One of the great joys of living in Hillsborough, NC is getting to sing & perform with the Berlin Brothers. The brainchild of William Dawson and Vernon Dowdall, the Berlin Brothers is an ever-expanding/changing collective of musicians who perform theme shows throughout the year. A few weeks ago we performed a night of Burt Bacharach tunes, complete with a horn section and harpist! I got to sing "Don't Make Me Over", made famous by the great Dionne Warwick. Here's the live recording!
I witnessed something very simple but moving this morning. About 45 minutes into a weekly Zumba class, our teacher stopped the music and said “I’m sorry, but my mom passed away yesterday. I just need to say it HAS been a struggle for me to be up here, and I hope it’s ok if we cut class a little short and just cool down now.”
Immediately every woman in the class, of every shape, size, color, and age moved towards her with tears in our eyes. Several of us asked if we could give her a hug. She said she preferred to finish class instead. I found her willingness to open up to us to be incredibly brave, and a gift to all of us in the room. If she had just tried to muscle through, we would have all left thinking “I did my exercise for today: check!”, and each gone on to the next task on our to-do lists. Instead, because of her willingness to be vulnerable and honest, she gave us a chance to feel the immediate, simple desire in our own hearts to help another human being who is in pain. As my mentor has told me, vulnerability is always the more powerful moment. When we are vulnerable, we give others a chance to step towards us and experience their own strength and love.
To paraphrase something I read in “Lion’s Roar”, a Buddhist magazine, “We need to feel the world’s pain.” I think allowing our pain to be expressed honestly, and letting others’ pain in cleanses us. It brings us back down to earth. It gives us an opportunity to live in the moment.
Just some thoughts on a rainy Saturday after what has been, in so much of the world, a week filled with conflict and tragedy.
#hope #gratitude #love
I am one of those people who always think that whatever is happening right this moment is how it will be forever. You can imagine easily how this can cause problems in day to day life – if things are going badly, it can feel like there will never be any hope again and it will never change. If things are going great, I have the ability to fly off into a sort of mania and become disconnected from reality all together.
On stage though, I have found this immediacy has been a gift. What I'm feeling is real and no one can argue with me. If they do I can't hear them! What is right now is forever. I can honor it and release it and celebrate the contradictions, truly feel the entire moment.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the people who helped me to arrange this Ireland/UK tour, including @Michael Chang, Paul McGee , Nigel Martyn, Jim Sellick, Christina Humphries and Paul Kemp. Thank you to the promoters for giving me a place to unleash the tiger. Thank you to Siobhan Begley & Mark & Danu and especially to everyone who came out and listen and spoke to me after the shows. I very much look forward to returning! And thank you to my man, Mike June for welcoming me home with open arms.
Thank you to Paul Kemp for this picture of me with the cats at The Greys in Brighton. I will always be a crazy cat lady in the depths of my soul.
This year I heard my calling. My voice is strong - not just my throat muscles or my lung power,
but the words they are forming. I am powerful. I have gone from avoiding the news to being able (usually) to hear it as a painful reminder shouted through a bullhorn. It screams, "this world needs love and healing!". Guess what I'm good at? Love. I'm good at giving love.
He teases me
How bad I'd be
At traditional wife-life
He doesn't know
That freedom still feels
Like I'm getting away with something
Mike June and I had a blast in Spain, Ireland, UK, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic & France. Thanks so much to EVERYONE who put on a show, came out to see us, spoke to us afterwards! It was a little nuts to try to do so much in one month so going forward we are going to split things up a bit! But it was incredibly inspiring and reaffirmed for me why I do this. Connecting with real people about real experiences through music is magic and I feel so blessed to do this. #gratitude
On our recent tour to Europe, I had the pleasure of singing with our friends Korben Dallas in English and Slovak when we opened a few shows for them. Here's a video of me joining them for their tune "Cierne Rano" - excuse the lack of accent marks - my QWERTY keyboard doesn't have them!