"Chez Moi", the title of my latest album, literally came to life when I arrived in Besançon, France two weeks ago for my first foreign tour in more than 15 years. In the company of Matty Metcalfe, Rick Olivarez and my husband Gérard, our five days in France and four in The Netherlands turned out to be an important - if not life changing - experience. By performing with three of France's greatest talents (Damien Groleau on piano, Vladimir Torres on bass and Tom Moretti on drums) I realized that I had come home, mentally and musically.
Besançon has stolen my heart. The new friends, the architecture, the food, even two days of rain made it such a special treat. Four well-attended shows, two radio appearances, and being on the evening news at TV 3, all instigated by the irreplaceable Jean Eberhard, grad student Loic Mazet and Quentin Juy of Theatre Le Scènacle. I am also very grateful to Lou Thomazo, the hosts Marie, Val, and Marie Claude; the students – Vanessa and Clara in particular - and last, but not least, Deputy Mayor Madame Solange Joly, who threw a wonderful welcoming reception at City Hall. When we left for The Netherlands late Friday afternoon, we all realized that Charlottesville’s twin city is a second home to which we hope to return frequently.
To hear our performance on Radio France Bleu with Thierry Eme, broadcast on April 17, click here (for an iTunes version, click here). To hear our interview on Radio Campus, click here.
For the first time since I moved to the US I did two shows in my old home town, The Hague. These turned out to be cherry on my already delicious cake. After Damien and Vladimir came by train from France two hours before our first show, my all-time favorite Dutch drummer André Hoekstra arrived. The professionalism, concentration, and interaction between the musicians created enormous synergy, while André provided the rhythm to my rhyme.
I had never felt like this before. “I have seen you perform a lot”, one person in the audience told me afterwards, “but I have never seen you so much in your comfort zone.” I had the time of my life, realizing that this is what “coming home” means. I am doing what I love, singing songs I am passionate about in a language that suits me, and with the best musicians and friends in the world. This is where I feel at home, or “Chez Moi”.
PS: I would like to thank the following people, who made the Holland trip unforgettable: Dick Keulemans, who hosted our French friends and whose Mallemolen Theater is a hidden gem; my daughter Anne, for inviting the Americans into her home and for being our lovely host at the concerts; Jeroen Minkema for lending us his beautiful piano; and my brother’s wife Mar, for all she means to me.
But most of all, I would like to thank our audiences in France and in Holland!
A place for me (and occasionally a guest author) to share news and updates, as well as other various thoughts and musings.