Sunday, July 5, 2015

Pheaturing Sara Serpa

Hey there, welcome back to Peverett Phile Geneys for a Sunday. So, did you have a happy Treason Day yesterday?    Haha.  So, America celebrated 4th of July weekend by looking at pictures of the royal baby. What is more American than losing your mind over a tiny foreign baby? Nothing! Princess Charlotte was out doing her thang, you know, having a christening ceremony at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in front of hundreds of adoring fans and photographers. The young princess managed to stay very calm and collected even though she was getting a lot of attention. Probably because she's a little baby and has no idea what is going on around her. Even Charlotte's older brother George thought, "Wow, my little sister is one chill baby."  A movie theatre in Ohio made a huge mistake. Five kids in Middletown, Ohio were traumatized by a movie theater mix-up, and the woman who brought them is as angry as a personified cartoon emotion. Jazmyn Moore posted a story to the Facebook page of the "Journal-News" about an incident that happened at Danbarry Cinema. She took five young kids to see the new Pixar movie Inside Out, an inspiring animated film about a little girl and the emotions that live in her head. Instead, the theater accidentally screened Insidious: Chapter 3, a horror movie about a teenage girl whose soul is gradually eaten by a demon. Then again, both movies are about girls, and they both begin with "Insid," so they're basically the same. Right? Anybody? Moore wrote in her post that “I got our money back but the damage is already done… my children are terrified and keep asking questions." That's too bad for her, but answering awkward questions is part of being a parent. Sooner or later, their bodies will begin to change and they'll want to know when their eyes will disappear. It's called The Talk, look it up.  Are you kids watching Wimbledon? The most exciting thing to happen at Wimbledon was this guy's bonkers hairdo.

Tennis spectators around the world, it is time to crown your hair-king. Behold the teased beauty of this man's enormous up-do. Surely, it took many hours to achieve a look of such precision messiness, but he's probably been perfecting this disaster hairstyle for a long time. Perhaps he's been waiting years for his hair's moment in the sun, and thankfully, that moment is now. We should all strive to express ourselves as boldly as this man.  A library denied a girl entry to a robotics class because she is a girl. Cash Cayen tried to register for a robotics class at her local library in Timmins, Ontario, and was denied because she was a girl. However, since we live in a modern age, she started a petition on with the following opening line: "Because today I tried to register for the robotics session that our local library is offering and was refused based on the fact that I am a girl." She's received over 30,000 signatures already, and has also been granted access to the class following an apology from the library.

The only thing better than the positive end to this young Canadian girl's story is the fact that the man who signed the apology letter has the last name of Doody. I hope all feminist struggles are resolved this swiftly in the future.  So, I have some good news and bad news. The good news: the Associated Press recently revealed the existence of pizza farms, which are farms that make and serve pizza on their property, using as many farm-grown ingredients as they can. Pizza eaters come with their own drinks, blankets to sit on, and even plates and napkins. Then they lay around on the farm grounds, chowing down on pizza and just enjoying the heck out of life. I know that this seems like the vision of perfection, but according to the Associated Press, "Running a pizza farm isn't all idyllic." If the Associated Press wasn't an organization of such high repute, I'd assume this to be a LIE, because running a pizza farm is obviously the best thing in the world. But, the AP reports, many pizza farmers deal with stiff regulations... in the case of one pizza farm that makes its own cheeses and sourdough crust, they were only able open to the public for a few weekends and holidays because they were dealing with so many inspection issues. If you want to go to a pizza farm, you're going to have the best luck finding one in the Midwest, especially Minnesota or Wisconsin. Or, if you live in Central Florida, you could start your own pizza farm and invite me over. Just sayin'.  So, on the Discovery Channel starting today it is Shark Week, and I just happen to have a shark related story. YouTube user/brave person Hillary Rae uploaded a video of her cage diving experience on a trip in South Africa, when the cage she and her friend were in got attacked by an 11.5 foot Great White shark. Half of that length is the height of Robert Downey Jr., so this shark attack was basically like being attacked by two RDJs, if RDJ had monstrous teeth and could breathe underwater and very easily kill you (and not just with his sweet bedroom eyes). According to Rae, after the shark was done with the cage, "The round buoy attached to the side of the cage was bent in half. Some of the lining of the outside blue barrier bar was bitten through as well." Nope. No. No thank you. Yes, I know that swimming with sharks in a dive cage is safe, and no, I still don't want to do it. Even if it is just two Robert Downey Jrs. Just in case you're wondering, here is a screen shot of the shark...

Girls, have you seen the movie Magic Mike XXL yet? If not Disney... the greatest company to work for ever... is rereleasing some of its animated movies with a Magic Mike like scene. And here on the Phile, I have an exclusive screen shot.

I don't know if he's showing her the world or something else.  Yesterday was July 4th as you know, and on that day an old George Washington painting that has never been seen was revealed.

I don't know what to think.  Well, it's summer and most of you will be hitting the beach sometime. If you do, you might see someone wearing this bathing suit...

Ummm... You've seen the Apple Watch, now witness the Apple This-Is-Why-We-Started-The-Neighborhood-Watch. Okay,and now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Phive Similarities Between Bristol Palin's Pregnancy And Ted 2
5. Is already being called "a huge disappointment."
4. Its making was a real labor of love.
3. Is a sequel nobody wanted but everyone expected.
2. Features a nearly human, deeply unlikable protagonist.
And the number one similarity between Bristol Palin's pregnancy and Ted 2 is...
1. Is a springboard for lots of weak sex jokes.

if you spot the Mindphuck I am sure you will let me know. Okay, as I said on the Discovery Channel starting today it is Shark Week. well, for the last few years I have introduced you to a character who also happens to be a shark, and a very funny one at that. So, please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Feargal, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Feargal: Horrible. People only care about me one week out of the year.

Me: I'm sorry. Okay, so, do you have any jokes for us?

Feargal: Who was the first shark elected president of the United States?

Me: I didn't know a shark was elected president so I don't know. Who?

Feargal: James K. Shark.

Me: That's stupid, Feargal.

Feargal: What was the sharks favorite Orson Welles movie?

Me: Ummm... I don't know.

Feargal: Citizen Kane-i-kokala.

Me: I do not get it. Another?

Feargal: What is my favorite B-52s song?

Me: "Rock Lobster"?

Feargal: No, "Love Shark."

Me: It's "Love Shack." Shack, not "Love Shark," Feargal. Okay, we have time for one more.

Feargal: What is a shark's favorite smell?

Me: I don't know. What?

Feargal: Human blood.

Me: That's not even funny, Feargal. Go back into the ocean.

Feargal: Okay, bye. I'm fin-ished.

Me: Feargal the Shark, everyone.

Okay, today's guest is a jazz singer from Portugal whose CD's are all available on iTunes. Her latest "Kitano Noir" is a live album she did with jazz legend Ran Blake. Please welcome to the Phile, the lovely... Sara Serpa.

Me: Hello, Sara, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Sara: Very good.

Me: I have to say, I think you are the first guest I ever had here from Portugal. You don't live there anymore, right?

Sara: I have been living in USA since 2005.

Me: Where in the U.S. do you live?

Sara: I live now in NYC.

Me: Do you still have family and friends Portugal? I bet you go back there often. I am originally from England, but since 1987 only been back twice.

Sara: I go back twice a year at least. I have many friends and family over there. I love Portugal.

Me: Did you know English before you moved to America, Sara? How long have you been here in the States now?

Sara: In Portugal you take English classes since you're at least 13 years old. It's mandatory. So, yes, I knew English before moving here.

Me: You went to school in Boston at Berklee, right? I bet that was an experience. What course did you take, Sara?

Sara: I went to Berklee College of Music for 3 semesters and then moved to New England Conservatory, where I did my Masters in Jazz Performance. It was a great experience, I've had amazing teachers.

Me: Now you are in New York, how do you compare Boston to New York?

Sara: New York is the city that never sleeps! You constantly feel the urge to do things and move fast. In Boston it's more peaceful, there aren't any distractions...

Me: What city are you from in Portugal?

Sara: Lisbon.

Me: How does Lisbon compare to New York or Boston?

Sara: Lisbon has nothing to do with the american cities, of course! Everything is different there. It's a beautiful old city, amazing light, and I can say that people have a great quality of life in Lisbon (although they never realize that until they move out).... I miss it.

Me: It seems every time I interview a jazz musician they are either from New York or based there. I bet you know a lot of them, right?

Sara: Kind of...

Me: Let's talk about your music, Sara. I downloaded your albums from iTunes. Your first one is self titled, but you are are playing as Sara Serpa Quartet, and the second one "Praia" is just you. What happened to the quartet, Sara?

Sara: The quartet is in Portugal and I am in the States. The first album was kind of an experiment, the first time I went to a studio to record my music. The musicians were amazing but I was terrified. 

Me: Your song titles are both in English and Portuguese but you are not singing in either. How do you determine what language the song titles are gonna be in?

Sara: I think that at some point, and although Portuguese is my language, I started wanting people to understand what the title of my tunes mean, specially the musicians with whom I play with, so I started giving them English titles... but it's been a bit arbitrary. It depends on my mood, I guess.

Me: You are kinda scatting on the albums, Sara. Do you make that up as you go, or do you write the words... if you call them words. Explain your singing technique.

Sara: I like to hear the sound of the voice, just as it is. I call it singing. I don't feel it's scat, but I don't have any specific name for it. It's like when you hear instrumental music... you kind of imagine the instrumentalist is talking to you through sound, but there aren't any words either. It's up to the listener to be involved with the music and creative as well.

Me: I have to ask you about the title "Praia." What does that mean?

Sara: It means "Beach." The song recalls the beach where I spent my summer childhood and teenage times, in Portugal, in Sintra. I grew up used to the presence of the sea and ocean shore in my life, and I definitely need it to be happy.

Me: And that album cover. Where was that taken? I have to show it here...

Me: I don't like to get messy myself, and it looks like you are covered in sand. Was that fun? How long did that photo shoot last? It looks like torture to me.

Sara: It was easy and quick. Basically we just got a bag of sand from the beach, spread it on a table... nothing very difficult. It's like when you're at the beach lying in the sun.

Me: Let's talk about your latest release "Kitano Noir." It's you and Ran Blake. How did you two first meet?

Sara: Ran Blake is a very important piano player, in the history of jazz. He was my teacher at New England Conservatory. We met in Boston, he's a very mythical figure over there. Everybody would mention Ran Blake in very respectful and admiring way. I heard him playing a solo piece at the Jordan Hall once, a tribute to Jaki Byard and was immediately fascinated by him. I think everybody should listen to his two albums with the vocalist Jeanne Lee... "The Newest Sound Around" and "You Stepped Out of a Cloud."

Me: Did you like recording with somebody else?

Sara: I liked recording with my other teacher and amazing musician, the pianist Danilo Perez... I have learned so much watching him in studio. He's an incredible artist, composer, improviser... And with my quintet, for the new album that's coming out in September.

Me: On "Camera Obscura," you first studio album you did with Ran Blake you are singing actual words, which makes it easy to understand. Who did the songwriting on this album, you or Ran?

Sara: On "Camera Obscura," we chose some jazz standards, one song of mine that is based on a poem of a Portuguese poet, and two songs of Ran... so it's a combination of originals with old jazz songs.

Me: Do you play an instrument, Sara, or do you just sing?

Sara: I play piano as well.

Me: Before you became a singer you studied psychology, which I am sure being a singer you get to date more. I went out with a psychologist about twenty years ago, and all she did was analyze me, which makes it no fun on a date. Anyway, what made you choose professions? Did you secretly want to be a singer for a long time?

Sara: Dating has nothing to do with what you choose to do in your life. Music was just the natural path for me. It happens that I use my voice as my instrument, but it could be anything else. Music involves many aspects in your life, not just the singing aspect.

Me: When did you realize you could sing? 3 years old?

Sara: Everybody can sing...! We are musical creatures by nature.

Me: You never heard me sing, Sara. Okay, what's next for you, my dear? Are you and Ran planning a tour, and will your next album be with him, someone different, or just yourself?

Sara: Ran and I will tour in 2015, probably a few dates in Europe. I have a new album coming out in September, called "Coast to Coast." It features a group of NYC based musicians that I love: André Matos on guitar, Kris Davis on piano, Ben Street on bass and Ted Poor on drums.

Me: Thanks so much for being here. Why don't you go ahead and plug your websites and anything else you want to. I wish you lots of luck, and hope you get to come back to the Phile soon.

Sara: Thank you for having me here!,,

Okay, kids, that about does it for this entry of the Phile. I am tired, hungry and starting to get a headache. Anyway, thanks to Sara for a great interview. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Emanuel Lundgren from the band I'm From Barcelona. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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