Friday, 1 November 2013

Rural Touring, Mediterranean Chicken Stew and Fantastic Fudge

I've just returned from the latest rural adventure and am thinking how fortunate I am to be able to visit such beautiful parts of the country - doing the thing I love!

All of the gigs were well attended and we had a great time. Should be back on the rural road again in the spring - can't wait!

Kirk Langley Village Hall
We had a sold out audience on our first night with a waiting list for returns!  A great audience too with two encores.  And before the show we were invited to a lovely dinner at promoter's home.  Beautiful scenery, interesting venues and a warm welcome from both the promoter and the audiences are just some of the things that make rural touring so special.

Bramshall church
The promoter of the gig in Bramshall was also the vicar of the beautiful church above.  Again a good audience and we were told that he had the best turnout ever over the five years they have been running.  A very appreciative audience once again.  And to top it all, the vicar's wife made us a Mediterranean chicken stew as they'd seen on my website how much I love Italy.  It was delicious!

The Fold in Bransford
The Fold in Bransford, Worcestershire is a very special and inspirational place.  It was set up to encourage sustainable living and is home to designers, artists, complementary therapists and several little shops that sell everything from organic wine to leather goods.  I bought some lovely pear and ginger jam here.  Also some of the most amazing fudge I've ever tasted.  Can you tell I love food? :-)  The venue itself was also wonderful with great acoustics and it was a lovely gig.
Padded applique wall hanging in Yoxall Parish Hall
We spent out final day in Yoxall which was very beautiful and winner of Best Kept Village 2013.  Sadly as it was a Sunday and raining there wasn't much to see/do.  Another great gig though.  Extremely well organised by a promoter who was a retired salesman and who did a great job with promoting my CDs!  We drove straight home to avoid the storms.  Just made it. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Summer, Medieval Tuscany and Rural Midlands

Summer was a string of lazy afternoons.  Some of it spent relaxing in beautiful Buggiano Castello in Tuscany, Italy.  I love Italy and it was good to go back there after what seemed like way too long.  The sun was hot in London but was even hotter in Italy but there's nothing like a siesta under a cool ceiling fan on a scorching hot afternoon.  I had plenty of those!

View from the medieval village walls of Buggiano Castello

Next month I'm back on the rural touring road in the Midlands.

23 Oct - The Leeke Memorial Hall, Kirk Langley, Derbyshire DE6 4NJ
24 Oct - The Fold Café, Bransford, Worcester, WR6 5JB
26 Oct - Bramshall Parish Hall, Uttoxeter ST14 5BQ
27 Oct - Yoxall Parish Hall, East Staffs DE13 8NE

Yoxall Parish Hall today...

... and being opened by opened by Lady Burton in 1905
I find it interesting that, in over one hundred years, mens' suits haven't really changed all that much compared to ladies' fashions . 

The weather has suddenly turned awful this week.  We went straight from summer to winter.  What happened to the balmy autumn days?  I hope the sun makes a reappearance in time for my village ventures in October. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Making Music in Minsk (and Accidental Shopping!)

I've just returned from a lovely week in Minsk where I performed three "Divas of Jazz" concerts with a fabulous local band to very warm and appreciative audiences.   The weather was mostly very kind; apart from a few exciting thunderstorms it was very warm and sunny.  Also met some wonderful people.  Hope to go back soon!

The Venues

Palace of the Republic

Palace of the Trade Unions - a stunning building!
Poster at the entrance of the club

The Band

With Andrei (sax), Dimitri (piano) and Alexei (bass)

With Katerina (tour manager) and Alexei (drums)

Going Home

I flew out on a regular plane that you'd expect to see on a short haul flight -3 seats across on both sides.  I was very happy when I saw there were only a few people booked onto the return flight and had visions of stretching out across the seats for the 3-hour flight...  Imagine my surprise when the transit bus pulled up to this "mini" aeroplane.  It barely seated 50 people!  Definitely the smallest plane I've ever flown on and there were some dicey moments of turbulence when I wondered if we would make it!

Private plane?

And Accidental Shopping...

I was very good throughout my stay and didn't go out to any shops but... as luck would have it :-)  and amazing designer (Valentina Filimonova) came to my final concert and brought one of her creations.  I bought it on the spot and absolutely love it!  It's multi-coloured gold (so very glam!) made from very good quality leather.  And it's reversible with changeable coloured handles and pockets!

I love the fact that I didn't even need to go to the shops.  Shopping came to me! :-)

This photo doesn't really do it justice.  It's beautiful!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter, Rural Touring and Snow!

Spring is finally here! Although you wouldn't have believed it last week. We had to drive through snowy rural landscapes to get to our gigs at the end of March. Thanks so much to all those people who turned out to see us in such unseasonable weather. We had a great time!

Very happy that we also had some sold out gigs even given the Easter period and horrible snow. Such warm and appreciative audiences too. Can't wait to go back. hopefully I'll have some more dates at the end of this year.
Snowy Leics
And my next London date at the Royal Albert Hall is also already sold out! If you managed to get tickets, look forward to seeing you then. 

Looking forward to performing in Minsk, Belarus at the end of next month. Please - pretty please with a cherry on top - no snow!

Before then, I'm off to the Jazzahead conference in Bremen at the end of April to mix and mingle with the international jazz glitterati. It was great last year so hoping for more of the same.
Happy Spring!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Photos, Touring and Shopping in Boston

A few weeks ago I braved the freezing cold and snow to get some new photos taken by the wonderful Annabelle Narey of Bellephoto.

Am really pleased with the results and look forward to using them on my new website and album - hopefully both will be finished this year. 

I call this one "Golden Hair".  I draped a sequinned scarf that I bought years
ago in a sale for 99p over my head.   Love the effect.

This little robin took a liking to us and kept follwing us around the park. 
Even when we walked 5 mins away, there he was trying to get into the photo. 
And yes, I'm sure it was the same one! :-p

And I started my latest rural tour this weekend.  Kate Williams and I performed in Upper Broughton, Notts and Frampton, Lincs and had a wonderful time.  Shame the weather didn't cooperate.  There was  torrential rain and hail but thankfully there were also bursts of sunshine and a beautiful rainbow.  I love rainbows!
And in the daytime in between gigs... we shopped in Boston!  Yes, I'm sure you were thinking the title referred to Boston in the USA but I'm talking about Boston in Lincolnshire.   We roamed the charity shops and bought lots of bargains.  I love shopping! 

St Botolphs Church in Boston (aka the Boston Stump) as seen from the bridge...
just around the corner from all the shops!

Looking forward to next weekend when we'll be performing in Waltham on the Wolds, Radcliffe on Trent and Allington. 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Snakes, Creativity and Belarus

Happy Chinese New Year!  It's the Year of the Snake. Here's the description I found online: 

This 2013 year of the Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create.

So - this should mean I'll finally get round to recording my next album this yearWatch this space...

And in other news I've been booked to play four dates in Minsk, Belarus at the end of May.  It will be my first visit there.  Very exciting!

Here's a photo of one of the venues where I'll be performing.  Stunning!

Palace of the Trade Unions, Minsk


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Glam Goes Rustic - Back on the Road in March

Happy New Year!

I've decided to make no resolutions this year.  My only plan is to enjoy life and make the most of any opportunities that come my way.  :-)  

I'm really looking forward to returning to the Midlands in March.  I'll also be debuting Celebrating the Divas of Jazz in Gloucestershire too.  Here are the dates and locations.  I'll be performing with the wonderful Kate Williams on piano.  Do come and see us if you're nearby.

Fri 15 Mar - Upper Broughton Village Hall,  Notts  LE14 3BA      
Sat 16 Mar - Frampton Village Hall,  Lincs  PE20 1AR
Thu 21 Mar - Waltham on the Wolds Village Hall, Leics LE14 4AG
Fri 22 Mar - St Mary’s Hall, Radclffe on Trent, Notts NG12 2FD
Sat 23 Mar - Allington Village Hall,  Lincs NG32 2DZ
Thu 28 Mar - Evergreen Hall, Broadwell, Gloucs GL16 7DL
Fri 29 Mar - Westbury on Severn Parish Hall, Gloucs  GL14 1PF

Sat 30 Mar - Box Village Hall, Stroud, Gloucs  GL6 9HR