Prints 

Explore the Art Prints below to browse through all 25 lushly colored digitally painted  images. Printed on Moab’s Somerset Enhanced Velvet fine art paper.

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art prints by opie snow

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Meet the characters

River

It is a strange sort of magic, one she wishes she didn't possess, but every time River cries, music arises seemingly from nowhere. River is a lonely brown girl plagued by sadness who longs more than anything to be happy.

Olorun, the Sun

One of River's few friends, Olorun, bright and smiling, sometimes sails down from the sky to visit her little house by the sea. If anyone holds knowledge of the ways of magic, if anyone knows how to cure sadness, it will be him. Or so River hopes.

The Shadow

The dark thing in the corner. The shape standing just behind you. The Shadow is a mysterious creature that River never knew existed until now. She wonders why it has appeared, why it is following her, and what it really wants.

Chango

Singularly the most gorgeous young man River has ever seen, with dark brown skin and a smile that makes her insides melt, Chango is such a dream, she's not sure he's really real.

Mermaid

Stunningly beautiful and devastatingly terrifying, the Mermaid sleeps in the deepest and darkest of places, waiting to be discovered.

Chupwa the Moon

Of all the magical beings in the world, only Chupwa, the Moon, refuses to speak to River or even acknowledge her existence. What a cold and haughty Queen!

Creators & Credits

sparlha swa

Songwriter & Author: Sparlha Swa

Sparlha Swa is a psychotherapist and singer-song writer. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she scored the award-winning feature film Pariah, played a lead role in the lauded musical Fela! off-B'way, has released four albums, and toured solo around the world. A psychotherapist (LMFT 86265) in private practice in Berkeley CA, Sparlha currently sings in a vocal harmony group called Three Bells. She is ever grateful for many life lines to spirit including Buddhism, Ifa, meditation and nature, and for the sweet refuge of her beloved family.

opie snow

Illustrator & Web Designer: Opie Snow

Opie Snow is an artist, designer and mother. Raised on flower nectar and honey comb, Opie has a way with paintbrushes, shapes and paradox. She lives and breathes bicoastally; from the rich, deep forests of Oregon to the chaotic, urban vitality of Brooklyn. She has a shy woman box. She blasts holes in it with pigment and canvas; with brush and paint; with sewing machine and the power of stitch and seam; with website weaving and graphics. She pulls beauty and unearthly darkness together, twining them until the one is indistinguishable from the other.

jesse

Producer: Jesse Olsen Bay

Jesse Olsen Bay (music website) is a composer and performer who lives just north of the San Francisco Bay. At home in a wide variety of musical forms and styles, he creates aural landscapes and narratives that explore the depths and extremities of the human experience. Ranging from art-songs and folk ballads to instrumental music for dance and film, from soundscape collage to experimental performance art, his music is always rooted in a search for meaning, truth, human connection and honest communication.

credits

Sound Designer: Shree Shyam Das

Shree Shyam Das (adifferenttrip.com) is a musician and wordsmith. As a writer and editor, he has contributed to a long list of publications, including Rolling Stone, Vibe, Premier Guitar, Electronic Musician, and Keyboard. His travels as a composer, producer, percussionist, and Grammy-nominated bassist have taken him to five continents for adventures with the California Shakespeare Theater, ALO, Jai Uttal, Hamid Drake, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Karnamrta Dasi, the New Pickle Circus, and many others. He is currently a senior editor at Bass Player.

Musicians

Jesse Olsen Bay – Acoustic and electric guitar, electric and upright bass, keyboards, piano, drums, percussion, accordion, glockenspiel

Roger Riedlbauer – electric guitar on 2, 3, 6, 7, 11
Maxwell Church – trombone on 6, 8, 11
Michael Margulis – trumpet on 6, 10, 11
Jesse Shantor – alto saxophone on 10, 11
Sparlha Swa - guitar on 3, 4
Sandy Perez - bata drums on 1
Tobiah Gaster - bata drums on 1
Bob LaDue - bata drums on 1
Shree Shyam Das - bass on 3
Allison ? - flute on 3
Naima Penniman – poetry on 10

Engineering, Mixing, Mastering

Principal engineering by Jesse Olsen Bay

with add'l engineering by
Luqman Frank – 2, 5, 7, 10, 12
Carlos Arredondo – 2, 5, 7, 10
Hiroyuki Sanada – 3, 4
Open Thought Productions - 3
Gianni Fontana - 9
Kevin Craft - 11

Mixing
Nino Moschella

Mastering
Jonathan Burnside

Story

Editing
Jamel Brinkley
Elton Carter
Tiffany Golden
Elz Cuya Jones
Tobiah Gaster
Ariel Luckey
Shree Shyam Das
Rose Chang
Kate Brandy
Barbara Heyerman

Recording
Carlos Arredondo
Luqman Frank

Misc

Illustration Consultant
Micah Blacklight

Spiritual Direction
Larry Yang
Ariel Luckey
Joshua Alafia

Website
Elly Fishman
Sierra Pickett
Kahdeidra Martin-Thelusca
Blair Phillips

Query Edits
Gae Polisner

Valued Funders

Juliet Hart
Lyndon Gill
David Kelley
Dawn Swaby Ellis
I’kyori Swaby
Robert Altman
Patrick Brooks
Avrom Robin
Susan Finkelstein
Taganyahu Swaby
Michael Billings
Shireen Brathwaite
Robert Brewer
Philip Brooks
Valentina Cabrera
Lowell Caulder
Nekissa Cooper
Ken Currington
Sekayi Edwards
Jon Fine
Delia Foley
Paula Fuga
Barry Jenkins
Elsa Johnson
John Korman
Paul Kivel and Micki Luckey
Mallory Leitner
Ariel Luckey
Janet Linder and Elena Moser
Zulma Martinez
Michael McDaniels
Russ Nordmeyer
Ginger and Stu Polisner
Kadian Roberts
Eddie Sheehan
Shanon Sitkin
Steve Snider
Jeanette Stewart
Thane Tierney
Robert Vidra
Romahlo Wilson
Sue Ellen Wise

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