Artistic Authenticity

This lifestyle is simultaneously exhilarating and maddening. Sharing a moment with an engaged audience is pure energy- The feeling obtained when writing a song, or performing is nothing short of magical, when in commune with oneself and the intangible the feeling is inexplicable, it’s something like meditation I think. The utter beauty of creating something where once there was nothing… At the same time, the attempt to create something of profound value, to speak truth with originality. The constant work on improving technique, on pushing oneself forever further. Disheartening and entrancing. Frustrating and joyous. Yin and yang. 

Photo Credit Konstantin Tosunyan

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Memories, Lemonade & Brotherly Love

It is unreal the number of people who have told us how much we look alike. Though I’d love to be as handsome as he, we just don’t see it. People seem to love the idea of siblings sharing the stage and here in Italia family is, well- FAMILY. Though our bond is deep, and I think that’s what people are really responding to, familial resemblance has nothing to do with it. That would be down to our shared childhood. You know how going away to camp as a child draws children together so quickly? How fighting side by side in a war or as a volunteer in the wake of a natural disaster creates a sort of instant bonding? People who go through life altering or traumatic events together develop an impenetrable solidarity. 

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White Parents, Black Child: A Transracial Adoptee's Two Cents

 But what are you going to do? Five minutes after meeting them stress the importance of the extra responsibility these parents must face having adopted a child of color? Encourage them in a few seconds to be vigilant in helping that beautiful baby to know, to really know that she is beautiful? Prevail upon them to celebrate her color and compel them to help her to install a fierce, strong, stable, sense of self? Warn them of the arduous road ahead raising a black girl in a predominately white society???

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How is a spiritual jazz spoken word hipster project born and what kinda definition is that?? Part 1

The myriad occasions that we almost met make me want to believe in fate. I think that’s true of almost every couple, especially when newly in love and thinking of all the events that needed to happen so that your historic meet might take place. The same holds true for bands that are formed organically; it seems such kismet that circumstances conspire to bring together all of the elements that then produce magic.

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Dancing one step forward, two steps back

Reflecting on the past 10 years. To those who filled me up when I was running low, Thank you. All I strive for is to scatter beauty, seed joy, cultivate creativity and compassion - in the way that all of you have for me. I remain hopeful because today’s youth are fierce, committed, empathetic & motivated, demanding change every day & making strides. I remain hopeful because there are millions of people: like songwriter Peter Mulvey, artist Kayhan Irani, artist Millie Chen,  Pixar Wonder Woman Danielle Feinberg, poet Saul Williams - who outnumber the warmongers, the power-hungry, the racists, the tyrants, the misogynists, the homophobic, the bullies, the despots. We outnumber them. We can yet turn the tide. 

  Writing at Ritmo&Blu Studios in 2010.

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Giddy Giggly

There’s a part of me that just wants to move to a little house down the road from my mother in Shreveport and set up house, spend as many hours as I can making up for those lost. Hear her stories. Make her laugh. Learn each other. Then there’s that other thirsty part of me that is so excited, so giddy giggly with the way the NoteSpeak project is progressing.

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Something is brewin' on the NoteSpeak train and lovely Russians

'We cannot but send our compliments to the musicians, because the material turned out at the same time to be incredibly solid and as versatile as possible. They've brought together classics and avant-garde, modern instruments with acoustic, aesthetics of jazz and the energy of electronic music with amazing ease and authenticity.'  DA Vision Saint Petersburg

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Firsts - Back from a deep deep dive Part 4

My first birth family face to face meet. First time meeting Rhonda, Casandra, and their families. First time decorating a Christmas tree with my mother. First time lying in a darkened room and feeling her breathe next to me. First time pajama party sharing confidences and laughter with them all.  First teasing and laughing until we cried. First cuddles, kisses, hugs and mingled tears of an entirely different nature. First meals shopped, cooked, and eaten together. First forays into the world as a family. 

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Sedaris? You wish! Back from a deep deep dive Part 3

At the top of the page on my note-taking app when I began this trip, I wrote: “Clarity, transparency, regarding this account, is paramount. No sugar coating- think David Sedaris.” Sedaris! I wouldn’t blame you for accusing me of overreaching with that comparison, you all would be so much happier, I imagine, if I had his remarkable ability in painting an amusing yet touching anecdote out of all this.  Nonetheless, I can only really tell my own story, and I’m so grateful to my new found blood family for not only allowing me to tell it but to encourage me in “testifying”, in sharing this story for the good that it might bring.

 Mom and her sisters. Silver, Sammy, Selber, Shirley, Stella, Grandmother Laura Berenice White Small, Grandfather Selber S Small

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Love is in the details- Back from a deep deep dive Part 2

I admit to being, if not skeptical, a bit wary of effusive claims on me by these blood relatives who I did not know, but spending time with them, the intimacy of that time, the luxury of sharing it- brought home how true that love is and how deeply it runs.

Mom, Katherine in her lap,A space I see of where I might have been, my older siblings Rhonda, Casandra, Dwayne, and Randolph

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Back from a deep deep dive. Part 1

Just back from visiting my birth mother in her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. Back from meeting my birth sisters, an aunt, cousins, my nephews, their children for the first time. Back from stepping foot in the historically dense South, a region I had long sworn held no pull on me. Back from a deep deep dive.

Shreveport Mural "Once in a Millenium Moon" produced by a team of professional artists and 2,600 community painters under the guidance of muralist Meg Saligman.

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Hipster poseurs everywhere - Bamboozled!

Where my people at? 

Hipsters - Really the meaning varies depending on who you’re speaking with. A definition on Urban dictionary suggests…“Hipsters are a subculture of American consumer for whom the idea behind the marketing holds more value than the product being marketed.”


Guitarist Simone Boffa, Drummer Cesare Valbusa, me, Sommelier Silvia Revello, Chef Matteo Mangiorotti, Pianist Marco Cremaschini, Guitarist/Singer Christian Codenotti Photo- Saviolam

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