Hello Beauties,

The last post I put up on this blog was back in October when I'd just returned from Florida and the search for my birth father. Since then, there's been loads going on. Those who have signed up for my newsletter already know that some exciting events are coming this winter. Before I get to the business of this post, here's a quick recap for those of you who aren't on my mailing list (but who really should be ;)  Sign up here ).

1.) Our short documentary on that search for my birth father, Lisa and Isell, is out now. Directed and Produced by Angela Tucker with Cinematography and Editing by 3-time Emmy award winner Bryan Tucker.  

2.) Angela and I co-wrote an essay on the search we both undertook looking for our birth fathers entitled Institutional Racism and the Rights of Black Fathers for a digital Harvard Law symposium.

3.) Our jazz standards album, Lisa Meets Gianni with the iconic jazz legend Gianni Cazzola was released in June on Ropeadope Records; you can support Marco and me and help us to continue making music by picking up a copy here.

4.) We will be presenting some of the new material from NoteSpeak (Dodici)our upcoming album *humungous drum roll with a loud cymbal crashing*  at the Bienalle in Venice on October 7th as part of the Loophole of Retreat, a 3-day symposium which is part of Simone Leigh's exhibition at the US Pavillion.

This summer feels like the before times. Non-stop gigging. Audiences have been numerous and enthusiastic, everyone eager to congregate and share an evening. It has been glorious and made even more so by the visit from my friend Dionne Draper.

Now... Here's something I know about artists. Though we are all interconnected, when we meet certain members of our tribe, relationships that seem almost preordained, our work is elevated.

I'm often asked how I choose the subject matter for my writing. I always answer that inspiration is everywhere; frequently,  it is humans who inspire me. People whose work and discourse plant a seed that is nourished in their company until something unfurls and, eventually, blooms.

My British friend Dionne Draper and I met online when Italy was still on lockdown in 2021. Dionne, a transracial adoptee,  has written a wonderfully moving one-woman show about her adoption and growing up in a predominately white community called Dawta. She had received a grant to expand on the show, found me online, and asked me if I'd like to write with her. At our first zoom meet, we clicked instantly not only because of our shared experiences but because of some mysterious alchemy. The adoptee community is full of people I admire. It is an incredible experience to commune with others who have been on a similar journey, but that doesn't necessarily make for an instant deep connection. I've been lucky because I've recently found three people with whom I feel a tie that goes beyond our similar experiences. 

Dionne and I have spent many hours online creating together. We've discussed our stories, brainstormed on our separate projects,  written music, worked on her script, and shared a glass of wine. In June, she came to Italy so that we could continue this work in person. 

When Dionne stepped off her plane and we embraced, it was as if my long-lost sister had returned. As I type this, I realize that sounds hyperbolic, but that doesn't change the fact that it's how it felt.

                                                                                                  Dionne and I at the airport in Verona.

After a total of zero rehearsals, we gigged together...

...wrote, swam, explored, and she added her voice to the upcoming NoteSpeak(Dodici) album. Between meals and adventures and the odd prosecco...

...we continued brainstorming on a collaborative project. We talked and laughed; I felt a kindred spirit connection that energized and inspired me. It was a buzzy time with all synapses firing.

All this to say, I'm reflecting on the act of creation and feeling grateful for the new friendships I've made with Dionne, Angela Tucker, and Michael Buonocore this last year. Because of their extraordinary projects, vulnerability, and exacting standards regarding their work, because of a benevolent universe that allowed our paths to cross, my own work has been elevated. 

I'm wishing for each of you encounters with sowers of seeds like these three that stimulate growth and joy.

Do check out Dionne's show (and stay tuned for our crazy great idea coming to you soon), support Angela's groundbreaking work, and enjoy Michael's podcast, The First Michael. Who knows, they just may bring forth something in your own garden.