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Album Review: Peace in Our Hearts
Diane Wheeler Dunn
Cover image of the album Peace in Our Hearts by Diane Wheeler Dunn
Peace in Our Hearts
Diane Wheeler Dunn
2022 / Diane Wheeler Dunn
51 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Peace in Our Hearts is the second full-length album from Native American-style flutist and composer Diane Wheeler Dunn. Her 2021 debut album, Quiet Beauty, was named "Best Flute Album" by the One World Music Radio awards for that year, and she has also released several singles, one of which is included on this album. Instrumentation on the ten original tracks includes a variety of flutes and a combination of ambient pads, grand piano, guitars, dulcimer, bass, cello, harp and drums. In addition to writing music and playing flutes, Diane's artistry extends to songwriting, producing, photography, watercolor painting and avid gardening. Quoting Diane: "Flutes, flowers, photography and philosophy! These are what I am about, what I spend time with at this stage of my life.... My purpose is to create beauty." The philosophy that Diane studies and follows is eco-spirituality in the Teilhard De Chardin and Thomas Berry tradition, with some Contemplative and Celtic Spirituality mixed in. "They are all interwoven to create music, art and relationships with others, including our creature and plant kin."

Peace in Our Hearts begins with "Petunias are Stars," a piece inspired by a photo Diane took of deep purple star-shaped petunias. In new age folklore, it is believed that petunias will only thrive where there is positive energy, and the Maya and Inca traditions believed that their scent would ward off monsters and evil spirits. Flute, congas, acoustic steel guitar, and ambient pads cast a hypnotic spell that will draw you into the music and invite you to stay for more! "Imaginal Realm" is where the inner and outer worlds meet and its energy can change the course of events in the world - it is "perhaps the dream of peace in the universe." Flutes, piano, and ambient pads take us to a quiet, soothing place where anything is possible. "Follow the Sun" is an ode to the sunflower, a symbol of peace, and expresses how enjoying life is one of the results of a peaceful world. Guitar, dulcimer, flutes and ambient pads create a light-hearted warmth to breathe in and savor. The title track expresses that "peace is a choice, an intention, an action" and that "we can be just as dramatic in our peace as we are in our struggles." A combination of flutes and ambient pad paint a shimmering picture of beauty and tranquility. "Be the Flame" mixes cello, flute, harp and jazz guitar and is an invitation to act toward generating peace in our world. A profound sadness seems to run through this haunting piece, urging us to move forward and be our best selves. "Mystery in the Mist" was released as a single in late 2021 and was named the "Best Flute Single" in the One World Music Radio awards for that year. Quoting my review of the single: "...atmospheric keyboard washes and ambient pads behind the Native American style flute combine to give the feeling of a chilly, foggy night on the beach where no shapes are defined and a profound feeling of solitude envelops you in much the same way the fog and mist do – an experience that is both beautiful and a little bit unsettling." I love this very evocative piece! The album comes to quiet close with "Pause for Peace," played with flutes, grand piano and ambient pads and leaving the listener gently refreshed and relaxed.

Peace in Our Hearts is a heartfelt gift in this very difficult time for our world and its creatures. It is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Very beautifully done!
October 3, 2022