Hi everyone. My new album "Cielito Lindo" is available for pre-order. It will be released at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival on August 14th, but if you reserve your copy now you can download three tracks today.
And when the album is released your copy will be shipped and/or you will get an email prompting you to download the rest of the tracks (plus two bonus "spins").
Although we recorded this in early June, the album was actually a long time in the works. We have been accumulating material for a while and in fact one of Scott's tunes "All Agaze" dates back to 1997 which he wrote on my old baby grand while visiting Iceland. We also had difficulty finding a place to record as the room where we recorded "Distilled" was being worked on. We went back to Salurinn in Kópavogur which is a beautiful concert hall with an incredible Bosendorfer. That's where we recorded "Long Pair Bond."
All three of us (Toggi, Scott and myself) contributed compositions and we also recorded works by George Gershwin, Tom Waits and the title track is a Mexican folk song which I fell in love with the first time I heard Marta Gomez sing it. We also carry on our tradition of "spins" (brief free improvisations) which serve as interludes between the songs.
I'm preparing (logistically and mentally) for my trip to Bremen for the Jazz Ahead conference after which I'm really excited that my trio is headed to Berlin to play at B-Flat and then to the Women in Jazz Festival in Halle, Germany… and as if that weren't enough, as soon as we get back to Iceland we're headed straight into the studio to record our next album with engineer Kjartan Kjartansson.
Here's a little "teaser" video with some live audio from our recent concert at Harpa. I discovered the Time-Lapse mode on my iPhone and couldn't resist.
The trio has just returned from a fabulous tour of the US and one splendid concert in Canada. I've just posted pictures from the tour to our page on Facebook which can be viewed here. Toggi had special ordered a travel bass for this tour which turned out to be great. It has a removable neck which should make our future travels a bit easier.
As some of you may already know I had a great time in Amsterdam last May with bass clarinetist Maarten Ornstein. We got 4 stars in the newspaper Parool. Yay! He has now posted some videos from our performance at Splendor on YouTube. Please view them often and share with the world
Tomorrow, Sunday March 24th, my trio will be playing a Virtual House Concert as a part a 24 hour worldwide music fest to commemorate Tuberculosis Day. We go on at 16:30 GMT. This is pretty cool! We'll be playing in Iceland, the sound technicians are mixing from Italy and you'll be listening from wherever you are. Please check the extensive schedule of performers and join us by visiting StazionediTopolo.
Do you have a favorite Christmas tune? I have had the same favorite Christmas tune since I was a little kid and now I sing it every day with my two little girls. In Icelandic it is called "Í skóginum stóð kofi einn" which translates to "In the forest there was a cabin". I played it on my piano this morning and posted it on my Facebook fansite. A twitter buddy commented on it resembling a British tune "In a cottage in a wood". I looked it up and found the English lyrics:
In a cottage in a wood
Little old man at the window stood,
Saw a rabbit running by
Frightened as could be.
"Help me, help me, help," she said,
"Before the huntsman shoots me dead."
"Come, little rabbit, come with me,
Happy we will be."
The Icelandic lyrics are basically the same except that Santa Claus takes the place of the old man and that's what makes it a Christmas tune here in Iceland. So it is probably British in origin. Anyway, a beautiful tune. I hope you enjoy the video and wish you Happy Holidays.
With one solo performance under my belt (my solo debut on the Reykjavik Jazz Festival last month), I was invited to perform solo piano during a lunch break at the international music conference You Are In Control. It was definitely interesting to perform my compositions sort of as a cocktail pianist, with movie directors and music industry people networking and chatting all around, wondering if I was too loud or maybe not being heard. It wasn't a concert but not just for ambiance either. It remains to be seen if I actually reached any ears.
I attended some of the workshops and lectures being offered, in search of inspiration or ideas to reach a wider audience. Máni Svavarsson, composer for TV show Lazytown; Ralph Simon, head of London based Mobilium Advisory Group; and Sigurjon Sighvatsson, producer and owner of Palomar Pictures all talked about one having to believe in oneself. (I must mention that I got a kick out of how Simon kept pronouncing Máni's name "money." He is, after all, the composer bringing in the most royalties in Iceland.) Alicen Schneider, NBC gave insights into how music is selected for scenes on TV shows (so of course, I handed her a couple of CDs and said that Heros needed Icelandic jazz), and listening to Hampus Kivimae, Sony/ATV Publishing Scandinavia made me rethink whether I should get a publisher. (read more…)