Feathers and String – Back Story

It all started with Dr Jaz Roemer and Leonardo da Vinci

Dr. Jaz

Jacintha Roemer, better known as Dr. Jaz is a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Chi Nei Tsang and Qigong. We were fortunate to have her visit us for a few days in Italy in 2019. We had a delightful time both in the quiet countryside and in the magnificent center of Florence. On her last day, we decided to go see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit that had just opened at Santa Maria Novella cathedral in the heart of Florence. The show was outstanding and triggered a string of comments, questions and musings about the genius of Leonardo and his diverse interests. Then, we began connecting the dots to eastern philosophy, Chinese Medicine, Taoism, Qigong and other great teachings and traditions. Needless to say, it was an informative and inspiring way to wrap-up her wonderful visit.

Some months later, Em was following up with Dr. Jaz, doing Chi Nei Tsang, and the conversation came back around to ancient Taoism—specifically Qigong. That led to an introduction into the Chinese meditation practice called the “Inner Smile.” Em was enthusiastic about the long term health benefits and began incorporating it into his daily routine.

Months later, as we were well into the worst of the 2020 pandemic, Cheryl and Em were hunkered down at home working on some new music, when the question came up about the “Inner Smile” practice. We began wondering about how the external expression of the inner smile would look and how a person’s comportment would possibly shift once the practice became fully integrated. That idea immediately conjured up images of Paris, the Louvre and of course, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. THAT’S IT! We exclaimed as we imagined the smile that’s almost not a smile – that compelling face and expression that hints of undisclosed secrets. We were swept away with the inspiration of it all.


Only days later, our musical story was complete and we were in the midst of recording. The title is a nod to Leonardo’s famous flying machine where we imagine an early model made of feathers and string. Now that our musical process is finished and the Taoist practice continues, Em is finding that his resting expression hasn’t exactly turned into Mona Lisa’s “smile but not a smile” yet. There’s also nothing hinting at a hidden secret within! However, Em is beginning to slightly resemble Leonardo, especially around the mouth. Or maybe it’s the eyes. Not quite the result he was expecting. Oh well, practice makes perfect!