Patrick Ki’s musical journey began in Hawaii where he spent his youth and developed his signature sound, encompassing the influence of that beautiful island. Like Ilchi Lee, Ki traveled far and wide until ultimately he too heeded his own Call of Sedona. Here this gifted guitarist and internationally acclaimed recording artist shares his impressions of the energy and the beauty that is Sedona.

Patrick Ki

LT: Pursuing your music set your journey in motion. Please tell us about that.

PK: Right after high school I was super serious about music and I left Hawaii and I went to California to attend a music school out there. I graduated and then got a scholarship to go all the way to Boston, to go to Berkelee. I finished up a Bachelor’s Degree in music there. After I graduated, I was successfully freelancing in a number of different bands and doing studio work. But I wasn’t happy with it as a place. Being from Hawaii, the winter weather was just unbelievably cold and long for me.

Also, I think the whole thing of living in a city, over time really began to wear on me, even though in a career sense I was doing really well. I was playing in one particular band with a Native American drummer who’s from a pretty well-known music family in the Southwest. He one year took his vacation in February. When he came back, he was showing me these pictures, and he had this unbelievable, incredible tan! I was so jealous because we’d had a long winter already. And he’s showing me these pictures of this place that he went to and I’d never seen anything like it! It was photos of Sedona, and it wasn’t even any of the red rocks, it was just him out on the land, in amongst the junipers and the pinons. Those trees and open space really struck me—really moved me. And I said, “I’ve got to check this out.”

LT: So, when did you come to Sedona?

PK: One winter, about a year later, in January 1987, I had just finally had enough, and I decided that I was going to go check out this place, and Arizona in general. So I loaded up my car and drove on out, like a Beverly Hillbilly. It was a pretty snowy winter with lots of snow the whole way. When I drove into Flagstaff it was late in the afternoon in the middle of a really big storm. I think they got like 17 inches of snow, and it was so bad they actually closed the canyon and 89A. I had to come down 179, through the Village of Oak Creek. By this time it was dark, and as I was driving, the clouds were so low to the ground that you couldn’t see any of the mountains at all. I’d never ever seen any pictures of the rocks, so I had no idea.

LT: Visitors often tell the story of arriving at night and “discovering” Sedona’s red rocks by the light of a new day!

PK: I’d got a recommendation to stay up at the Airport, on the Mesa, at Sky Ranch Lodge. Which, as it turned out, was a great place to be. It snowed most of the night and then cleared up, and the next morning there were blue skies. I walked out of my room and looked at the vista and thought, “Oh, my God!” All the rocks were out and they were snow covered. It was just unbelievable! You couldn’t be anymore awe inspired by your first real look at Sedona. That was my arrival here!

LT: Airport Mesa offers a stunning, panoramic look over the landscape of Sedona that Ilchi Lee speaks of in The Call of Sedona.

PK: Even if you have seen it in pictures, when you first get here and you really experience it, it’s amazing. Because it’s not only one view, it’s views from all around, in every direction that you look. I think that’s the thing that keeps me here: I don’t tire of the fact that everywhere, as you go about your daily business, you’re always looking at something really incredible. We’re all so lucky because this is all available to all of us every day!

LT: You have released nine recordings of your music and have become a mainstay of the Sedona music scene as resident musician of the famed Tlaquepaque de Sedona shopping destination. Did it all come together easily for you, as far as your music career here in Sedona?

PK: I was fortunate to find a place, and work, but it took me a long time to figure out, or accept that I think I was meant to live here. Shortly after I got here, I was very concerned that it might be, in terms of a music career, too small. I really thought I was going to move down to Tucson, which is larger than Sedona. I loaded up my car again and went to Tucson. But it just, unbelievably, didn’t work out for me. I couldn’t even find a place, which that blows my mind. A couple days later I came back up to Sedona, and I just realized that I think I’m meant to be here, for whatever the reason. And after that so many doors started opening up for me in terms of playing music, and also starting to meet real amazing and fantastic musicians who lived here at the time! Some of them are still my best friends.

LT: What are your favorite things about living here?

PK: For such a small town, Sedona has an amazing pool of talent, musical and other talent as well. For a town our size, I think it’s unbelievable. We have some really inspired and super talented musicians that live in this one place. Also, I’ve never lived in a place where all of the musicians are so connected as a supportive community. Every other place I’ve been there’s always been more of an element of competition. But here, there are so many wonderful people, not only wonderful musicians, but I think that they are wonderful as human beings too. I think that of the people that are called here and make the choice to live here, a lot of them are very outstanding and unique individuals in their own right. It is a very cool community in that regard.

Sedona’s not for everybody. If a person really is longing for the excitement and thrill of, for example, a lot of nightlife and club activity, or a lot of shopping, or if they need to be around throngs of people, and find that stimulating and exciting on a regular basis, it’s really not what we have here. And I think that, over time, that kind of “weeds out” a lot of people who find that it’s just a little too small and slow for them.

But if you are an individual who loves nature and wants to live in a super beautiful environment, and obviously there’s a spiritual aspect to living here that is undeniable, for anyone who’s open to it, there’s a certain vibe here and it’s a really inspiring place in so many ways. I think that those who do stay are a unique brand of person.

LT: You touched on the spiritual aspect of Sedona’s energy, please expand on your thoughts.

PK: I do think that there’s a very unique energy here that I think a lot of people who live here experience. It’s almost like there’s no way that you cannot have a more inward knowing of yourself, because we don’t have all the external distractions and luxuries and activities that so many people could use to just be on this treadmill of a much faster-paced life filled with all the trappings of society. We just don’t have that here, so it’s much more of a reflective place, much more about getting to know who you are, I think, and why you’re here. It really makes you question that! For example, if you think about your career, you don’t come here with a million career choices – you’ve got to figure out what it is that you’re really here for. What your purpose is. It makes you think about life in general and of course, spirituality and your place in the universe.

LT: Having lived in two amazing places on the planet, please tell us about the contrasts as well as the similarities, energetically speaking, between Hawaii and Sedona.

PK: Hawaii is an awesome place. I was surprised that so many people have this kind of comparison between Hawaii and Sedona. They are very different, obviously, Hawaii with the ocean and the tropical nature of it, and Sedona with the high desert and the mountains and the rocks, the beautiful clear air that we have here. I think that when I first got here, I was enjoying the contrast of something totally different than I ever thought I would experience. I never thought I would live in Arizona, or Sedona! Any part of it is unique, but Sedona’s so different that I was really enjoying the contrast between the two places. I’ve been here for almost 28 years now, and I still really enjoy that contrast.

Because all my family is from Hawaii, I travel there regularly every year. Ideally, I’d like to spend my time fluidly between the two places, because they are just so different. I don’t think you could ask for a fuller life, but I would still choose to be based here, and just be able to travel there.

It’s a very big world out there. There are a lot of energies of different places [to experience], but these two places in particular, knock me out! If I couldn’t do any more traveling and just went back and forth between the two, I don’t think I could be any happier than that!

LT: Thank you, Patrick!

By Lynn A. Trombetta