May 22, 2017

Chrysalis Video Reveal Time!

As always, worthwhile plans take longer to put into action than you first think.  When I first thought about embarking on a project to write new compositions and collaborate with other women, it seemed like it would be a straightforward path.  However, when you work with other people, have family responsibilities and have the challenges of different geographic locations (me in NE of Scotland, just about everyone else in London!), you can’t ever make a fixed timeline work. You have to learn to be patient and flexible.  Not really how you’d describe me. Haha. Sometimes, things seem to go so slowly that you think you’re never going to get there. I guess it just makes it all the more worthwhile when you do, right?

So, after months of writing and collaborating with Janette Mason, the songs are now written and we’ve also spent time with some fab musicians working through the material, refining and developing them even more. It was such a delight to work with a group of accomplished, generous, enthusiastic and communicative women.  I can’t express just how special it was to spend time with them!  Between them, they brought years of experience and lots of ideas.  The ideal people to collaborate with. So thank you Janette Mason, Julie Walkington, Sophie Alloway and Josefina Cupido.

Having fun making some new sounds.

Having spent only a couple of days rehearsing and working through some of our material as a group. We then spent a day at the Hideaway Jazz Club in London, filming and recording several songs for marketing the project.  The videos will be posted over the next little while but here’s a little taster for you, this is the compilation promo video:

Now the work is on to bring it to an audience. So watch out!

Cindyx

October 14, 2016

Creative Scotland Award for Chrysalis Project

Hi all

I’m delighted to announce that I was recently awarded funding by Creative Scotland for a major project I’ve embarked on. This is the first time I’ve ever applied for funding and wasn’t that hopeful that I’d be successful, so was overwhelmed when they gave me their decision.  Have to say that the application was gruelling, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  However, even if I hadn’t got the award, going through the process was definitely worthwhile as it forced me to really focus on the content and purpose of my project.

Background

For some time, I’ve felt a burning need to say something more in the songs I sing.  Something about the issues that really concern me, as a woman, as a mother, as a citizen of this world with it’s many problems.  I get angry, upset and frustrated, like I’m sure many of you do when we see the abuse, violence and ill treatment of people happening because of their gender, their race, their sexual identity, their religion, the list goes on.   Seems to me that though we’ve made massive technological advances, we’ve made little progress when it comes to our humanity and understanding, sometimes it even seems we’re moving backwards becoming increasingly intolerant, dividing ourselves instead of coming together.  I’m a political animal and I feel my music so far hasn’t incorporated this important part of who I am.  The songs I’ve been singing, although I cherish them, have been generally focussed on being in or out of love.  Now, love is something we all need, life is nothing without it but that’s not all there is!

The Project

I’ve been writing lyrics for a while now but wanted to create some original songs that focus on some of the issues that matter to me, particularly gender, identity, equality and the female experience.  I realise there’s a fine balance here between entertaining whilst raising issues and avoiding spouting from a soapbox.  A big influence on me is soul/funk music of the 60’s and 70’s which did this so well, so many great songs from that period, the grooves and hooks carried the sentiments in the lyrics.  So I’m also using this as an opportunity to explore different sounds and experiment a bit, leaving it open to going in a new direction musically.  There will always be some jazz in there though!!

Why Chrysalis?

The working title right now for the project is Chrysalis.  God that was a hard one to decide on.  How I laboured over it!  Trying to find one or two words at most that encapsulated what it was about?!!  In the end, I felt the word Chrysalis best expressed what this work means to me and where I am in my personal development as an artist.  I don’t know what I’ll be when I come out the other end of it.  Will I be  colourful like a butterfly or dull like a moth?!  Have I set myself up? 😉

Collaboration

I’m really pleased to have on board musician/composer/band leader Janette Mason who brings a wealth of experience from pop to jazz.  I feel so fortunate to have such a generous, accomplished and committed guide to help me on this journey.  Janette is co-writing as well as being my Musical Director and Producer, so it matters a lot that she feels equally passionate about a lot of the issues I’m writing about.  It’s been an interesting and sometimes uncomfortable process developing a collaborative relationship with her and I’m learning a lot!  You have to be honest and open to criticism, difficult at first but it’s getting easier. 🙂

Another objective of this project is to work predominantly with other female artists as I’ve generally been working exclusively with male musicians.  I like working with guys but I wonder how different the experience with women will be?  Plus I’d like to share the platform with other women too, we need to support each other.  I could present lots of stats on the numbers of women in music, how their presented, how few are included in festivals, etc, etc, but that would take up a whole other posting!

Links

If you want to check out Janette and the exciting stuff she’s been working on, including work on her next Trio album. Go to the following:

http://www.janettemason.com

Also, I’m now on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’ll be sharing links to things that are inspiring me:

https://www.instagram.com/cindydouglasmusic/

https://uk.pinterest.com/cdouglas0525/

I’ll share more as time goes on: plans for performing, recording, including visual art, expanding into education, etc.  I’ve a lot going on in my head but I’ve also got to get writing those songs!!

In closing, please feed back comments.  Let me know if there are aspects of the Project you’d like to hear more about.

Love & peace to you.

Cindyx

August 2, 2016

Days of Wine and Roses

Supposedly it’s summer, though looking out my window right now it’s hard to believe. However, there have been some lovely days and I’m so fortunate to live by the beach here in Stonehaven. As you can see, my dogs love it too!

Summer 2016 Stonehaven Beach

Summer 2016 Stonehaven Beach

Time passes so quickly but we have to seize the moment and enjoy those blue skies when they do appear. This Sunday coming, I’m back at Drum Castle to play jazz on the lawn. This is my fourth year and we’ve managed to get the sun each year so if you’re in Aberdeenshire, come join us and hopefully find the sun too! 🙂

The following Sundays (14th & 21st August), I’ll be playing in fab pop up ‘The A Club’ which is taking residence in the Merchant’s Hall in Edinburgh for the duration of the festival. Ardbickie Distilleries, those makers of very fine gin, are operating the venue. This is going to be a unique venue where we performers get to give you a full performance, rather than the typical one hour slot’s elsewhere. Those who’ve attended the fringe in previous years will be familiar with the pressure on venues to get their audiences in and out as quickly as possible for a show of one hour or less. In this glamorous venue, the audience get to be seated at tables where they’ll enjoy table service and a menu of delish food and delectable cocktails (sadly I shan’t get to try those till after gig). Not only that but you get to relax for several hours escaping the frantic rushing around from show to show happening elsewhere!

The A Club

My show takes place over lunchtime (12.30pm) so I’ve put together a special set list to reflect the ambience of the venue. I’ve called it Lush Life, after Billy Strayhorn’s song of the same name and which, of course, is included in the set list along with songs such as ‘Peel Me A Grape’ by Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough’s ‘Small Day Tomorrow’.  That gives you a flavour of what to expect. It’s going to be fun!  I only wish there were a grand piano to drape myself over! 😉

Check the events page for links for booking.

Hope you’re enjoying life and listening to lots of great music. If you’re looking for some recommendations, here’s what I’ve been listening to recently:

David Hazeltine’s ‘I Remember Cedar’ (tribute to Cedar Walton)
Aly Keita/Jan Galega Bronnimann/Lucas Niggli ‘Kalo Yele’ (World/Jazz Fusion)

Curtis Lundy ‘Against All Odds’

Brad Mehldau Trio ‘Blues and Ballads’

Enjoy and please keep supporting live music. We musicians need you, performances only really come alive when we’ve got an audience so you’re an integral part of what we do!

Cindyx

 

November 17, 2015

Winter EP – Snow Falls

Hi all

The winter winds have arrived and it’s getting to that time of year where I could eat my weight in chocolate! Every year around this time, as they grey descends, I start thinking how we really would be better off if we hibernated. Then again, who wants to miss out on the build-up to Christmas? Like most people though, I really only enjoy the build up so maybe we could hibernate after opening the presents and wake up again along with the hedgehogs? 😉

But what would Christmas be without some winter music? Ah ha, well, funny that should be mentioned because I’ve just recorded an EP of winter music in London with some wonderful jazz musicians. The very same line-up from my album ‘My New Jive’, Tim Richards (piano), Dominic Howles (bass) and Jeff Lardner (drums). The mixing has now been done and mastering is set for next week so will be available w/c 30 November.

The EP will only be released digitally but the door’s been left open for maybe a whole album of winter/spring music next year. So, if you know other people who are into vocal jazz and ensemble playing and like some chilled laid back music from some stellar musicians, how about buying them a download of the EP? I’m also getting some artwork done which could be used as a Christmas card so you could print that off and add the code for the download. Christmas present sorted! The website’s currently being updated so you’ll be able to link to the purchasing site directly from here. Come back next week and check it out.

That’s it for now. Keep warm and try not to eat too much of the carbs. There’ll be a huge price to pay come January otherwise when you might find yourself having to go pound some pavements with me! 😉

Cindyx

PS: If you want to hear more details about what’s going on or just want to make sure you’re not missing out. Why not sign up to the newsletter? Easy to do, it’s on the right hand side of this page.

March 6, 2015

March Update

Hi all

Eek, how bad am I.  Almost a year since I’ve made a posting!

I shan’t reflect on the highs of last year. It’s good to look back a little but far better to look forward.  I will say that I’m looking forward to doing more performances this year of the Lady Day and The Pres show, which was really well received at last year’s Edinburgh Jazz Festival.  Next performance is going to be at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival later this month with the wonderful saxophonist and 2013’s Scottish Jazz Award winner for Best Instrumentalist, Konrad Wiszniewski.

Another new show which has been in development and will be debuted at the same Jazz Festival in Aberdeen is the Jazz for Little Kids and Very Big Kids.  This show is all about getting young kids into live music and, of course, jazz.  We’ve got to keep developing our audience and you can’t start too early!  The show’s going to be full of tunes from the kids movies, such as Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Cars, 101 Dalmatians, etc and I’m hoping the kids are going to get involved and maybe their parents, grandparents too.  I’ve suggested to the guys that I’d like them to dress up for the show  but I’m either going to have to use a very big carrot or an event bigger stick.  Ha ha.  Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this, it’s going to be great fun.

I’ve also had a bit of a revamp on the website and have a new page where I can start sharing lyrics and poetry that I’m writing.  Would be lovely to have some feedback but please be kind.  It’s funny but although I’m a performer, I feel more naked sharing my writing than I do getting on stage!

Please also sign up for the newsletter where I provide more info on what I’m up to, other jazz happenings, who I’m listening to, offers, etc.

Thanks for checking in and enjoy every minute of every day whatever you’re doing.

Cindy x