Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The house is quiet again. Kate Smith, my friend Deliane and my son Pat were all at the house over the weekend to help celebrate the CD release concert. It was a weekend filled with music, planning, organizing, a little stress and a lot of fun! The concert was a great success. The musicians all were as amazing as I had hoped they'd be and my voice and spirit were in good form. I was very pleased with how things turned out. there were a lot of people who had never come to hear me perform that day and Juan Flores, a DJ from Houston, was even in the audience. He was so excited to be able to see so many of his favorite Bay Area musicians all on one stage performing together!

After so much planning for such a big event I must admit it's a bit of a letdown after it is all over. I kind of went into a daze after the concert and needed a day to recuperate from all the energy needed to pull it off successfully. But now that the fog has cleared, I can proudly stand tall and be happy with the outcome and the body of work that I have developed over the past couple of years. In such a short time I have come a long way. Now that's not to say I don't have a long way to go yet, because I know there is SO MUCH more to learn, but if I stop for just a minute, I appreciate all that I have been able to accomplish since making the decision to be a full-time musician.

Now I've got to start planning my trips to Mexico, PerĂº and Argentina. Mexico is a for sure thing, now I've just got to make sure I can make PerĂº and Argentina happen as well...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Readying for the CD Release Celebration

Yes, it will be a celebration as well as a kick-butt concert!! 14 musicians on one stage! It's going to be a true grandiose production that will allow me to honor the musicians and their talented contributions to Azucar de Amor. Yesterday I was interviewed by Jesse "Chuy" Varela on KCSM 91.1. I think the interview went very well and the feedback I received from friends and family afterwards was very positive. I love interviewing with Chuy because of how incredibly personable he is and so very supportive of the musicians of the Bay Area and beyond. He is so great to talk to because he encourages me to keep moving forward with this dream.

Today I will be interviewing with Brad Stone at KSJS in San Jose. Hopefully this will also get more exposure for the upcoming concert. I'm hoping to sell it out. This is going to be such a fantastic show with so many of the Bay Area's most talented musicians supporting me on that day: Wayne Wallace, John Santos, Michael Spiro, Paul van Wageningen, Peter Barshay, Masaru Koga and on and on and on!!

I'm starting to get really excited about the concert and all that will be leading up to it. Kate Smith is flying in from Chicago and a few other friends are flying in from different parts of the country to come and celebrate this concert with me. Now I've just got to organize everything so it all runs smoothly and so I won't have to stress on the day of the concert. This will be on top of teaching this week, rehearsing and doing another gig in Pacifica before the big concert. Life is busy, but so incredibly exciting right now. I am completely convinced that if I maintain a positive outlook on life, opportunities and good positive occurrences come my way. It's all about trusting in the universe and believing that I am following the right path for me!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Brand New Week!

After a week off from teaching I am ready to jump back in and get things rolling with my students again. I am preparing them for the end of year concert and I'm really hoping we can pull it off. I know they've got the talent I'm just hoping they have the "ganas" to work hard on making this a success. I think we can do it and I'm pretty confident they will do a great job when the time comes. The biggest challenge is the STAR testing that is coming up and how much time it will take away from their music classes. Somehow we'll just have to make it work!

When I am feeling down, depressed, frustrated and unsure of myself, I am reminded that there are many people in my life who are there to support me and lift me back up. I performed an in store concert at Down Home Music in Berkeley on Saturday. It was a fun event and the music was very well received. People walking by on the street stopped and hung out to listen. Jovino Santos Neto just happened to be hanging out there at the time (big surprise!!) and so sat in with us for the first song. The whole idea of doing the in store concert was to promote the new CD and sell lots of copies. But that isn't what happened! Not one person bought one CD!! I couldn't believe it. Is it a sign of the times? Should I take it personally? I did take it personally!! But then I got an e-mail from my good friend Ray Vega and I began to feel so much better. This is what he wrote to me:

"don't worry about them buying the CD's in the store...they'll buy them when they come to see you at a club, etc...don't let it get to you....your game is way above that small stuff.

If I haven't told you, your CD has wonderful energy.....sit back, relax and breathe.........things will come together without you getting anxious.....let them figure it out.
Your art is documented.
let it go where it will."

Thanks Ray. This is what I need from time to time to center myself--I just have to remind myself that the universe will take care of me and that I MUST trust that or I'll make myself crazy. It's people like Ray Vega and Jovino Santos Neto--two amazingly talented and well-established musicians--that help put it all back into perspective for me. I am truly blessed to have people like that in my life!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Day in the Life

Some days I struggle to find my place in this crazy world. Not only with the music but in the world in general. What do I bring to the table? What do I contribute to help improve the planet? What can I do everyday to feel that I am a part of a the bigger picture? Of course I could find little details that I could justify as being a contribution to this earth, but it never quite feels like enough. So what to do? I try to live a healthy life and treat everyone with the kind of respect I want to be treated with. I recycle! and I drive a hybrid. But I want to give something more of myself. I like to think that my music is helping to send a message out into the universe of unity and peace--and I hope in it's little way it does. I would love to more involved with concerts that are for good causes and I definitely need to look more into things like that.

Since I'm not teaching this week I think I just have too much time to think about things! I am trying to organize my upcoming CD release concert and looking into ways to go out into the world to research Sephardic music. I was in contact with Dr. Judith R. Cohen--the authority on Sephardic music--and she basically told me that the majority of authentic resources of the music are either getting too old or are already dead. How sad to think that the music might die. I can't let that happen and really want to continue on this quest of keeping not only the music alive, but the language as well. I do have a couple of resources here in the Bay Area and I need to tap into them, but I also want to travel to farther reaches of the world to explore this music. While in Mexico in July I'm going to at least try and visit some of the Jewish temples that exist there. I am also contemplating a trip to Cuba--we'll see.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day Three in Washington

We all met downstairs in the lobby of the hotel to start our two hour drive up to Bellingham on Sunday morning. The sky was fairly clear and it looked like it would be a nice day to travel. The drive was a little rainy, but overall smooth and uneventful. The scenery was lovely with snow on the mountains around us and beautiful waterways alongside the freeway.

We arrived in Bellingham with enough time to have lunch. Bellingham is a quaint town with a lot of charm. Our gig was in the Museum of Radio and Electricity which turned out to be a really cool location. Apparently one of the founders of Microsoft, along with another man, had been collecting old radios and record players for many years. They combined their collections into one big building and began this museum. The items inside are beautiful and amazing. The RCA dog, alongside one of the bell record players was even present and accounted for.

The gig itself was very well attended with over 100 people. The crowd was attentive, engaged and fun to perform to. The band sounded awesome that day, my voice was in good form and a good time was had by all!! Jud Sherwood puts these shows together in Bellingham under the name The Jazz Project. He has done an amazing job with this jazz program, bringing people from all over to perform in Bellingham. It is definitely a very worthwhile program and greatly appreciated by people such as myself who strive to bring live music to as many people as I possibly can.

After the concert Jud and his girlfriend Monique took us all out to dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant. They were both fantastic hosts and fun to hang out with. Afterwards we said our goodbyes and headed back to Seattle. The weather again held for us until we were just about to exit off the freeway to our hotel. Whew!! Then the rain came pouring down--hard!

All in all this was a fantastic tour of Washington. The music was well received, the band was fun to hang out with and I was able to spread my music to another little corner of this world. Hopefully there will be much more of this in my future. I absolutely LOVE to perform in front of live audiences and am heartened by how well my style of music is received by people who don't necessarily understand everything I sing. It seems that they are "getting" it through the emotion of each song I perform. It's a very good feeling!! :)