Hey USA! Hey Virginia! Hey Harrisonburg!
This is my new home and I am excited to be surrounded by the beautiful people and nature here.
We started our life in the states by expanding our family. I have a smart little puppy that fills my days with love and licks now.
I have been quiet for a while and I’d like to tell you what I’ve done and who I’ve met over this past year.
To come to the US was a lot of paperwork and over 15 months we changed three countries that we called home. From Japan to Latvia and finally here. Leaving Japan was a big step and I miss the people I left behind. I miss the music that we created there. But soon you will hear about “Uzmanību”, my Latvian folk band CD release. We managed to record a few songs before I had to go and you will be able to find it on Amazon and iTunes on October 25th. Akiko Mizoguchi owns a Latvian goods store SUBARU in Kobe, Japan, and together with her husband Shinichi Hada they created “Uzmanibu”. Then I joined and we kicked off with some great folk melodies and arrangements. She plays the Latvian folk instrument kokle. Shinichi Hada is an Arabic music violinist and then we found a great percussionist Aki Tanaka. We had a great time mixing and matching all our influences. It is a recording filled with good times and wonderful memories. I am glad it will be out there soon.
While in Latvia I was working with Laima Jansone, the Latvian kokle player and the one and only DJ Monsta. Definitely check them out. We had a tour around Japan which was a crazy 20 day journey bearing unforgettable fruit. They are both very special to me and their music is very special to the world. Such an interesting approach, so much creativity and self expression. Find, like and follow their work. Hope you get to hear them live sometime.
I also managed to make two of my dreams come true. First, participating in Saulkrasti Jazz Festival, which is a great place to hone your skills and hear the best from European Jazz.
The second being meeting the great singer, now a good friend of mine, Jolanta Gulbe Pashkevich and her husband Deniss Pashkevich. I was lucky enough to get a lot of singing advice from Jolanta and musical advice from Deniss. If you go to Latvia, and I hope you do, don’t miss out on Pashkevich Jazz Club. It opened recently and it is the place to hear the cream of the crop of Latvian and European Jazz.
While in Latvia I used my time to learn about my roots. Amazing folk artists, singers, kokle players gave me so much advice, so much material to work with. I thank them wholeheartedly. I only ruined one of their books with some late night wine. Very fruitful research. Pun intended. I am currently working on a Latvian folk program to hopefully present to you very soon. It doesn’t stop surprising me how much you get to know about your own country, your own self, while being away. Some questions are just never asked if you stay still. That being said, I am ready to settle down. Though with my passion of travel and excitement, who knows what will happen.
Over the past few years I have gathered a lot of information on singing, technique, voice habits and performance. I have used them all and played so many great gigs using all that new knowledge. Here in Harrisonburg I will be continuing and expanding my vocal coaching job and hopefully meeting lots of great singers. You will be hearing more from me about voice and singing.