This is Trestrail’s first record and she felt compelled to write songs that resonate with a higher power: “I thought no better way to start off recording than to record two spiritual songs for God.” She described the concept of the album and the tracks: “The songs tell stories about great things happening to ordinary people. The first song, ‘The Prodigal One’ can be played throughout the year. It is very mystical and the tabla adds to that. The second song, ‘The Traveller’ is more of a traditional Christmas song.”
According to her, the music is purely inspirational and is a melange of mystical, Celtic and eastern elements. Above all else, though, she hopes the album brings a pervading sense of peacefulness and spirituality to the audience. Trestrail called it: “A powerful and uplifting emotion. A feeling of peace that passes all understanding and a connection to a higher power.”
Trestrail, 31, is a multifaceted artist who spends her days writing songs and painting at her home in Diego Martin. She noted that her life revolves around her art and finding the time and inspiration to compose music and paint is a full-time career.
She explained that she has always had a natural inclination to singing. From an early age, her mother took notice of her special gift and devoted her efforts to developing her daughter’s talent: “At five years old my mother would jot down songs in short hand from the radio and made me sing them for her over and over telling me that I could do it.”
Even when her romance with the guitar threatened to throw her singing dreams off course, her mother got her to remain focused and disciplined: “I didn’t take the guitar seriously until the last few years. It drove my mother insane who begged me to forget the guitar and stick to singing; of course, I carried on plucking away.”
In fact, she composed all the lyrics and all the music for Mystic Love Songs to God herself. “I played all of the guitar solos. The flamenco style tremolo on ‘The Prodigal One’ and the one finger rasqueado on ‘The Traveller’.”
Trestrail indicated that the completion of this record represents a personal accomplishment, her lifelong dream, the poetry of her heart, sharing her gift to the world and something to give people hope.
After the positive feedback from the release of her first record, she is already making plans to go back into the studio to produce a compilation of songs that she has written over the years. “I have so many other songs that I have composed that are beautiful and uplifting that I want to record soon calypsos, ballads, reggae, folk.”
But that’s not all, Trestrail is also an accomplished painter who describes her artwork as just as varied and progressive as her styles of composing and singing. Her body of work is an impressive collection of figures, still-life, landscapes and portraits.
At the age of 20, Trestrail began studying Visual Arts at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She graduated and went on to work with various international bodies. To that end, she has developed a reputation as a versatile watercolourist and acrylic painter. In 2005, she was invited to display her works in a group exhibition by a New York City art gallery.
Trestrail’s style of painting shifts between impressionism when working with acrylics and realism when using watercolours. But, her preferred medium of painting is watercolour because of the fluidity and translucency.
Four years ago, Trestrail had the opportunity to work with two renowned American watercolourists, Stan Miller who is a member of the American Watercolour Society as well as Mary Ann Boysen who became the select demonstrator for “Frederick Canvas”, an exclusive line of art suppliers. Speaking about the learning experience, she said: “It was a totally amazing experience. They both taught the transparency technique which is very important when working with watercolour. Watercolour is so much more difficult to work with than oils or acrylics, for example, because you cannot ‘back paint’ or paint over it.”
Her artwork is represented in private collections across Trinidad, South America and the United Kingdom. The piece that is closest to her heart, however, is one that she sold many years ago: “It was the first piece that I ever exhibited and sold, a watercolour nude. I wish I could get it back.”
In her opinion, artwork and music have a significant effect on people. It is a profound sensory experience that has an emotional dimension to it as well, both of which are interpreted in different ways by the mind.
“Paintings, poetry, sculpture and books are physical objects that are seen. So the pattern is from perception, to conceptual understanding, to appraisal, to emotion. Music is the reverse. The pattern of the process involved in music is: from perception listening, to emotion, to appraisal, to conceptual understanding. Music is experienced as if it had the power to reach man’s emotions directly.”
Trestrail explained that her favourite book “Atlas Shrugged” by feminist author Ayn Rand greatly influenced her life. “I have read everything she ever wrote and, although she did not believe in God I believe in her fictional objectivist philosophy. The quote ‘Reason is not automatic, those who deny it cannot be conquered by it, leave them alone’ has stayed with me. It has subconsciously motivated me creatively.”
The woman who looks at life as a series of chapters and riddles said that her ultimate ambition in life is simply to make life worth her while: “I want to live a long, happy, healthy, good life using my gifts wisely and to the best of my ability.”
“The Prodigal One”
It is I the prodigal one
I come to kneel before the virgin’s son
Little child you will grow
Heavenly things you will know
What star leads me here today?
I beg to touch the hay where you lay
Wash my soul whiter than snow
That your forgiveness I will know
Tuck me safe under your wings
And forever your praises I will sing
Take away my iniquity
I live to serve only thee
It is I the prodigal one
Absolve the sinful things I’ve done
May your footsteps light my way
As I walk the earth day to day
Fill me with your grace
I long to see your face
Cleave me to your breast
Put my heart to the test
Guard me as the apple of your eye
I kneel before the most high