Yosemite National Park and Bass Lake were Kevin Cornwell's backyard as he grew up in North Fork, California. The sounds of the lake, the pounding of the waterfalls, and the gentle flow of the creek below his home were the sounds that lulled him to sleep each day. His mother, an accomplished pianist, and his father, whose powerful singing shaped his musical environment nurtured in him a love of beautiful, intelligent music. In college, Kevin studied bassoon performance and held a variety of orchestra positions from Mexico to Boston. Musicians are a poor lot—in many ways—so Kevin ended up working in the computer science sector administering mainframe computers for some of the world's leading astronomical observatories located in Hawaii. His dream and love of the beauty of music continued to press him and now he brings his musical visions to life through his compositions, through his recordings, and through his performances.
The name Aslan is a boy's name in Turkish and means Lion. Aslan's Hope then in translation is Lion's Hope. As Jesus is the Lion of Judah, He represents for all humans the Hope we have in Him for salvation. And, of course, Aslan (the Lion, and the Lion of Judah) in the Narnia series of allegories is the name of the Great Lion and represents the same thing. It is my intention that my music (all of which directly or indirectly uses hymn melodies) points to that Hope which we have in Jesus.
Many of the old hymn tunes (not always originally written for use in a hymn setting) are pentatonic (think, Sacred Harp tradition) which means they readily sit well under the fingers on the AIF which is a minor pentatonic instrument. Musically, a pentatonic scale can get a bit boring since without half-steps (such as the leading tone) everything can begin to sound the same and there is little chord progression pressure. However, as with most wind instruments, half-tones can be faked using half-hole and other techniques. I use these techniques extensively as half-tones add a great deal of musical interest and tension both of which create drama.
The American Indian or Native American style flute is indeed a far cry from a bassoon, Kevin's instrument during his formal conservatory training. However, both being wind instruments, Kevin capably applies the musical disciplines to the ancient instrument. The AIF was used in a number of ways depending on which tribe is being referenced. Kevin's favorite is the usage as a courting flute. It can be five- or six-holes with the six-hole minor pentatonic being Kevin's preferred instrument. Each flute chosen by Kevin is handcrafted by Butch Hall in a single key (it is non-chromatic) and as such is difficult to play with an accompanying, chromatic instrument. The smooth sound and unique timbre is a result of the instrument having few overtones which create a sonic purity that is the hallmark of the instrument.
About Kevin Cornwell, Musician