Friday, 30 December 2011

A Very Creative Christmas in Athens

I was really looking forward to going to Athens at the end of December as I only had a couple of gigs and most of my time there would be spent relaxing in a very nice hotel.

I brought along my laptop to be able to keep up-to-date with emails etc and thought I might take a look at some old song ideas if I felt in a songwriting mood.   Well, once I arrived at the beautiful hotel in the suburbs of Athens and saw the breathtaking view from my window, instead of relaxing (as was my intention) I felt totally inspired and got straight down to work.  I went on to finish almost 7 new songs which along with one I'd written earlier, makes 8 new songs for my next album.  Very excited!  There's something about the sea that makes every part of my body just go "aaaaahhhh".  I don't know what it is but it makes me feel relaxed yet full of energy all at the same time.  I went for a walk along the beach one morning and wrote an entire song in 30 minutes.

I moved to central Athens after a few days and interestingly the feeling left me almost immediately.  I touched up a few lyrics but it felt nothing like the burst of creativity I'd had.  Something about the sea just does it for me.

Hopefully it won't be too long before I get some of those songs recorded but until then, here are some photos of that little corner of Greece that filled me with so much inspiration.

View from hotel in Central Athens.  No beach but still breathtaking!
Syntagma Square - Not sure what he's protesting about but he was very dedicated to his cause.

Trees decorated with cans for Christmas in Syntagma Square

Saturday, 10 December 2011

A Tale of Three Cities: Hong Kong, Moscow and Athens

It's been a very busy month!  Three cities in 3 consecutive weekends.  Felt like a resident of Heathrow Aiport but luckily I quite enjoy flying and I absolutely adore travelling.  It was my first trip to Hong Kong and a welcome return to both Moscow and Athens - two places I'd visited earlier in the year. 

I'm going to back to Athens in 3 days and returning once again to Moscow in February.  What a lucky girl I am!

Hong Kong

View from the window of my hotel room - spectacular!

The first meal ended with mango pudding.  Was very excited to receive my first Asian fortune cookies...

... and loved the fortune I was given.  Hope it's true!

Hong Kong is shopalicious - but sadly there was no time for shopping.

Occupy Hong Kong!

View from the hotel's roof top terrace at sunset.  The HK skyline is absolutely stunning.

The final meal.  My pianist ordered frogs legs!  There was no way I would eat them but I was informed that they tasted like "chewy chicken".


View from my hotel room.  A grey day but not as cold as I feared.

The venue in a very upscale area in the suburbs of Moscow. Very plush!

The very imposing Ministry of Foreign Affairs building.  Just looking at it made me break out in a cold sweat at the thought of some Kafka-esque nightmare

Just opposite my hotel is what used to be the "Golden Palace Casino" but as all gambling is now banned in Russia, it's been transformed into a nightclub.  Tacky but I love its kitsch design especially the palm tree streetlights!


View from my hotel room

This suburb of Athens is by the coast and is absolutely beautiful

Sunset view from my balcony

A brisk afternoon walk by the sea - aaaah so peaceful

I love trees and thought these looked especially beautiful

Thursday, 3 November 2011

London Jazz Festival 2011 - Countdown!

Only 8 days to go to the start of this year's London Jazz Festival!
I've got two performances during November's London Jazz Festival with Jonny Phillips on guitar (Southbank Centre @1pm on Fri 11th and artsdepot at 1pm on Sun 13th) and we'll be performing arrangements of songs by a wide range of artists including Tom Waits, Michel Legrand and the Beatles.  The only condition is that they must have a connection with or feature the name of a European city or country.  It's been fun choosing the songs and there are even a couple that we've written specially.  It's also going to be quite a challenge because I'll be attempting to sing in French and Italian.
At the moment, I'm frantically trying to finish lyrics for one of the new songs - yes, I know I've left it very late...   I'm also trying to choose my outfits for the shows.  I'm wondering whether to go for a burlesque-style corset but am thinking it might be quite difficult to breathe wearing it!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Krooning at The Kremlin

Okay well it wasn't actually the Kremlin... It was a fabulous Moscow jazz club called Society of Composers but it was only about 5 mins walk from the Kremlin itself and so I got the chance to walk around Red Square before Friday's gig.  Absolutely stunning!  Below are some of the pics I took on my walk followed by pics of the gig itself taken by Russian photographer Владимир Коробицын (Vladimir Korobitsyn).  The band were fabulous and we had a full house with a great audience.  Hope it won't be too long before I get the chance to go back again.

Red Square!

Lovely Lexy in front of St Basil's Cathedral
Me in front of St Basil's Cathedral

St Basil's Cathedral - yes - I LOVE it!  Reminds me of a big cake. :-)

The Historical Museum - beautiful.
Couldn't resist buying a "Russian Doll" (with a twist!)
(c) Vladimir Korobitsyn
(c) Vladimir Korobitsyn
Lexy and me after the gig

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

To Russia With Love

I'm off to Russia tomorrow and my first time performing in Moscow!  Really looking forward to it.  I've got my wooly hat (with "ears") and my thermals (just in case) and am good to go.  Love Russia!  Wish I could speak the language but will just have to try to fit in by drinking lots of vodka instead. ;-)

Nothing more to add at the moment so here's a recipe for Moscow Mule to be going on with until I have more news...

Servings: Serves 1
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 tsp. sugar syrup
  • Fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup ginger beer
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • 1 slice of lime
In a copper mug, pour vodka over ice. Add sugar syrup and lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with mint sprig and lime slice.

And here's a link to the song "From Russia With Love" which I'll be learning for my London Jazz Festival concert with Jonny Philips.