Why Is The World So Beautiful?




Salmon poster


If you’d like to listen to song samples and/or purchase a copy of this CD or MP3’s please visit:
itunes store (search ‘Kris & Lark’ or ‘The Ballad of the Salmon People’)

“…about the salmon song! It is perfect in so many ways!!!  Playful, but also so profoundly relevant right now…. [it] touches the whole experience of communicating with other than human people and beings.... — Karen McCombe

Kris & Lark communicate the significance of bio and cultural diversity through a colorful and informative, story-telling style of presentation. This unique music with its bold sensual rhythms, harmonized lyrics, rap, and trombone solos and harmonies, is feel-good stuff. itunes categorizes The Ballad of the Salmon People as “Alternative Folk.”

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“Why is the world so beautiful?” This is a question Robin Wall Kimmerer pursues as a botanist and also as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She writes, “Science polishes the gift of seeing, indigenous traditions work with gifts of listening and language.”  —Ms. Krista Tippett, host of the blog, On Being.

“I can’t think of a single scientific study in the last few decades that has demonstrated that plants or animals are dumber than we think. It’s always the opposite, right? What we’re revealing is the fact that they have a capacity to learn, to have memory, and we’re at the edge of a wonderful revolution in really understanding the sentience of other beings.”
—Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer


As human beings we often have trouble communicating with other human beings who don’t speak our language. We also have a great deal of trouble understanding that just because animals and plants don’t speak English, or French or Chinese, etc., they don’t have the same sensibilities that we have.

I remember sitting on the shores of Black Rock Lake in the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness of Northern California. Kris began to play his bamboo flute and within minutes we were rewarded by seeing many fish swimming close to us in the water to hear the music.

We’ve had other experiences too. On one of our first backpacking trips together in the Trinity Alps area, when Kris played his flute, we were astonished to see a mink pop up out of the water to listen.  Also on the same trip, a Doe came wandering into our camp, not realizing we were there. When she saw us and began to panic, Kris’ flute calmed her and let her know that everything was ok. She stayed for a moment before moving on at a relaxed pace.

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It reminds me of a story I read many years ago in The Shaman’s Drum magazine (now online only: Sorry, we haven’t been able to track down the Issue date.

Once upon a time…

a man named John Beal, a Vietnam Vet, had a burning desire to repair some of the damage done in that war by the use of the chemical, Agent Orange. He couldn’t go back to Vietnam so he proceeded instead, to work on cleaning up polluted, trashed out Ham Creek in Washington State.

As the story goes, the locals considered it an impossible task and gave him a very bad time as he hauled up old stoves and junk and cleared toxic chemicals out of the water. But he ignored their flack (pun intended!) and did in fact succeed in cleaning up the Creek. He waited for the Salmon to return but few came.

After a while, as John Beal put it, “A Choctaw Gentleman” approached him saying that he’d heard of Beal’s desire to bring the Salmon back to spawn in Hamm Creek and would like to help. Beal accepted. The Choctaw Gentleman’s method was to first go to the Ocean at the estuary of the Duwamish River where Hamm Creek and other tributaries emptied. He brought a drum and began drumming.

Beal was somewhat dubious but stayed with the program anyway. Before long, they began to see dorsal fins of Salmon slicing energetically through the water in their direction. The Choctaw Gentleman continued to drum and began and walking upstream. The Salmon followed!

Incredulous, Beal followed too. He said that as long as the drumming happened the Salmon continued to swim alongside them and when the drumming stopped, the Salmon also took a rest.

By the second day of the adventure, John too had gotten himself a drum and joined in. The Salmon followed them and their drumming all the way to Hamm Creek. At that point, the Choctaw Gentleman stopped drumming and took out a beautiful hand made flute which he explained (if we recall correctly) had been in his family for a hundred and fifty years. He began to play it. He explained that this is what his People had done for generations to bring the Salmon.

Apparently Salmon usually spawn at night; however, in this case they began to spawn in the now clean Creek in broad daylight!

LATER… when the fish had hatched, John, brought a Fish & Wildlife agent to inspect the Creek. Their conversation went something like this:

John: “What do you think?”

F&W Agent: “Well, John, I’d say you’ve got about a million Salmon in that ditch!”

John: “Excuse me, Sir, but wouldn’t you say it’s not a ditch anymore?”


So the song, The Ballad of the Salmon People, is not about a farmed Salmon. It’s an intentional visualization, if you will, for the Salmon People to be able to continue to return, wild and free to their native spawning grounds, assisted, appreciated — and respected — by all of us.

And for the Nature Lover in you, the rest of the songs on this album also reflect the beauty of Nature, composed with the idea in mind that we can do our part to increase its beauty and sustainability and make us all —All of Our Relations— that much happier!


If you’d like to listen to song samples and/or purchase a copy of this CD or MP3’s please visit:
itunes store (search ‘Kris & Lark’ or ‘The Ballad of the Salmon People’)

SPECIAL THANKS to Fabric Artist, Evelyn Roth for suggesting the theme for The Ballad of the Salmon People way back in 1998!

And SPECIAL THANKS also to very Fine Artist, Marilyn Atkey — — for the CD cover painting, The Life Cycle of the Salmon.

“Her love of nature and animals has fueled her passion for artistic expression.”

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“We have received your new CD and want to thank you.  We love it!  I forgot what a beautiful voice you have. Just so you know, I don't think you sound like anyone.  You are just your own amazing artists.  But for the sake of the request I suggest Angus & Julia Stone.  I think people who enjoy them will enjoy you.”
Melissa Matthews, British Columbia

“Thank you Lark & Kris for your inspiring, beautiful music! With much appreciation…"
Karen McCombe, New York

"The cord that THE BALLAD strikes in my heart is one of music that brings out a deep sense of community, people saying: Hey, this is us. …. The human spirit that will never be snuffed out – no matter the adversary."                                                    Samm Musoke, Nova Scotia

"I fell in love with Lark and Kris’s music the first time I heard it. It has an uplifting, inspiring quality which as a musician and songwriter I appreciate. Subsequently after my grandson was born I started playing him songs and he loved them. We had many a good time dancing to songs and once he was walking and talking he would request the music again and again and loves to dance and/or drum along. Thank you Lark and Kris for your gift of music to the world."                                    Suzanne Lichau, Oregon

"Dear Lark and Kris,
I'm writing on behalf of the South Fraser Gogos ( to thank you so much for your fantastic contribution to our Potluck Evening. You made the Grandmothers welcome quite spectacular and one I'm sure they will remember.

Everyone enjoyed the rest of your music and singing and seeing everyone up dancing is a sight I'll always remember. Wishing you all the very best,                       Jesse Pringle, Go Go Grannies Co-coordinator, British Columbia

"Kuimba weaves a magical spell with their enchanting melodies, mesmerizing harmonies, and penetrating lyrics. The music is at once universal and uniquely personal . . . the musicians share themselves with their audiences in an intimate and moving manner."                                       Julia J. Heydon, PhD. Music, Former Music Director, Oregon Shakespearean Festival