Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Metropolitan Room

Sunday I had the joy of performing for the third time at the beautiful jewel box cabaret club, the Metropolitan Room in Chelsea. It had been a while since my last show there.  A mad combination of life events prevented an earlier return there, but I was happy for waiting.  The time away had deepened my resolve to build repertoire that was more organic to my voice and spirit and the long preparation period was a key factor to getting closer to that goal. 

I put my obsessively curated program of tunes in the hands of some wildly talented and versatile musicians - Tomoko Ohno, piano (Japan), Andrea Veneziani, bass (Italy), Kat Modiano, flute (Israel), Rogerio Boccato, drums (Brazil) and Mahlon Hoard, sax (SC).  Not having hired a music director, Tomoko took the lead naturally and assisted in adapting little performed tunes from the Great American Songbook and what I now refer to as the "Great Global Songbook" into delicate Latin tinged gems.  Her playing is an intoxicating event in itself, but when paired with Latin based grooves, other stellar jazz musicians  and the "best of the best of" songwriters, singing became a numinous experience! 

The crowd was small on Sunday, something I had predicted from talking to many of the friends on my mailing list.  Sunday night, as I learned, is associated with Monday for weekday workers, and appears to be a sacred time for hanging close to home (at least in the evening), family time, laundry and shopping chores, etc.  EVEN SO, I was happy for the intimate crowd, who seemed thrilled to be away from their laundry and excited about hearing tropical music.


The Wren Bird Chronicles

According to the British Trust Ornithology, " Wrens are mostly tiny birds, little balls of fluff with a characteristic cocked tail. Although drably coloured, mostly in shades of brown, they are full of character and some species can be quite confiding even though most of their time is spent skulking in dense undergrowth. Their small size rounded wings make them highly maneuverable in such obstacle-strewn habitats. Most also have a rich, melodious song, usually sung at a volume which belies their diminutive size."

And there you have it readers! I'm often asked what a wren is because Wren happens to be my name, so I thought I'd give the official meaning. The British Trust's definition is particularly likeable because is describes the wren bird's song as rich and melodious. And since I'm a singer (human by the looks of me) it has a nice ring to it, so to speak. The "diminutive size" bit is a little harder to pull off! As for the "skulking", well - YES, I do skulk and in very dense undergrowth!

On that note, I welcome you to my blog. I am happy to have you are here and hope that these thoughts and musings on the mysteries of music and life (not in any particular order) will help your mind wander away from the ever present to-do list, consider the healing magic of song, and ponder the numinous a little more. There will be the occasional foray into the insanity of my singing career, and some updates on my performances and the workings of a singer's life, but I hope that the blog will stretch beyond promotional networking. Today, I beg you to consider this verse from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream: 

Thou remember’st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres
To hear the sea-maid’s music.

And further to the point of music and healing, let’s read this verse from John Dryden’s Oedipus:  

Music for a while

Shall all your cares beguile:
Wond’ring how your pains were eas’d
And disdaining to be pleas’d
till Alecto free the dead
From their eternal bands,
Till the snakes drop from her head,
And the whip from out her hands.

Next time:  music and healing