One Note Is Mine

A Music Video Celebrating My Beloved Brother Philip John Serrano

“One Note Is Mine” is a music video celebrating the life of my beloved brother Philip John Serrano (May 23, 1945 – January 11, 2017.) The video is created by Paul Richards with the generous donation of photos by our family and Philip’s music buddies.  The songs, lyrics and music (from his CD By Word of Song) are composed by Philip John Serrano, over an active musical life and show the depth of his lyrical and musical skills. The title of the video is from Phil’s songs in “The Chicken Made of Rags.”

Life is just a melody
Harmony and rhyme
The Universe a symphony
One note is mine

For me, Philip Serrano has always been my baby brother. Yes, even when he passed at age 72. It just wasn’t long enough for me. He wrote the music and song lyrics for all my plays and accompanied me on guitar at my countless poetry readings. All our conversations related back to our artistic lives and work, as well as our on-going lifetime conversation about the the big questions like the nature and definition of God and the Universe. We tried to define God. He often held to the concept of “Father/Mother/God.” I tended to favor “the creative power of the universe.” Our discussions never got old. As we traveled through life’s stages, our ideas varied.He loved the guitar, playing it for hours, performing with it in bands, and composing new songs on it. Collecting and customizing guitars was Philip’s side passion. He left us with four recorded albums: The Story of the Chicken Made of Rags, By Word of Song (used in the video), as well as Crumbs of Comfort, vols 1 and 2. All are available on Round Whirled Records.

He kept his connections alive to his much loved sons, Philip and Marc from his first marriage. One of his greatest delights was his daughter, Isabella, from his second marriage to Elizabeth Hickey Serrano. He was thrilled that Isabella followed the path of the arts, our family heritage. Our father was a full time freelance cartoonist, risking economic security for the sake of his art.

Philip took the path of the “day job” with a steady paycheck from Arden Wood, serving the needs of the elderly for 35 years by keeping the beautiful 6 acre grounds of the San Francisco senior residence with its gracious buildings in pristine condition, until his recent retirement. Music dominated everything including bringing his guitar to work and filling the residents lives with his songs and sunshine smile.

Since the Kennedy assassinations in the 1960s, he refused to accept at face value what are now called “alternative facts.” He questioned and studied the many findings on the Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X assassinations as well as the more recent 9/11 events.

But through the ups downs of 72 years of life, Philip wrote songs; so many are autobiographical. You can see, for example, in the video the links between his lyrics in his songs and in his life as shown in the photos.

Philip believed in Eternal Life and through his songs and decedents, he has achieved it.


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About Nina Serrano

Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to or contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.


One Note Is Mine — 4 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing such a loving musical remembrance of your brother.

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