About Jamie Younkin
Jamie was in love with music long before the fifth grade, when her first trumpet became the focus of a lifetime dedication. She recalls sitting on a swing behind her family’s Wyoming home for hours in the summertime writing poems with secret melodies. The dance of words and images still inspires her musical imagination and she is especially influenced by the playful and ecstatic words of Sufi poet, Hafiz of Persia:
Let us be like
Two falling stars in the day sky.
Let no one know of our sublime beauty
As we hold hands with God
Into a sacred existence that defies—
Every description of ecstasy
—Hafiz (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)
Sunday morning there is starlight in the daytime sky. Two shooting stars sizzle in the sun, and kiss as they go by. Oh, where do they go? I think I know. There is a Song that sings itself to ashes and returns, and Sunday morning there is starlight when we hold hands and burn. The sun is a shadow, a sexy little lie. Mirror, mirror in the sky, she’s been stealing from our light! Oh, where do they go? I think I know. There is a Word that speaks itself in lovers eyes we learn, and Sunday morning there is starlight when we hold hands and burn.Jamie (Younkin) Gatchell (Lyrics to Sunday Starlight)
Born to the plains of Wyoming, Jamie’s musical tastes naturally began with deep roots in country music and popular song, but grew steadily to include classical music and jazz. She relates that, for many years during her childhood, the family stereo was in the barn rather than in the house. This was ostensively to accustom her sister’s 4-H steer to human sounds before the county fair, but from its humble locale, the barn stereo transformed Jamie’s life. Listening to prairie public radio while she cleaned horses’ stalls after school, she became entranced by the endlessly varied sounds of classical music. “Conducting” the stereo orchestra with a broken antenna she kept in her pocket, Jamie began to dream of a future saturated with sobbing violins and shimmering cymbals. After high school, Jamie earned a B.S. in Music Education from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, but she found that her degree, and her experience with the university’s monastic teachers only led her to more questions about the deeper meanings in music. The ancient melodies of Gregorian chant she heard at the University of Mary priory captivated her interest and, anxious to find answers in their sublime strains, she acquired an M.M. in musicology from Florida State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.
"She found the answer to her original question: the ultimate meaning in music is love."
The following decade of Jamie’s career was dedicated to teaching and inspiring college students. She traded her broken antenna for a real baton and conducted orchestras, bands and choirs. She set down her books and manuscripts to direct jazz big bands, and she delighted in the success of her students. But her questions never ceased, and the answers were neither to be found in books nor in classrooms. Sometimes, she thought they almost emerged in rehearsals, but they were only fleeting moments. In every instance, a voice was missing. Jamie’s search for the missing voice drives her performance and her composition. She is deeply grateful for the patience and inspiration of her teachers throughout the years and for the selfless love of her family and friends. From these people together she found the answer to her original question: the ultimate meaning in music is love.
My new CD, "Did It Anyway" has been released.
For more information, please go to my Music Page:
To book Jamie Younkin, please contact Elegy Artist Management.