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Saturday, February 28, 2004  

Orchids II by Alexandra Werby
Orchids II Alexandra Werby

Today, at last, I'm off to the
The Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival 2004.

I will bring my trusty rig with me.
I hope to get some excellent shots of the orchids
for a future canvas...
I have two paintings on my agenda:
My son's 18 year old portrait,
and, of course, the orchids...

The scent is calling me with curving dancing fingers...

Till next time... 'Mela

7:59 AM

Thursday, February 26, 2004  

What a night!

My friend Hiroshi took me to The Sumida Triphony Hall
to see The Jan Garbarek Group.

The MC, Peter Hohensee, came out and delivered in his most elegant voice,
the message:
“Welcome, thank you for coming out tonight, and now
The Jan Garbarek Group”

And out they came,

Jan Garbarek- soprano, tenor sax
Ranier Bruninghaus- piano, synthesizer
Eberhard Weber- bass
Marilyn Mazur- percussion, drums

True to form, there was a minimalist air about it-
There were no excesses; no blathering on about each song-
In fact, there was no speaking at all.
Just music...

The set was decorated with a white tent pulled and stretched,
each lighting change bringing about a subtle new element to the constantly changing puzzle...
At one time, it resembled the Northern lights.

The set list:

Trollsyn (J.Garbarek)
Conversation (L.Shankar)
Goin’ Home (J.Garbarek)
Malinye (Don Cherry)
New Bein’ (J.Garbarek)
Last Stage (E. Weber)
Brother Wind March (J.Garbarek)
Hu Hai (J.Garbarek)
Molde Canticle (J.Garbarek)
Voy Cantande (J.Garbarek)
Mission (J.Garbarek)

This was my first time to see The Group.
The previous performance I saw was Jan with the Hilliard Ensemble- a four part vocal group.
Together they performed Gregorian Chants, and original pieces of a classical nature- using the acoustics of Opera City,
Tokyo, it was completely accapella.

Last night's performance was a whole 'notha smoke!

Each musician was individually splendid,
and collectively, magical.

Listening, I felt as if in a dream, or a storm, or a tribal dance,
or some whirlwinded escapade...

I was proud to be part of the listening experience.
And imagine my happiness to meet
Jan, Ranier, Eberhard & Marilyn after the show...

I got a few words with each of the members,
and the very dashing MC,
and signatures for my new CD .


Till next time... ‘Mela

9:01 AM

Wednesday, February 25, 2004  

The Passion of Christ opens today in most theaters except here in Lilliputia,
where Christ has no billing...

I wonder if it's only a small coincidence that it opens on the first day of Lent...

I will see The Jan Garbarek Group tonite...

Till next time... 'Mela

1:01 PM

Sunday, February 22, 2004  

It all started for me while visiting my family in upstate New York
in the summertime...
Being in Tokyo 11 months of the year,
when I go home, I shop.
This particular year,
I was elbow deep in what has to be
a staple of American life:
the discount music bin.

I can't figure this out,
as a jazz artist myself,
why such great material is placed in bargain bins,
while the trash that passes for popular music is sold at high prices.
Who knows.
Who cares.
It cooks for me, Jim...

I found a tape of Carmen McRae sings Monk,
which blew me away!
( I saw this concert at Carnegie Hall
before Carmen recorded this work!)

I kept searching...

I came across a tape with minimalist artwork-
Titled "Works" by Jan Garbarek.

Jan Gabarek

With no knowledge of this artist at all,
I had a psychic feeling about this tape.
I bought it.

Upon listening to it,
I became an instant fan.

This album is a collection of tracks put together to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ECM label.
Artists playing include: Charlie Haden, Egberto Gismonti, Palle Danielsson, Bill Connors, John Taylor, Jack DeJohnette, Arild Adnersen,
Edward Vesala, Ralph Towner, Nana Vasconcelos, Terje Rypdal,
Jon Christensen, and Babo Stenson.

Jan Garbarek is a woodwind player
from Oslo, Norway.
His technique is ethereal:
His soprano sax sounds like birds flying, or a sirens wail...
His tenor sax sounds as if he were singing from a mountain top...

I have bought a few other works of Garbarek's since:

"All Those Born With Wings"
"Visible World"

Last year, Garbarek appeared at Tokyo's Opera City
with The Hilliard Ensemble.

The performance was absolutely mesmerizing.
I added the 2 CD work to my collection.

It is entitled MNEMOSYNE.

On Wednesday, Feb 25th, The Jan Garbarek Group
will appear at Sumida Triphony Hall, Tokyo.

I will be there...

Till next time... 'Mela

10:27 AM

Friday, February 20, 2004  

J Dougall
Oriental Vases & Orchids -J. Dougall

My show went well last night.
It was nice to be singing
overlooking Tokyo at night,
with all the lights at the Dome...
I'm looking forward to the Orchid Festival
that starts there this Saturday.

Tickets to the New York Yankees vs. The Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
first game of the season to be played here
at The Tokyo Dome have all been snapped up...
No surprise there.
I guess I'll just have to wait to see the boys in pinstripes
on their own turf,
in The Bronx...

Oil is Earl.
Earl is Oil.

I am there...

Till next time... 'Mela

2:09 PM

Wednesday, February 18, 2004  

I'll be appearing at the Tokyo Dome Hotel's Artist Cafe tomorrow night, Feb 19th.

Joining me will be the magnificent Tom Pierson,
on piano.
It has been awhile since I've played this room,
ascending to the top, the 43rd floor-
Combined with Tom's piano and my voice,
and the lovely view of Tokyo-
A nice recipe for a night out...

Till next time... 'Mela

2:36 PM

Sunday, February 15, 2004  

I saw the most excellent movie last night-
Late last night.

It was called
Ship of Fools

It was a movie that I haven't seen the likes of in a long, long time.

The story is of a German cruiseship
leaving Mexico bound for Germany.
It is 1931.
Some of the best lines ever:
Lee Marvin's character, a drunken baseball player,
brashly states to Vivien Leigh's character,
an ostrich feathered, aging coquette:
"I've had a bad case of diarrea for weeks now"...
She replies:"How interesting... Tell me all about it."
The following pause was priceless...

All the actors and actresses were mesmerizing.
The story was riveting.
Truly, I kept thinking to myself,
Why haven't I seen this before?

I found Mel Ferrer's character to be abrasively annoying.
But that was his role as a future Hitler
Simone Signoret was hauntingly beautiful...
A very young George Segal...

This movie was made in 1965.

Watching this film I kept thinking,
this is great...
The acting was so different than today's films.
Somehow it had more gravity...
It was an adult film without swearing or nudity.
The story, the acting, the costumes
and cinematography were all top notch.


A complete treasure...

Till next time... 'Mela

7:43 PM

Saturday, February 14, 2004  

Raining Hearts

Parlez-moi D'Amour

Parlez-moi d' amour
Redites-moi des choses tendres
Votre beau discours
Mon coeur n' est pas las de l' entendre
Pourvu que toujours
Vous répétiez ces mots suprémes
Je vous aime
Vous savez bien
Que dans le fond je n' en crois rien
Mais cependant je veux encore
écouter ce mot que j' adore
Votre voix aux sons caressants
Qui le murmure en frémissant
Me berce de sa belle histoire
Et malgré moi je veux y croire

Il est si doux
Mon cher trésor, d' etre un peu fou
La vie est parfois trop amere
Si l' on ne croit pas aux chiméres
Le chagrin est vite apaisé?
Et se console d' un baiser
Du coeur on guerit la blessure
Par un serment qui le rassure

-Jean Lenoir, 1930

This has to be my favorite Valentine's Day song.
This recording is by Lucienne Boyer.
It was recorded in 1930.
The first time I heard this song
was on the soundtrack of the film Henry and June.

This story is based on the
Parisian writer Anaïs Nin's
journals of her relationships with Henry Miller,
the American writer, and his wife, June, in 1930's Paris.

Lucienne's voice is hypnotic on this chanson...

Happy Valentine's day!

Till next time... 'Mela

10:35 AM

Friday, February 13, 2004  


Thanks to my sister Debbie for sending me this one.

Although there is not so much the same snow situation
here in Tokyo,
I too have this same sentiment.
But one good thing on the horizon is
The Japan Grand Prix International Orchid Festival 2004 .

Held in the Tokyo Dome,
it will start Saturday, Feb 21st, until closing on Sunday Feb. 29th.
This will be my forth consecutive year to attend this festival,
it is an event I look forward to.

A perfect way for the non- skiing set to forget winter
for awhile...

Aside from viewing the flowers,
I love "Message from Orchids" a fragrance sold at this event.
I am curious to see what new fragrance they come up with this year...

Till next time... 'Mela

10:58 AM

Tuesday, February 10, 2004  

'Liberté' Copyright Pamela MacCarthy 2004


I’d like to present my newest computer art piece, Liberté.

Till next time... ‘Mela

12:13 PM

Wednesday, February 04, 2004  


Pansies remind me of my late grandmother,
Ethel Mae Myers.
Today was her birthday.

She was a great person who taught me a great deal...

She was an independent woman, long before it was en vogue-
She worked in women's fashion, retail.
She was a widow,
my grandfather was quite a bit older than her.
She used to drive to visit me and my three sisters every Sunday.
She'd take us for long drives in the countryside.
I still get chills thinking about our trips along the cliffs of the
Shawangunk Mountains, going towards Ellenville...
In the Autumn, my grandmother would take us
to the lovely Hudson Valley apple orchards,
for a bushel basket of McIntosh's.
Every Autumn that comes and goes since, I remember that...
I remember her stories,
of her girlish days...
She took zero guff from anyone.
I always admired the way she dressed-
Her beautifully tailored wool suits, silk stockings, and her granny dynamite style handbags and matching gloves.
Her scarves, and simple yet elegant jewelry.
Her hair was always so neat and stylish.
Her favorite perfume was Ma Griffe by Carven.
She was always feminine, and in control of things...
She was patient,
but don’t you dare think about crossing her.
She taught me how to drive on her standard shift
1967 Volkswagon Beetle.
Her words: If you don’t listen, you don’t drive.
I listened.
She was one of the people in my childhood whom I had a genuine respect for:
I learned by her example.
She left me her beautiful Amethyst birthstone ring,
and as much as I adore it,
I'd trade it in a minute just to talk with her again.
She loved me and my sisters equally.
She was a stickler for fairness-
She always made sure she gave equally to each of us,
both in attention and gifts.
Each of my sisters loved her as much as I did.
We all still do...

On her birthday, I’d like to offer this tribute to her memory.

Thank you, Gramma...

Till next time... ‘Mela

11:57 AM

Tuesday, February 03, 2004  

My gig at Jazz Spot “J” is one week from today...

This photo was one of many from a great story written by one of my greatest friends here in Tokyo,
the late Corky Alexander.
It was called "JAZZ: Gaijin musicians who make Japan home."

As well as being a great friend,
Corky was also a great jazz fan,
and his stories of his adventures with jazz artists of his day were legendary.
He was eager to promote foreign artists living here in Tokyo,
and I was one of his favorite subjects!

I'll have his stories, both written and told
to remember him by-
But Corky, there will never be another you!

Hope to see you at " J " .

Till next time... ‘Mela

9:04 AM

Sunday, February 01, 2004  

"The Plum Branch"

In Japan, the spark of hope that is Spring
lies in the buds of these February blooming plum branches...

A few February's ago I attended an Ume (plum) Festival
in a nearby town to where I live.
There were a variety of plum trees,
and beautiful potted plum bonsai,
all situated in a park setting.
It was an unseasonably warm day,
as I remember now, packing my pastels and watercolors,
preparing for my session...

I put down my small tarp to sit upon the still very cold ground,
and began to work.
One thing about me while working-
Once I get started,
it sure is hard to stop.
Not even the cold creeping in seemed to stop me...
Hours later, my work was finished.

Using oil pastels and watercolor,
and water proof black ink,
I was satisfied with my result.
I loved using that combination.
Oil and water bead,
so the contrast I got was interesting to look at,
as well as fun to work with.

I got a bad case of the flu as a result of my eagerness
to bask in the "Spring" weather...
I have worked un plein air on many occasions,
but I honestly prefer my home/studio-
Now, I enjoy working mainly in acrylic gouache.

I adore the texture of it, the cleanliness of it-
It is water based, with no toxic qualities to worry about-
And the maneuverability of it-
It has the properties of an opaque watercolor,
but the solidness of an (plastic) acrylic .

So, on this first day of February, I present:

The Plum Branch.

Till next time... 'Mela

9:18 AM

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