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MARISA's PHOTO ALBUMS (Taken by Marisa)

MEXICO & USA

EUROPE
MAY
6

Hi Folks, Firstly, apologies for my lax blogging, I have to admit, my little creative brain doesn't really go in for the 'spit your whole life out in public' mentality on the internet. I do have a personal facebook site which is probably like most folks, where I do most of my posting these days, feel free to drop by and friend me there.

It's been a busy year for me so far... I have been making my first attempt at writing a book. It's a huge undertaking and a new challenge for someone who is accustomed to writing songs. I've always had an avid interest in history since I was a child..(it may or may not be my parents fault for dragging me through all those museums!!), and this project has taken me on an amazing journey through the 16th century across 3 continents, so I have spent many hours with my head in antique books. I have no idea when I will finish this project, it's an ever unfolding journey.

I often say being an artist, is a lot like being a farmer...we plough, prepare the soil, plant, and pray for the seasons to be kind, if we are lucky something wonderful grows..we have our times of harvest, and our times of watching over the fields for the shoots of new ideas... It's a very organic and beautiful process, and after years of living wth it, I have learnt not to push it.. it is what it is...I've learnt to trust it...

I am currently collecting the shoots, and writing songs for album number 4 (it's current working title) and I am also enjoying getting out and about playing some shows with a variety of great people while I am home in Australia. I hope to start recording in the later half of this year, along with some other exciting events in the pipeline, but more on that later....for now, just wanted to say thanks to all the wonderful people who keep in touch with my ever evolving artistic journey wherever you are. I hope we get to meet and say hello in the real world soon.....'Love'

JAN
10

I had a fabulous time in the studio this week recording 'Aurora', the song I wrote for the 'Dreams of Nature' exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. I wrote this song to accompany a painting of the beautiful 'Lake Keitele' by Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

The whole process has been an interesting example of the creative process. I started out writing a completely different song to the one I ended up recording. The first song was 100% sweat, I battled to try to say what I wanted to say. I would revisit it and chip at it like a sculptor taking away the pieces that I felt protruded, and over the course of weeks, I managed to get the song to where I wanted it to be. I was finally happy with it and felt it was finished.

A few days afterwards, and just before Christmas I recall, I woke one morning (and I NEVER write in the mornings), and sat crouched upon the floor over a piece of paper spilling out in minutes what was to become the words of another completely different song. This seemed like all the mental pieces of the puzzle coming together. I think I only edited one or two words…and sat to write the music…I had even made a note on the sheet that I heard a Nylon string guitar on it...

Everything I had meditated on about the painting, the journey of the artist himself, the location and somehow intimate pieces of myself had been bubbling in the subconscious and had come together. I knew 'this' was the song I was meant to write for the project!

It is a classic example of how art often stews in the mind and needs time and space to evolve. Modern life rarely allows time for this process, so how much of the good stuff are we missing I wonder…

To record the song I called upon my friend BJ Baartmans. BJ has a lovely studio called Wild Verband in Boxmeer, a little town in the west of Holland. When I played the song to BJ, he asked 'Would you like me to play a little something on it'?….he picked up a lovely little nylon string guitar he had lying around in the studio, and within minutes we had the song sounding beautiful with just our 2 guitars. For those of you who don't know BJ, check him out HERE….

We created what felt like a painting in sound, to get the song out of my head and onto a recording. I couldn't help but feel how all art, especially painting, poetry and music are so interrelated. The song was only ever going to be for the gallery project, but I have decided to make it available on itunes in the coming weeks, so everyone, not just the lucky visitors to the gallery can hear. Oh, and whatever happened to the first song….? I still like that song too, hopefully I'll play that one for you sometime soon.

MAY
17

Had a 'hoot' at Sundays Crossroads Festival in Bergen op Zoom. We were very kindly chauffeur driven to the show by local music journalist Fred Schmale and his wife. The venue was the 'Het Zwijnshoofd' which means 'The Hogs Head', which explained the wild boars head on the wall above the staircase and various other pig related references throughout the building. The theatre was stunning, and the crowd was very welcoming. I enjoyed my set, and especially the treat of having BJ Baartmans join me onstage, where we did 3 songs. BJ is a true dutch national treasure and it was fantastic to finally get to play together. BJ did the mastering on 'Voices from the Underground' my new album. After playing solo for so long, it was such a pleasant surprise to hear him playing along, and also singing backings for me. I feel very spoiled! Here's a video of the happenings….

APR
12

Just got back from a great weekend up in Spijkerboor with everyone. The North of Holland is like something from a picture book, with it's lush green fields and tree lined roads. Classic villages with thatch roof houses and cobbled streets, so neat that they look like someone sneaks out and vacuums the streets at night. The Cafe t'keerpunt (Turning Point) is always a warm and welcoming hive of local activity, like the heartbeat of the community..eclectic items line the walls and the spirit of many of the world's top songwriters leaches from it's walls. It is a place of words and laughter, and during my performance on Sunday, local Poet Egbert Hovencamp was busy writing poetry 'on the spot' fuelled by the imagery that came to him from my music. I was touched….I'm usually the one wielding the pen, and it was a new experience to be the muse…You can read Egberts work here…
The Roots on the Road and RTV Drenthe crew spoilt me with their hospitality as they and so many wonderful local (and some not so local) friends…helped me launch the release of the new album here in Holland.

MAR 4

Touchdown in Australia. Nice to be back, even if it is brief...We enjoyed our time in the USA, and especially loved New Orleans, what a great city..the people are so friendly and warm there. We also loved Austin and got to 'kick it back a few gears' while we were there. We enjoyed a nice visit to Barton Springs to walk along the river and sit in the sunshine. After two winters in a row, one in Australia and then the European winter, we found it strange to feel warm again. Driving through the American South was a real experience and I'm sure to visit it in my writing, I found so much imagery in the 'state of America' and it's people. I often find when I'm travelling, that certain songs haunt me in certain places, and if there is a song which kept visiting me on this trip through the 'delta' is was Nina Simone singing 'Strange Fruit'...We love to think of America as not having a class system, but money is still the great divider.

We thought it was funny that after meeting up with fellow Aussie musician's Bill Jackson and Pete Fidler in Memphis at the Folk Alliance, that we ran into each other again 2 weeks later in LAX, only to find we were all sitting 1 row apart on the flight back to Melbourne...it sure is a small world sometimes...

I'm also happy to report that the new album is now officially released. As a one woman 'musical ecosystem'...It has been a long journey from writing the songs to holding the finished product in my hand, and achieving that across two continents. I'm really happy to finally share it with everyone, and am looking forward to letting you hear it, and to getting back out doing what musicians do best,... 'play'...

FEB 22

The Folk Alliance was a blast..we spent the whole time either running from, or running to shows, mine, or other people's. For a little writer from halfway around the world, it was so cool to meet face to face with some friends from online, and other writers and players who's work I have admired for so long...we ended off with a late night jam in the Red Beet Records room and I have posted a video for you to take a peek at...the only down note is that someone's cold has hitched a ride home with me.

Two funny thing's that happened, are that during our jam, two Eagles songs were played 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' and 'Already Gone', and I had no idea that I was playing percussion and singing along with the writer himself Jack Tempchin...what a huge honour, but I was completely oblivious, which is probably just as well as I would have had mindmush...oh..and the other funny thing is that Eric Brace trusted me to play the percussion.... We have enjoyed travelling onwards through the Mississippi delta via Clarksdale. It's been a real eyeopener to the heartland of the blues and the state of life for many Americans. I've been giving the camera a work out and my pen is certainly twitching.

FEB 10

Well it's that time, when I have to squeeze stuff into bags and hit the road again. Something about the inertia of wheels or wings underneath me tends to bring on an attack of the 'song fairy', so I am as always pen in hand, and guitar in the other. This time we're heading out to Memphis..home of Elvis...and his peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I love Memphis, it holds so much musical history, and being born in a 'rivertown' myself, Echuca. Australia, I feel an instant connection with that big wide brown Mississippi river! There's something very therapeutic about a slow flowing lazy ol' river...We are headed to the Folk Alliance and are looking forward to seeing what happens when you put hundreds of folksingers in one big hotel. It's also going to be great to meet up with friends we haven't seen in a year or two since we were last in the States. Anyway, I must get back to working out how to fit all this baggage in one little bag...
SQUEEEEZZE!

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