Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Touring Poll and Career Day

A touring poll has been set up on my page to see where people would like to see me perform throughout the country. It will be fun to see the results. We're currently targeting Chicago and Seattle to start with and I hope to perform in both of those regions in the fall of this year. If I start to worry about how I will be able to manage all of this I drive myself crazy. So I am practicing trust in the Universe. I am trying to believe that if it is meant to happen--and I truly believe it is--then the opportunities will present themselves at the right time.

Tomorrow I go back to my old high school, Willow Glen High, and sit on a panel for career day. I am excited to have been asked to participate in their career day. I'm sure some of the kids' parents will hate me, but I am going to urge those kids to follow their dreams, because no matter what path it takes them down, they will be pursuing something that truly makes them passionate and happy and creative. Will it make them a lot of money? Who knows? But how would you ever know if you weren't willing to take the chance to find out! I am a true believer that if you hear a calling you should follow it. That's not to say that the calling might change over time but at least you are listening to your gut, your heart, whatever you want to call it. It took me so long to be able to have this chance of listening to my heart and I am so happy I was able to finally HEAR it--and heed it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sonoma wine and Jazz Festival

Yesterday I performed at the Sonoma Wine and Jazz Festival. I had my regular guys back playing with me again--Murray Low on piano, Peter Barshay on bass, Melecio Magdaluyo on wind instruments and Paul van Wageningen on drums. The band, as always, played phenomenally well and made the day a complete blast for me. And my voice was in good form, which always makes me very happy! The crowd, and I mean CROWD, was very attentive and appreciative of what we were playing. I always wonder if my singing in foreign languages will be a deterrant to the average american crowd, but that hasn't seemed to be the case. People really seem to respond to the music--and my voice--without necessarily understanding what I'm saying. I'm not sure how the rest of the country will react to my styles of music--and languages--but people in the Bay Area seem to be open to different musics of the world and I totally appreciate that. I sold a bunch of CDs which will greatly help in the costs of studio time.

I also met Larry Vucovich yesterday. What a sweet man--and an amazingly talented pianist. He really seems to love what he's doing. The fact that he has been a full-time musician for over forty years and still obviously has a good time perfoming is quite an inspiration to me. I want to be singing and performing until the day I die. I can't imagine a better way to spend the rest of my days. I know that when I am performing I am at my happiest. And when I have an audience that is responding to my music I think I've reached some level of nirvana! Yesterday was one of those days.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I'm a few weeks away from going back into the studio to record my next CD, Azucar de Amor. There is so much that has to be organized and prepared for that at times it can become overwhelming. But the support that I have from the musicians that will be performing on this CD is incredible. I am so very blessed to be able to record with the creme de la creme of the Bay Area as well as some very well known latin jazz musicians that will be flying in from different parts of the country. I am confident this CD is going to be just as good, if not better, than Birds in Flight. I have been listening to the songs that I chose and hearing them in the order that I think will work best for the CD and it feels good, sounds good and I am getting excited. Wayne Wallace has been such a great source of inspiration and guidance through both of these projects. We work so well together and have created some really nice songs. It's always fun to have an idea, create lyrics and a melody and then take the song to a master like Wayne who will help shape it and mold it into a work of art. This is how three of my original songs were developed for this project.

Today I go down to the school where I teach 2-4 grades and say goodbye to the students for the summer. We did our end of year concert last night and they were fantastic. I am so proud of all of them. I am actually going to miss them! But it will be fun to return next year to see how they have all grown. It feels good to be able to contribute something to the community, helping to enrich the lives of children who would otherwise not be exposed to these sorts of things.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Staying Productive

Working from home can be quite a challenge for me. It's hard at times to stay focussed and assure that I stay productive. I'm so used to having someone else telling me what needs to get done where my job is concerned. Now it's up to me to determine what takes priority each day and how to assure that those things get accomplished. I've started making lists for myself at the beginning of each day to help me determine what I need to do to feel as though I'm not wasting time. Sometimes that works and other days I wonder where all the time went. I also get worried that I'm not moving forward in a way that will earn me a decent living. The last thing I want is to have to go back into corporate america and sit in a cube, listening to people complain about how much they hate their jobs. That should be motivation enough to stay focussed on the goals I have set for myself!!

Last night I was interviewed by Frankye Kelly on her TV show, Jazz with Frankye. It will air in a couple of weeks on the Comcast channel--Sunday 12:30-1pm. It was fun meeting Frankye. She is a really nice and beautiful woman who features local artists on her show. Herman Bosset was kind enough to set up the interview for me. He is such a sweet man! So we talked about the CD and the music. Some of my live performances will be shown on the show as well. This was the first time I've been interviewed on TV. I've done a lot of radio interviews now and feel very comfortable with that. This was a bit of a different beast, being in front of 3 cameras and lots of light. I think it went well, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing the end result. Life is good. :)

Sunday, May 20, 2007


For me spirituality is a deeply personal experience that is between me and the Higher Power, whatever that may be. It is fascinating to me that as I get older I become more interested and curious about my Jewish heritage. Now that is not to say that I have become a religious zealot, but I have found a need to explore my roots and the culture of the Jewish people. This is what has drawn me, in part, to studying and performing Sephardic music. Not only is the music rich in tradition and history, but also rich in its melodic structure and blending of worlds. Maybe it can even be said--very loosely--that Sephardic music was the beginning of world music, since it combined styles of the Muslims and of the Jews and then later of the different countries where the Sephardim were displaced. The more I study Sephardic music and its origins, the more fascinated I become with the world as it was, the sharing of ideas, of music, of traditions. This is not to say that the "Golden Age" of Spain was all attar and roses, but it definitely shows worlds colliding together to create a body of rich artistry.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Music, Music, Music

I just got back from a drum/percussion clinic led by both Michael Spiro and Phil Hawkins. Being a closet percussionist, I am constantly trying to find ways to improve my skills and who better to learn from than Michael Spiro? He is such an unsung hero in these parts, so knowledgable, so talented and so engaging in his teaching style. It makes me feel as though I need to take some really serious formal training to hone my skills as a hand percussionist. I know better than to think I can dedicate the time to playing congas (which I absolutely love), but I know I can take the time to improve my skills and knowledge with the instruments I can play on stage--maracas, guiro, clave--especially clave, etc. All of this would no doubt improve my singing as well, both rhythmically and stylistically. the thing I DO feel confident about is that I have excellent rhythm and this helps me in my improvisations. Now, along with the hand percussion, I want to improve my skills as a sonera. I want and need to learn to have the confidence to improvise in Spanish with my inspiraciones. I've been listening a lot lately to Maraca, Los Van Van, Cubanismo, Ray Barreto, etc and how their soneros just take over with pure and complete confidence. It's really not about my knowledge of the music so much as it is about feeling strong in my convictions with what I have to say, and being able to say it in rapid fire form! I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I've also already done a lot of work and the foundation has been well established to be built upon. I'll be the Sara Winchester of soneros!! Building my chops more and more with each day that passes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Making a Connection

This blogging thing has me baffled. How do you know if anyone is reading? If anyone is interested in what you have to say? My goal is to connect with people from all over the world and hear their stories. How are you coping as a single parent? An empty nester? Someone who has recently "launched" themselves into the kind of life they have always desired?

I am trying desperately to "launch" myself in a way where I can support myself both financially and emotionally. I try everyday to be productive, but I'm not always successful. I am easily distracted and sometimes have a hard time staying focused. What I want to do is develop a vocal masters class that I can take with me when I go on tour. It would be so wonderful to share what I have learned with other aspiring singers. My musical director Murray Low also has developed a really interesting masters class on the differences and similarities between jazz and latin jazz music. We have done the class together to demonstrate the different phrasings that are required to properly sing each style. It's fun and educational all at the same time.

If I could get a teaching gig like this at different locales across the country then I could book gigs in those same towns and finally have my opportunity to tour. That is my goal right now--get out on the road as soon as I possibly can. What is your goal?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Media Guide and Radio DJs

So I was just sent the Media Guide report for the months of April and May and see that the DJs around the country are still supporting my music--months after my radio campaign has ended. This makes me feel so GOOD and honored that my music is somehow reaching people's hearts in a way I never expected. I had only hoped that people would be able to hear the passion, emotion and soul that I feel when I sing my music. Apparently that dream has come true!! :) Now it's time to take this show on the road. That's the biggest challenge right there--how to afford to tour. But somehow I've GOT to find a way to bring my music to the places that have been supporting me so much. It is another way that I can reach out to my fans--and of course make new ones. And the opportunity to perform in places around the country is so exciting to me. Having the chance to meet people face to face to thank them for their support would be another dream come true.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wow!! I'm a Blogger Now!

Hi there and welcome to my blog. I've been thinking about doing this for awhile but just never got around to it. Now it's time to see if anyone out there is interested in the things I have to say! I'm now a full-time musician who is also experiencing empty nest syndrome for the first time in my life. I successfully raised two amazing "men" on my own and now find myself living alone and trying to reinvent myself in the image I used to only dream about. Yes, I waited to pursue my passion of music until my children were old enough to make it on their own. So, I guess you might call me a late bloomer, but in my mind that allows me to bring that much more depth, emotion and experiences to my music, as well as my everday existence. I would like to know who else out there has taken their own personal "leap of faith" and who is considering this kind of risk in their life. Maybe we can all be a support to one another and find a way to virtually aid in each of our selected successes. I look forward to the beginning of some interesting conversations. Until next time...