Thanks to the support, once more, of the Help Musicians UK Transmission Fund I was able to head over to Quebec this Summer and attend KlezKanada. This is the largest gathering of Yiddish Culture experts and enthusiasts in the world, for one week in the Laurentian Mountains outside Montreal. There are trees and a lake and lots of amazing humans making music every waking minute of the day and night. We stay in rustic 'bunk houses' which are basically boxes and it gets cold at night, but its stunning beautiful and so inspiring to be there, reconnect with my Klezmer buddies over seas and jam into the night. My duo buddy Flora Curzon was also awarded the Transmission Fund so we got to go together and play a couple of shows, both at the festival and at the legendary La Sala Rossa in Montreal, which turned out to be a big hit - we even sold out of CDs! Perhaps it was our British charm (does that even exist any more/is it relevant? apparently in the commonwealth, yes!) or intense string playing, but either way we had the best time. Here's some memories from our trip :) Looking forward to hopefully making it back again next year!
We also stopped off via New York City and Burlington, Vermont - two of my favourite places in the whole world. Road trip style adventure was had, and we even had time to visit Bread & Puppet Theatre Company in the Northeast Kingdom which was an extra special treat :)
More soon! xx
Passing through (but never truely leaving) VERMONT!!!! Sunflowers, Lakes, Bread & Puppet, The Radio Bean, Rye Bagels & MAPLE SYRUP!!!!!!! My heart is back in tow with all things that are best about this world :)
I am excited that several tracks from Fran & Flora's album Unfurl are featured in this heart-wrenching and beautiful documentary by Marina Parker, which will be aired on the 3rd July on BBC 2 at 9.30pm. Follow this link to watch! xx
Wow, just back from a dream tour with the dream band, performing Frank London's Ghetto Songs at the 3,000 capacity Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg and stunning Goldoni Theatre, Venice, where I made my debut solo singing apprearnce attempting to bring to life Bossa Nova classic 'O Morro Nao Tem Vez' by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The Line-up included Frank London (Bandleader/Trumpets, NYC), Brandon Ross (Guitar, NYC), Greg Cohen (Bass, NYC/Berlin), Ilya Sheyveys (Keyboards/Accordion, Latvia/NYC), Sveta Kundish (vocals, Israel/Berlin), Karim Sulayman (vocals, Chicago). Seriously - could it get any better? What CAN'T this kind of band do? I hate rehearsing. But not this time!! - was more than a total pleasure to play and spend time with these guys for a week :)
My first time to the weird and wonderful land of Venice. Little did I know there was a Venetian Jewish (very bizarre and cool) dialect. In my time off I tried as many regional delights as I could including local wines, cheeses, feasting on Cichetti (little breads topped with an array of goodness) and my new discovery - White Polenta topped with Baccala Mantecato. Talk about slow cooking - this dish takes 3 days to make if made properly!
...After FAI i headed down to Boston (which was still freezing!) to have some lessons with of my favourite lessons - Mike Block (cello) and Anthony Coleman (improvisation/composition). This period of my trip, as I now know, was way way way too short. But the small time I spent with Mike and Anthony was immensely rewarding. It's a great feeling to be ready to go and work on technical and creative things which have become hurdles with such incredible and inspiring musicians and teachers...Looking forward to the next chapter.
Well - NYC is always great. I had hoped to spend more time there and up-state but alas I had to cut my trip short. I did, however, have time to catch up with my New York Klezmer family, schvitz (yiddish for sweat) my arse off and eat pickles and borsht in the Brooklyn Russian Banya and catch John Zorn play at Happy Lucky no.1 space in Brookyln for the inaugural weekend of the new weekly residency series- some incrizbdle artists playing over the coming year. Go check it out! I'll be spending a longer period of time in NYC and nearby later on in the year! Until then, lots of other exciting things in the mix.
...after finally taking myself on a little solo residency style retreat to the heart of Lisbon, i can happily say it was one of the decisions i've ever made. It's beautiful - from the building, to the pavements, to the food, to the warm windy weather and let's talk about THE FOOD for a second. TBH i didn't have time to physically eat everything on my list, i might have exploded, but i tried my best. So in between trying to process the last few weeks of crazy travelling, lessons, rehearsals, conferences and freezing East Coast climates and nibbling my way round the city, I walked it all off exploring the cute streets and even making it out to the secret beaches and cliffs of Capo Da Roca and the Sintra magic mountain. Still with the sweetest smell of Spring flowers. Obviously Portugal/Lisbon is no secret and has been a must-go-to destination for many a year so perhaps i'm a little late in the game in getting my arse over there. But it will definitely be just one of many trips to come to this beautiful city and it's surroundings. Here's some little anecdotal memories from my short but sweet trip!
We are blessed that our friend and Oscar award wining illustrator Alan Lee (Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit) has hand drawn in pencil this beautiful 3D like work as the album artwork for my duo Fran & Flora's debut album Unfurl. The image just keeps going and going the more you zoom in. Try it! xx
Was an honour to close the EFG London Jazz Festival with the one and only creative force Talvin Singh OBE and an awe-inspiring line-up of performers and special guests including vocal sculptor Jason Singh, violinist Preetha Narayanan, Bansuri maestro Shriram Sampath and Trumpet legend Bryon Wallen. My duo Fran & Flora were the opening act - an intimidating but exhilarating experience, our biggest gig yet!