Monarch was written and recorded during a very prolific time in 2010, just after Alex Lifeson offered to produce my next recording, which became the David Barrett Trio debut album. With Alex’s input, I had written, arranged, and recorded dozens of guitar instrumentals, before getting any other musicians involved. Monarch, along with many other compositions at that time, was exploring themes about transformation. It was a favourite of mine, featuring only a vintage Gibson 12 string, and steel guitar, and so it just didn’t seem right for a larger band arrangement.
The title “The Mysticism Of Sound And Music”, was taken from the influential book by Sufi Mystic, Hazrat Inayat Khan. Because it was such an inspiring and life changing book, I always wanted to have an album that used that title. With the upcoming guitar retreats in Mexico centred around music and mindfulness, it seemed like an ideal time to finally release this collection of some of my more esoteric, and ambient compositions, all centred around the acoustic guitar, with Monarch as the opening track.
During our first guitar retreat with Buddha Travel at Sotuta de Peon, Paul Reid and I found time to shoot a video for Monarch, it includes footage all around the Hacienda, as well as some additional scenes featuring the pyramids at Mayapan. As the cameras were rolling, I noticed Monarch butterflies flying all around the perimeter of the pyramids, and on the way out, they seemed to follow us as we passed the pyramids, dwellings, and platforms. I later discovered that most of the over-wintering Monarchs from Eastern North America arrive there in Mexico by the millions. So much like the Monarchs, we were coming from and returning to the same part of the world.