Friday, May 8, 2009

The eve of the CD release concert. Very exciting. The concert sold out yesterday afternoon. There are so many wonderful people attending, so many exceptional people contributing. It will be an experience to have it all unfold. One of the things I love about creating is the PROCESS, which constantly throws you curve balls as it unfolds. The best thing is recognizing that curve balls are a gift! If you stay relaxed and open, great things can come out of the unexpected. If we can stay open, and stay in that positive vibration, anything is possible. We'll see what happens....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The birth of a project.

Just when you thought labor pains were over, and the baby would be born, there comes another round... now I don't have the experience (unfortunately) of birthing a real baby, but birthing an album still has it's contractions. It's amazing - AMAZING how much time goes into a creative endeavor like this. Anyone out there brilliant at writing? I would love your help in coming up with my text for press releases... hah! I'm working this week on final details while my graphic designer, Bob Paltrow, finishes up the artwork for the CD. Then it goes to press. That is a great feeling. Now I'm working on a CD release concert at the Walton Theater - formerly the Mt. Baker Studio Theater. And I find that it's occupying my every waking moment. Just when I think I'm on to something else, I get an idea and it's back to planning, arranging, scheming, corresponding. I suppose looking out at this coooold spring day, this activity is probably better than being in my back yard digging that ditch I need to finish. I know when this weather lifts, and we have our first warm spring day, with that can't-be-denied smell of spring in the air, it will be worth the wait. As for now, I feel like all those little buds and sprouts out there, still curled up, doing a lot of preparation on the inside, waiting to bust out and say "Tah dah!!!!!" And with that, I'm going to break away from my creative chaos and do something simple and practical, like perhaps, the dishes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I am sitting here in my studio, a place I have spent many an hour and day and month recently working on my new album. But today is different. I am swimming in a sea of Scottish music, to the words and notes of Alasdair Fraser, Scottish Fiddler, teacher, and now hero of mine, who I was lucky enough to be exposed to in a workshop this weekend on Whidbey Island, as well as with his delightful counterpart cellist Natalie Hass.

How does one explain the feeling of having your internal wiring rearranged, your computer re-programmed, in an intensive, passionate workshop with one such as Alasdair Fraser? It has completely changed me, and now I sit here feeling my very cells rearrange, steeped in the tradition, the rich heritage, the stories, the melodies, shared so energetically and so very well by such a master on the fiddle? Well, I can only do my best. And what is one's best? There is a good question - one's best is what comes from the heart, what comes from ingredients gathered over time, with love and the utmost care, with a questioning mind, with relentless persistence, with daring, with gravity, to defy gravity.

Let me just tell you a little about Alasdair. He is a humble, glowing man, with the kind of twinkle in his eye you would associate with a wizard or as a child perhaps with Santa Claus, with a bubbling stream running through him, a beautiful Scottish accent, and many other mysterious things, so that when you first begin to listen to him play and talk, you find your senses sharpening, your attention drawn in, your mind opened. He has a way with words, that is to be sure - he talks his language with incredible creativity, describing things with ample analogies, metaphors, stories, with shouting, with pleading, with sillyness and seriousness; like a good piece of music, he takes your spirit on a journey, and you feel lifted up and carried through the strong and the soft, through the rapids and the eddies, and by the end you are wrung out. You have been squeezed, so that all the stale and lesser things have fallen out of you, and you are left empty, and yet full of something utterly new; something juicy and good is flowing through your veins, nourishing you.

Get the picture? Maybe just a little! Suffice it to say, I will be feeling the effects of this constantly in many different ways, for it has truly changed me. What a fantastic thing to be able to experience something, someone, who Changes you!!! It makes me remember how transformative it is to be inspired, how rich, how essential. Why are we not all inspired like this, all the time? Because it takes a hero to transform you. And when it happens the effects are instant and they are permanent in the fact they alter the course of your life.... because when your thinking has been altered, and your feeling has been intensified, your life course is altered. Your thoughts, after all, in marriage with your emotions, create your life, every day, every moment.

And so, I guess my first response to this marvelous event in my life is to desire that for everyone - to be transformed, inspired, whacked over the head with great ideas, to be blown over by something so beautiful it leaves you undone. And then the energy begins to flow, you begin to reach for things you couldn't reach for before, you begin to look for things you never noticed were there, you see and feel in new ways. And isn't that the best way to be alive? I am so excited simply to be brimming over with this aliveness, the aliveness of Alasdair Fraser.

I know it will affect the way in which I finish my new album, which is nearing critical mass as we speak. I can't wait to dive into it again with new energy, and to share it as if reaches completion. I am looking towards January, when I go and spend two weeks with the masterful Lynn Murphy, sound engineer, sound magician, who will mix the album with me at Charleston Sound Studio. I look to the two weeks this December when I get to perform with all those lovely people in the Charleston Christmas Show, to be creative with them for two weeks, and to explore the new ways that I can play and express the music based on what I have and am learning. I look forward to infusing my teaching with new ideas, new approaches, and attempting to absorb the attitude of Alasdair, who is patient, accepting, loving, but also prodding, cajoling, insisting that people play music with something more than just attention to a pile of notes. (I could go on about this).

I will leave it at that for now - a good start, considering I haven't written in this blog for months upon months, through the passing of my dearest friend Mela, the seven month deployment of my husband Jeff, studying protools and setting up my own studio, and the birth of my fourth CD, which I am so excited to begin sharing. (Not only am I excited to share it, I'm excited to release it and start the next one - a trad album with David MacVittie, which seems so poignant now after this marvelous weekend.) All the best to all of you and may the hero's in your life appear to you, prod you, squeeze you, take you flying, and wring you out!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A fresh, new year

It's the second day of a brand new year; something about a new year that makes me inspired and motivated. I'm also happy to say farewell to 2007 and its challenges. We all deserve a fresh slate once in awhile! For me, this fresh slate comes after travelling to Charleston for the Charleston Christmas Show. It was my second year performing with this wonderful group of people - a cast of about 30 people, a 900 seat theater, 11 shows, and a full house or nearly full every night. Charleston is a really fantastic city and I enjoyed getting to know it and the people I work with better.
After the last show my husband and I flew to Belize to spend Christmas with family. On an island. Surrounded by wild tropical water filled with so many kinds of fish and coral and strange and mysterious wonders that never cease to amaze me. I recorded the sounds of pelicans diving in the water, big giant black bumble bees, the wind and birds and water.

Now back in the cozy Northwest, I am looking forward to a year of hard work and play. I'm excited to be diving into my studio and immersing myself in the "laboratory" of sound that I'm creating. I am going to devote a lot of time this year to composing, recording, and producing and get some new music out in the world. I will be cutting back on teaching and consolidating my teaching time, so that I have more energy to focus on my music.

I feel so grateful for the opportunity to embrace another year, to be an artist, and to know all the wonderful people I know; let's work towards making the world a better place, one day at a time. While we're here, let's do what we can for each other, and make beautiful music together! Other personal goals? Fewer negative thoughts, more positive ones. Less pessimism, more optimism. Less excuses, more accountability. Less cheese, more vegetables. More walks. More great adventures. Less gossip, more encouragement. Less complaining, more gratitude. More early mornings. More practise time. More kissing! More compliments, more positive feedback, more challenges. Less fear, less anxiety, less packaging. More water, more laughing, more parties. And may everyone have a full, nutritious, loving 2008!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


November 21, 2007
It's the day before Thanksgiving, a particularly poignant year for me; a year ago one of my best friends house burned down the weekend of Thanksgiving, and it was also the beginnings of another one of my best friends journey with Cancer. This year I am giving thanks for the continued health and well being of both of these dear friends, Jody Bergsma, and Mela MacVittie, two of my partners in crime! I am also thankful for this crystal clear, spectacular day, for the ability to walk out of my door and be on a beach just a few blocks away, for the madrona trees and the ravens, and for music. I am grateful for all the Peace there is in the world, and may Peace continue to grow. Just think of all the wonderful people walking around on the planet. We're all in this together.
I'm looking forward to launching my new web site this month, and travelling to Charleston in a few short weeks to do the Charleston Christmas Show. It will be a fun filled two weeks of great music with a bunch of talented people - talented, and fun to hang out with! I'm getting my bows rehaired and working on my chops. Happy Thanksgiving!