Monday, October 29, 2007

Beautiful, Strong Women

I spent the weekend at a workshop in Santa Cruz run by Cynthis Tsai. The workshop was about empowering women to find their inner core and to go out into the world and live authentically. Okay, so maybe this sounds a bit woo, woo, but it turned out to be quite an inspiring and powerful weekend. Cynthia did a great job of presenting her material--she was engaging, real and interesting to listen to. And it was a great group of strong, intelligent, yet sensitive women. It is always interesting for me to go into a new environment not knowing anyone only to discover that I have so much in common with so many of them. I met some amazing women this weekend who showed me I am not alone in my quest for love, understanding and respect. I thrive off of interactions such as these--they inspire me to stay on my path and continue the growth I have been experiencing over these past few years.

Maybe taking these workshops is a form of mid-life crisis!! I find there are a lot of women my age who are in seek mode, trying to make sense of who they are in a creative world and how to express that authentically. It is definitely pushing me into the idea of running some Expressive Arts workshops to help these women tap into their deepest creativity. I need to stop talking about it and DO it. I have a strong sense that these workshops would be very well received--especially after what I experienced this weekend.

Azucar de Amor, my next CD, is being shipped off to Disc Makers today to start the manufacturing process. The photos are beautiful, the music, I must say, is exciting and vibrant, and it is time to release this project to the world! By the time I am back from Brazil in early December, the CDs should be ready. I can't wait!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Patois Artist Showcase

Last night Wayne Wallace, Alexa Weber Morales and I all performed in the Patois Artist Showcase. This was kind of a coming out party for Wayne's new record label in which all three of us are signed and a part of. We all used the same core group of musicians: Murray Low: piano, Masaru Koga: flute/soprano sax, David Belove: bass, Michael Spiro: percussion and Paul van Wageningen: drums. Okay, so just that is smokin' in and of itself. But then to have this group of musicians all playing on one stage and then to be a part of that line-up is pretty phenomenal and thrilling. Alexa went first and did a great job presenting her material. She has a beautiful and clarion voice that is both captivating and sensual. And then I did my set and it felt good!! The band was smoking hot and I felt in really good voice. I had so much fun performing the songs off of both Birds in Flight and my upcoming CD, Azucar de Amor. And if that wasn't enough, Wayne did his set and it was of course stellar. He's got such a raw and powerful command of his trombone that one can't help but be drawn deep into the soul of the music he presents. And Masaru played a solo on his soprano sax that had the audience going completely wild. It was as if he gathered all the spirits into his body and then let them all speak their mind!! It was truly amazing and had me on the edge of my seat! What a fun and inspiring night. I always feel so honored to have the opportunity to perform with these guys. They definitely lift me to higher levels each time I get on stage with them. It's so nice to be able to trust the musicians so much that you can feel comfortable trying new things, knowing that they will be there to support you every step of the way.

So not only are the tickets booked for the trip to Brazil, but I just found out that I am booked for a gig in Chicago in February. I'm so excited to get to go to Chicago. I've never been before and to get to perform in such an amazing jazz hub is truly a thrill. Murray will be traveling with me on both of these trips. Now I've got to find a bass player and a drummer for the Chicago gig(s). This is the kind of "problem" I don't mind having!! The other cool thing is that Kate Smith, my radio promoter, is in Chicago and so we'll have a place to stay when we go there.

Life is good. I think I'm still on a high from last night--and I hope it continues throughout the day!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Moving Forward

The gig on Saturday at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City was a really nice event. We performed in the lobby of the center, which created a bit of a challenge for sound due to high ceilings and lots of glass. Nevertheless, the audience really seemed to enjoy the music and some responded in spontaneous bursts of dancing. It was a predominantly older crowd with a smattering of young people. I like the fact that my music can appeal to a wide range of people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. I had worried that some folks would feel ostracized by the fact they might not be able to understand the different languages in which I sing. But the message thankfully comes through, despite the lack of language comprehension. For this I am grateful and feel my goal is being met in this instance. And besides, I try my best to tell the stories the songs are attempting to convey. I'm sure this helps....

I received the nicest e-mail from Gary Mankin this morning about my new CD, Azucar de Amor. I hope he doesn't mind my quoting some of it here, but I was so touched by his words I am compelled to share them with everyone:
"kat, i am REALLY PROUD of this cd. i think it is great on LOTS of levels. i hope you appreciate how good it is, and that you are as proud as i am. it's a great record. now all you have to do is release it to the world and let them beat a breathless path to your door. thanks for letting me be a part of it." Gary Mankin

It is I who am truly thankful and honored to be able to work with such talents as Gary and Wayne Wallace and Murray Low and all of the other amazing musicians in the SF Bay Area. They inspire me to reach for new levels all the time. I am encouraged and motivated to constantly grow as both a musician and as a person by being able to work with such amazing talents.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Back to Reality

Wow! I'm just back from doing the Leukemia Society Team-in-Training hike in Kauai and what an amazing weekend!! The hike was awesome, breathtaking, transcendental, etc. There really are no words to describe the kind of beauty Kauai holds--and rightfully so. It is the kind of experience that just needs to be appreciated with a deep sense of calm and quiet in order to "hear" the essence of the beauty the island holds. I am always amazed and in awe of how the locals live, breathe and respect their land and sea. We had a fantastic guide--Tano--who was very knowledgable about the flora and fauna and had many wonderfully entertaining stories to tell during the 10 mile hike along the Na Pail coast. We had a fantastic group (11 in all) and the hike was just at the level I was hoping it would be--not too difficult but challenging enough. I even tattooed my butt with a fall in the mud of the famous red dirt of Kauai!!

It is always such a treat to me to travel far distances and encounter people with whom I can deeply connect. It goes to show that this world really is not so big after all. I love engaging new people in conversation and finding out about their lives only to realize we share a common thread of hope and passion and enthusiasm for life. When I meet people that spark me like that I am infused with a kind of energy that is equal to nothing else. The only problem is when I meet people like that I want to remain and enjoy the kindred connection longer.

But alas!! There is the responsibilty of life and work and paying the bills!! Damn. Sometimes I just want to be reckless and irresponsible and say to hell with everything. But not this time. I considered extending my stay for a bit longer, but knew that my students are waiting for me and I have a gig tomorrow night. But one of these days, I just want to pack up my things and go off for at least a month and just be impulsive and carefree. :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Photo Shoot

Yesterday we went out to a beautiful, yet very windy, spot to shoot the photos that will go on the CD. Michelle Longosz ( is the woman I chose to take my photos and I think she did a great job. She made me feel really comfortable and got me laughing and relaxed with little effort. The location was perfect and the day bright and sunny. I think/hope/pray the photos will be perfect for the CD cover and other promo materials I need. I think they will be pretty wild since my hair was blowing all over the place along with my dress (which actually blew up over my head a couple of times!!)

I have much more respect for what models--and photographers--need to go through to get good images. First I went to the Mac Cosmetics store to have my makeup done. That took more than an hour to achieve, but Jesús (my saviour!!) did a fantastic job and made me look amazing. Then it was quickly changing into my new fabulous dress and driving over to the photo location. Then, after getting into my high heels, Michelle had me standing on a hill overlooking the landscape. Now this all sounds nice except that I am in heels standing on a pretty steep incline of soft soil where my heels are sinking in and I am on the brink of falling everytime the wind blows!! She had me standing on this hill for so long that my feet started getting numb. And then the wind turned cold and my hair is blowing all over my face and goosebumps are forming on my arms and Michelle's arms are getting tired from so much shooting. Whew! But it was fun and I'm pretty confident she got some amazing shots. I'm crossing my fingers now. :)

On Thursday I leave for Kauai, Hawaii to go and do the endurance hike I've been training for for 3 months. I'm definitely ready. We did a nine hour hike a couple of weeks ago and I survived just fine. Tonight I'll find out if I get to hike the Na Pail Coast or not. I'll be really disappointed if I don't get to hike it. That's a big reason why I got involved in this hike to begin with. Of course then it evolved into how much I was helping people in need through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'm really proud of myself for having reached my goal of raising $4800. I really questioned whether I would be able to achieve that, but I did. Yeah!! I only get to be in Hawaii for 4 days because of my crazy schedule, but 4 days is better than no days at all. It will be fun and hopefully somewhat relaxing. I'll do a post with pictures after I return.