About Leslie Darwin
Posts by Leslie Darwin:
It was an honor share the stage with incredibly talented authors last Monday night. Colleen Weems (The Ifs) Elizabeth Perlman (The Intuitive Writing Project), and Ariele Taylor set my heart on fire with their wit, vulnerability and creativity. In addition, Julio Reyes graced the stage with his guitar. Elizabeth Becker blew us away with her rendition of “On My Own.” It was all with the amazing support of incredible pianist Bob Athayde. We made over 1200 bucks for Terry’s Kids – a non profit foundation that provides music education to underserved kids!! Thanks to everyone who came out. In addition, thanks to fantastic friends who served Mojitos! xoxoxox Mark Bell did this super fun poster! If you can’t see it, it reads, “We’ll make your ears smile.” I think we did!
I think this typifies my existence for any of those who are interested — yesterday I cleaned out my closet. I’m very lucky to have lots of sparkly sequine-y dresses, so I hung those up. Then I drove to the Transfer Station (aka the dump) in my Ford F “one-fitty” and dropped off a load that could not be re-used or recycled. I was the only female there in the lovely stinky place. Then my son and I worked on a “water recycling” barrel (to counterbalance the use of the Ford F 150 and our drought here in CA)
Other dichotomy — lucky me, I had an audition with two awesome composers for a you tube they’re producing of a wonderful song. Did my best to spiffy myself up. Went to the audition. They were really complimentary and even offered me a session fee for my time. Feeling great as I walked out the door. Then got in my car and checked my rearview mirror to see a booger the size of a cricket hanging from my nose. Wow. I am so fancy. Such is the life of a sequined singer.
The people welcomed us with open arms and huge smiles. The interplay between the Cuban and American musicians illustrated just how much music is the language that transcends all cultures. What a treat!
Riding in a Cocotaxi – a cross between a vespa and an overgrown bright yellow football helmet!
Hanging out on the breezeway at the beautiful Hotel Nacional — watching folks from all over the world enjoy the malecon, also known as the 7 mile cement sofa, that overlooks Havana Harbor. (People come to the malecon to hang out, play music and enjoy the sea.)
Music with Terry Miller, Julio Reyes, Brian Nova, Alberto Faya, Russ Hands and others at gorgeous Havana venues including La Florida and The Hotel Nacional. Singing Moon River at Kadir’s villa with Julio Reyes, amazing guitarist. Kadir is a national treasure, an artist who comments on power and suppression by using iconic symbols.
At the nightly cannon firing ceremony with my dear friend and extraordinary pianist, Patty Strong Barrett.
Clowning around with my crazy producer in Cuba
We’re gearing up for Cuba. So excited to share music and art with this amazing culture. Americans include fantastic guitarist/vocalist Brian Nova. At a recent concert Brian said that playing music on stage with someone is like having a conversation. Lots of communication, lots of give and take. I like that.
CJ – How can I have a 14 foot Christmas tree while 14 miles from me homeless children are staying in a shelter.
CJ – The paper white narcissus came up today. They’re my father’s favorite flower and he’s the least narcissistic person I know.
CJ – I’m fascinated by the silence between the notes. Have you ever been in a situation where there was a collective breath in the audience when an artist finished a number?
CJ – Words you don’t want to hear.
A cute blonde walks up to me in spin class at the gym. “Congrats on your singing career. Do you sing for funerals, because my husband is in hospice.” Message here is that you just never know what’s going on in someone’s life. So the next time someone cuts you off in traffic, has 17 items in the express lane at Safeway or is a jerk in general…you just never know. The world is tough. Pray for Paris.
The Inner Game of Tennis – in this classic book, James Gallwey writes about how you always want to play a great opponent. You always want the opponent to play her best, so that you will be challenged. I love this idea. I always want to be the best I can be and the more talented the folks are around me, the better. How lucky am I to be wallowing in such talent. I also believe in positive sum gain… your success should lift me up too!!!
Crazy Juxtapositions is a part of the blog where I share with you the strange combination that is my life – It is just weird observations that make me go…hmmm. As you can see in the picture, I am wearing a crazy fancy dress (about which my mom (very direct always) teases, “Gosh, Les. Are you going to your prom?” and I’m sitting near a cyclone fence. I feel this is a metaphor for the world sometimes. The cyclone fence representing hardships that are around us, the fancy dress representing the fun, joyful things that are around us too. I am struck by the strange dichotomy in life. How can there be so much suffering — Ferguson, Syria, a homeless shelter filled with sweet babies near my home, and at the same time so much joy – little girls dancing in tutus during church, our sons being incredibly crude and cracking me up…beautiful music, dissonant sounds of sirens. We’re all in this together – as Ashley Judd writes in her beautiful book, in the bitter and the sweet – or as Roxy Music sang so long ago, “and the paper today tells of war and nuke waste and you turn it right over to the tv page.” How can we exist in this tension — this Crazy Juxtaposition?
So much has happened this last year and I am excited to look at all the new opportunities to explore in 2015. A quick re-cap of all that has transpired in 2014. We released the “Leslie” CD and recently distributed the album worldwide on Access Music Records, which would not have been possible without the help and support of Terry Miller Productions. We launched the new Leslie website to make it easier to listen to my music and purchase songs digitally via iTunes and Amazon. We have added many more features to the website so I can stay in touch with my fans through my blog and social networks. We added a photo gallery on the homepage (with music) and will soon be adding video’s. We also have an easy way to order a physical CD online via a sign-up form or the old fashioned way by mailing a check.
Special Thanks: I wanted to take a moment to thank all the people in my life that made this CD/Album possible. My go-to girls “The Women’s Spirituality Group“, who help me keep things in perspective. My fellow board members at the “Terry’s Kids Foundation” for bringing music and art to kids of all ages, and their support and encouragement of my music. My parents, sisters, and family, that laugh with (and at) me. My husband and sons who are the lights of my life. The musicians who played on the “Leslie” CD, who put goosebumps on my arms with their sound. My amazing producer Terry Miller, a friend who became the brother I never had. Thank you Terry for pushing and believing in me.
Much love to all!