I have been in South Korea for the past 2 weeks, an artistic rescidency with choreographer Mehdi Farajpour. When not rehearsing the performance I have spent my time walking, watching and writing new songs. I have also taken lots of pictures, some of which I hope to present in an exposition. We will be here for another week, the performance is this weekend.
This has been such a wonderful experience, time spent creating and being with creators, eating, laughing, walking and even sailing together. Just the thing to get the creative juices moving. Another album in the making perhaps, yes.
Well a lot in fact. Standards are songs that have proven to be ever malleable, soft yet durable, and pleasing as well. Last Saturday I played the Bab-Ilo in Paris (one of my favourite jazz clubs), with a programme of “ standards.” I decided to emphasise that fact in my publicity simply because recently one of my students asked me “do you ever do just songs? I would love to hear you sing songs.” By “just songs” she really meant, straight, unbent, as written. I tried, as I always have, to explain to her that I am a jazz musician, and that she is indeed a student of a Jazz musician! Hum?
She of course came to the concert, and enjoyed the deconstructed and reconstructed standards on offer, and little by little she begins to not only understand, but also to appreciate the beauty of improvised music, and even eventually to enjoy doing it herself.
Summer in Europe, as elsewhere, is a time of sun, relaxation and festivals. Smiles and laughter, too often trapped behind impossible deadlines, financial woes, unrewarding work, city stress and insecurity, have a way of finding space during those fleeting months.
I began my summer, my time of rest, doing what I love most – performing. This time not in a jazz festival, but a in a festival of theatre in Pula, Croatia. PUF, the International Theatre Festival of Pula, is in it’s 21st year and welcomes performers from around the world. I was invited by choreograph Mehdi Farajpour to perform next to him in his new production “Yet Untitled.” It was a joyous experience which i hope to repeat.
Using my voice as pure instrument, free of words, but not sense, free of style but not emotion.
Sounds that float, soar and pierce the air, sometimes urgent, sometimes melancholic or vulnerable, soft and hard, sure and insecure. My life work in music has been the exploration of the voice. Always and forever fascinated by its possibilities, I have taken enormous chances in search of the limits of this instrument with which I am blessed. Through the freedom and rule-breaking world that is jazz, I have been able to nurture a way of singing and a knowledge of music that serves me well in the contemporary dance theatre world I am now exploring.
I met Mehdi Farajpour at one of my concerts at Bab-Ilo. He approached me after the concert and asked if I would consider working with him, a dancer. Of course I said yes. I love dance, I love the theatre and I love collaborating within different disciplines. The encounter has proven to be fortuitous. In that space of creation we have found a rapport that hangs delicately from the branches of trust and chance, listening, observing and feeling. Our first performance was in Cologne, Germany in November of 2014, and the second, but surely not the last, was in Pula, Croatial for the Festival on June 5th. “Yet Untitled,” conceived and choreographed by Mehdi, was awarded the best performance of the PUF 2015.
This is what makes my spirit happy. Being on stage is the highest of pleasures, being before people, communicating in music, song, dance, poetry, stories. I LOVE IT.