Sunday, June 29, 2008

KQED's The California Report Reviews my CD, Azucar de Amor

Wow! The amazing power of PR!!:) Andy Gilbert reviewed my new CD, Azucar de Amor, on KQED public radio last Friday and the response has been overwhelming. People from all over have been contacting me to let me know they heard the review, and even more people flocking to both and, not to mention iTunes, to purchase not only the new CD, but also the first one I recorded--Birds in Flight. This has been an amazing experience--and also very rewarding. If you would like to hear the review you can go to:

Andy has been such a great support of what I'm doing since I took this giant leap of faith almost three years ago. He not only said very nice things about the music I am performing, but also about my voice. And to top it all off he gave Murray Low wonderful compliments about his stellar arranging abilities with the Sephardic music. Murray deserves this and so much more. He is so talented, not only as a pianist but as an arranger, musical director and educator. I'm so glad he's starting to get the attention he deserves.

Today I perform a Jazz Vespers concert at the High Street Presbyterian Church. What a perfect time to thank the higher powers for these wonderful gifts that I have been given! I do believe there is something bigger than all of us that watches over, protects and guides us. As long as I trust in that power I will be fine. And right now I need to do a lot of trusting!! Moving to a new city and then getting laid off from my teaching gig in Campbell! Now I've got to see if I can replace that teaching gig with another one up here. I'm dusting off my resume and starting to contact places up here and hoping--trusting!!--that something will appear before the school year starts. I also really want to start putting effort into creating my Creativity Workshops and find a space where I can do them. Lots of possibilities, lots of unknowns and LOTS of excitement all at the same time!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Performing This Week

It's been a few weeks since my last gig but it feels like forever! I'm really excited to perform again this coming Friday at Stanford and on Sunday at the High Street Presbyterian Church. Both performances are based on uplifting spirits. At Stanford Hospital the Bing Concert Series is a way to ease the pain of people that are in the hospital as well as their loved ones who go there to visit them. As well, the staff have a wonderful outlet to relax and forget about their difficult and challenging jobs for a bit. Stanford really does such a great service to everyone who enters their hospital doors. It is good to see how much they appreciate the power of music as a healing tool. They even have roving musicians who visit people in their rooms to serenade them. I feel very lucky to be included in this series and love the ability to perform in front of such deserving people. The concert is from 12:30-1:30pm in the Stanford Hospital atrium. Admission is free.

The High Street concert will be mixed with a Sunday afternoon service. The theme for this service is Tolerance. I also feel honored to be a part of this service. Yes, I'm Jewish but the message of peace and tolerance transcends all religions and brings us all closer together. I am thrilled to get to be a part of that message, even if only for an hour-long service. The service/Jazz Vespers will be held at the High Street Presbyterian Church from 5-6pm. Admission is free.

I am also beginning to ramp up my Sephardic Music Project. I am thinking of calling it the Sephardic Music Experience and am trying to create a concert series that will showcase this music all over the Bay Area. I really hope I can pull this all together in the timeframe I am hoping for. I met with a marketing consultant yesterday in San Francisco and he motivated, inspired and charged me up for this project. He was wonderful in reinforcing that my idea is a good one and entirely plausible. I'm also hoping that through these concerts I can generate enough interest in the music to get donations for a recording. But first things first! I need to put together this concert series and find enough venues that will support it. Wish me luck!! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oakland, California

I must say that this move is probably one of the best things I've done for myself in a long time. I already know this is the right place for me. There are so many more things that go on up here than in the South Bay and it's up to me to tap into all of the resources available to me. The woman who is my "land mistress"!! :) has been living in Oakland for a very long time and has been an invaluable source of information and guidance for me as I maneuver my way through the newness of this city life. My dog Tito has also been good for me as we need to take walks everyday. Each day we set out on a new path in order to explore more of my new neighborhood. I'm having so much fun discovering new things.

Last night I went down to the Lake Merritt Dance place and took a salsa class--SO much fun. And it felt really good to be dancing again--it's been way too long. I am planning on taking classes there on a weekly basis and then also going to the Allegro Ballroom on Sunday nights. Salsa at least twice a week--Wow!!! And then of course I want to get more involved with the music scene up here. I am planning on tapping into La Pena's vast resources as well as the JazzSchool. Whereas these places were always available to me before, now they are a stone's throw away and so I have no more excuses to procrastinate (or at least less excuse!)

I love my new place! I only have a couple more boxes to empty and everything seems to be finding its place here. The animals have all been adjusting amazingly well and it's been a lot of fun decorating and organizing my very own place. In actuality this is really the first time I have lived in a place that is all my own. I've always shared my space with my children but now this is a place that has my own personal signature all over it and no one else's. It's been fun discovering my own voice within these new walls. Even the artwork I have been putting on the walls tell a new story. Yes, a new story, a new beginning, a fresh start! All of that along with all the other things I have already achieved create a rich, vibrant and exciting existence in my life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Living Bi-Residentially!!

I'm now sleeping in my new place in Oakland. I really love it and will love it even more once I have unpacked everything. But I'm also still driving down to San Jose to finish closing up the house. I still have some stuff there, repairs are being made, painting is getting done, the hardwood floors refinished. So I'm still not quite done with the South Bay.

It's so ironic to me spending so many weeks packing boxes only to arrive at the other end of the journey and have to unpack them all over again. It's like a never ending circle of chaos!! But I'm happy in my new place. I really love the location and close proximity to shops and restaurants. This is what I had been dreaming of; to be able to walk out my door and easily access all sorts of different places. I know this is good for me--this big move. I must admit, however, that before we got the U-Haul van on Saturday I started to have an anxiety attack!! It's been a very long time since I felt so scared and panicked. But I'm okay now and am very clear about how good this move to Oakland will be for me. And just to seal the deal, as I was getting ready for bed last night I heard someone practicing their conga drums across the street from me. MAybe some people would have been perturbed at the extra noise in the neighborhood, but I was excited and started dancing around my new place.

The development of the Sephardic Music Project has begun. I am gathering up a cadre of arrangers to help create an interesting assortment of sounds and rhythms to compliment the music. I am getting really excited about working on this new/old material and evolving it into something that can be accessible to the general public. Now all we have to do is book some concerts in the late fall/winter to showcase the music and what we're doing with it. This is going to be another fun ride!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fresh Start, Fresh Life

It's odd to begin again in so many ways after so many years. Am I too old to do this? Or does change welcome you at any age? I have been packing for weeks and selling off most of my furniture to anyone willing to come and get it. is amazing in aiding me to cleanse myself of so many material objects. I am learning to let go of "things" that no longer serve a purpose in my life. Simplicity is what I search for and hopefully will be able to hold onto in my new place.

This Saturday is moving day. I'm a bit nervous about living in a new city and having to learn where everything is. But I am also very excited at the prospect of exploring new territory and discovering new things. I really love my new place and think I can make a nice home for myself, my dog and two cats. I know it will be most difficult for the animals with this huge transition, but we'll get through it. My mantra: change is good, change is good!! I just feel there will be many more opportunities for me in the East Bay than down here. And I also feel that it will spark more creativity within me as I am confronted with new experiences.

Lots of exciting musical happenings in the works. But in the meantime, no gigs until the end of June. I think I'll be going into some serious withdrawals by then. I pretty much planned it that way, though, so I could get myself settled into my new place with as little stress as possible. Then I'll be ready to sing my heart out! AND it will be so much fun to perform in my new city-Oakland-at the High Street Presbyterian Church. And then off to Mexico to the Jazz Festival in San Cristobal. What a fun time that will be!