Why do you learn so many languages, including Chinese? Are they somehow related to your music?
Actually there's many reasons for me taking interest in studying languages. It is easy for me to learn them ;). I like to communicate with people in their native languages. It is practical to know foreign languages, especially major world languages like English, Mandarin, French, Arabic, Russian or Spanish. More than ? of the world population can speak at least one of them? Learning different concepts of grammar (English, Arabic and Chinese are very different ways of expressing thoughts) teaches you how ways of thinking can be different. This is probably the most fascinating part of language studying. I think my scat singing is also influenced by different phonetic systems I get to learn studying different systems of communication.
Why is the "snake story" such an important part of your performance? What is the meaning of it?
This is a story I like to tell because it's a kind of a fairy tale about grown-ups for grown-ups. This is an atypical story of love with a typical drama which makes it very universal in its message. After all love is a global concept everybody can relate to. Being in a long standing relationships, getting bored and consequently interested in people other than our partners or husbands and wives and all the jealousy and anger attached to these situations? Those aspects of any relationship between man and woman are something everyone can or will be able to relate to in some way at some point in their lives. This is what makes a perfect choice for this particular story. It simply touches the subject of human nature.
As for the relation of the "snake story" with my music, the music is an interactive layer to the way I tell the story. I do it in a different way every time according to the character of the music that is always and completely improvised in that part of the concert. The music also follows the way I tell the story or sing it, so depending on the mood we are in, this story has many faces. Sometimes happily funny, sometimes gloomy and melancholic.
I chose the story because it helps me to remember that nothing in live is forever even if we care to preserve it.
You told me you are a music teacher and your job is to instill certain attitude into your students. What kind of attitude?
I?m an academic teacher although I?m teaching less and less. The most important thing that I want for my students to realize is that the music should always be an individual form of expression. It should focus on one?s inborn abilities as well as skills acquired in life because of the way human personalities are built. Many artists suffer from comparing themselves to the ideals they are trying to follow. The artistry of many young musicians suffers from consequences of copying styles of other artists. Everybody knows that no one can become another person, yet, in music, some people seem to forget about it. The most important element of the ideology of jazz music is the focus in the individual nature of every human being. This is from that nature that all originality in art should be taken. Learning by copying is an important part of the process. However, one cannot forget about how extraordinary we are and that the whole beauty of being a jazz musician (an improvising musician) lies in developing our own music worlds that are based on felling comfortable in producing sounds as well as the overall pleasure from making music. Expression in music through jazz is a very personal thing. I tell them: ?Don?t allow anyone interfere with what gives you pleasure and ease of expression in art?