Thursday, 27 November 2008

vocal lessons in Tassie with Jane Edwards


my mantra today is:



besides filling my days in Tassie with creative writing, painting and photography, I thought I'd do fans of PGLM a favor and really treat them to a much better vocal performance by Puteri, this season. Puteri needs to take some responsibility for the enhanced magic, after all! I squeezed in weekly lessons with Jane Edwards, one of Australia's most highly respected sopranos, who worked very hard to get my vocals "up to scratch".

This is Jane's bio:

Jane Edwards is one of Australia's most experienced and acclaimed singers in an unusually wide range of repertoire. She appears regularly on concert platforms throughout the country, and has performed at all of the leading Australian music festivals, including Melbourne, Sydney, Huntington, Barossa, Adelaide and Perth. From 1990 to 1994, Jane was a member of The Song Company, and she currently teaches at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Jane has given numerous world premieres, creating the role of Milena in Michael Smetanin's The Burrow, and appearing with Synergy in Jonathan Mills' Ethereal Eye (also on ABC Classics CD). She has a formidable reputation as an interpreter of early music, in frequent collaboration with our foremost baroque experts. In addition, she regularly performs lieder and chamber repertoire in association with leading musicians including David Bollard, Marshall McGuire, David Miller and Geoffrey Lancaster.

Her solo recordings include the soundtrack for Paul Cox's film Cactus, CDs of Martin Wesley-Smith's Boojum! and Carl Vine's The Battlers. She can also be heard in the Oscar winning film Shine and the Gold status Swoon II Collection. Her most recent releases include the early Italian disc Salut! (March 2000 early music recording of the month for UK Classic FM), On a Poet's Lips with Marshall McGuire, and Haydn vocal works with Geoffrey Lancaster. Also awaiting release are two discs of Scarlatti cantatas with Rosalind Halton.

Career highlights include many engagements with both the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and solo appearances with the Danish National Radio Choir and Stockholm Bach Choir. She performed in the Victoria State Opera/Melbourne Festival production of Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, toured nationally with British baroque orchestra Florilegium, sang the Soprano Evangelist in Arvo Pärt's Passio, in the presence of the composer, appeared in recital within Paul Keating's lecture at the University of NSW, and performed with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in celebration of Peter Sculthorpe's 70th birthday.

2001 saw Jane continue her association with Australia's leading musical organisations. She appeared as soloist with the Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Festival, Ten Days on the Island Festival in Tasmania, Brisbane Biennial and Melbourne Autumn Music Festival. 2002 will see performances with Sydney Philharmonia, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Queensland Orchestra and Musica Viva Australia.

Jane will also continue recording projects for the Artworks Label.


To my peeps…

Tiara J’s back in da house!

Friday, 14th November, I boarded my flight home from Melbourne. I must say the first taste of Malaysia Airline’s Satay and to hear Bahasa Malaysia being spoken during the in-flight announcements only confirmed how much I missed the home country. Watching Asha Gill during the KLIA arrivals video filled me with such excitement that I was so near already.

Well, I arrived the day before I had to open our second Starmaker Musical Bootcamp at Ten On Ten Studio, Ampang. Last year’s Bootcamp was run by Sean Ghazi, Pat Ibrahim and Reza Zainal Abidin. This year, we brought Steve Rahman-Hughes in early, and he brought along with him his mate, another UK-based actor who’d starred in several plays including Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar and had also worked with The Royal Shakespeare Company, Matthew Cross.

Tbc, stay posted. Meantime, these are photos from the Bootcamp…

Friday, 7 November 2008

Tiara J's photo journey in Tasmania part 2

these shots were taken at sunset on Ocean Beach, Strahan. We had been driving all day through Tarraleah, Zeehan and Queenstown to get here and the weather wasn't the greatest today, so I was told I wasn't going to get the sunset I'd driven all the way out west for, but the "degil" in me insisted on giving it a shot anyhow, and guess what? The clouds parted just for a few seconds to give me these gorgeous shots...

After spending the night in Strahan, we boarded a yacht called "Stormbreaker" for an overnight cruise on the Gordon River. (Photo from their website)

these shots are probably one of my favorites from this trip mirror image shots of pristine World Heritage Wilderness on the mighty Gordon River, at sunrise (yes, approx. 6.15am - and i never, ever do sunrise, usually). We were on our way back to Strahan by this time, and it was tricky framing and focusing my lens on a moving yacht, but i'm quite pleased.

i woke Dani up at sunrise to keep me company, and his pay-off was the opportunity to do some kayaking on the Gordon River. Poor kid was freezing, but he says it was absolutely worth it. Where we had parked the boat overnight upriver, the water was absolutely calm and still in the early hours. I have beautiful pictures in my mind for my next meditation session. Unless there's a new fatwa out proclaiming meditation is haram too. (I can't believe the news from back home about yoga being proclaimed haram - have these people even spent a minute of their time doing any yoga at all? okay, i won't get into that, not right now anyway. Heavy sigh.)

these shots were taken at Heritage Landing and Sir John Falls, on our cruise back to Macquarie Harbour. What intrigued me was the water looked like tea, which contrasted beautifully agains the greens of the forest. The tannin was from the tea tree and the red soil that's native to the north-west of Tassie.

this is me blissing out in paradise... just me, my camera, my faithful turquoise winter jacket, my now famous hiking boots, and a world of solitude around me.

Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the kind words of encouragement, guys! It really does appear that I've become quite attached to my little Nikon D40x now... still, the camera cannot quite capture everything the eye sees somehow, it's just so much more beautiful in real life.

My sojourn through this fascinating state 42 degrees south of Australia has opened my eyes to many things I seem to have taken for granted before, or passed by in a hurry without stopping to appreciate, all this time... the wonder of God's mighty hand. And more so here in Tassie, where time seems to really have stood still for centuries, and commercialization hasn't weaved its ugly spell upon this land. I shudder to think about whether Hasting's Cave or the National Forests would have been infested with souvenir stalls, people hawking t-shirts, plastic toys, jagung bakar and artificially colored drinks if it was in Malaysia instead. Worse still, if we could have the same respect for our own national heritage and not litter our forests and picnic areas, or insist on carving names on trees and paint graffiti and rude words and symbols onto the walls of our beautiful caves.

My heart bleeds when i think of my own beloved Malaysia. Where could we have we gone so wrong? I hate to point fingers at our education system alone, but it seems to have grown into a much more complex problem now, with a don't-care attitude that reflects just how little we seem to care. It's worse when i see first hand how other people in a state that's far less developed compared to Kuala Lumpur, can have successfully impressed upon her citizens the importance of being socially responsible. It amazes me to see public toilets in the middle of absolutely NOWHERE, reasonably clean, (with tissue paper too!) - it really just takes a moment after all to think, "ooops, my piece of toilet paper missed the bowl... aiyah..pick up lah, otherwise someone else will have to." instead of thinking like everyone else and thinking, "no one else would have bothered, why should i". It only takes a spark to get a whole fire burning.

There i go. This was supposed to be about photos wasn't it. Stop ranting, Tiara! Here are a few more photos i took through our journey in Tasmania, which after 3 1/2 months has seen us cover almost every square inch of the state from north to south, east to west.

In one week's time, it's gonna be "back to Life, back to Reality..." for me. Ah well, I'll always have these memories with me, and who knows? I may miss it enough to return for more.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Tiara J Danced Wit Da Stars in Melbourne, yay!

two nights ago, whilst in Melbourne, i watched the Australian semi finals of Dancing With The Stars at Global Studios in SouthBank, as the guest of the show's musical director, Chong Lim, a Malaysian who has lived in Oz for 30 years.

Not only was i floored and completely awed by the music and the awesome band, i was so impressed by the quality of dancing and the slick production of the show. I had Mila with me, and we were both watching a soap star, a footballer, a boxer and a kids' show host contend. We were rooting for Charlie Delaney from Hi-5 (for sentimental reasons), who unfortunately got voted out :-( but..... The star of the show that night, whose name got mentioned more times than anyone else on the show, was the show's Musical Director, OUR very own Chong Lim! Chong and his band of flawless musicians pulled off 19 songs in one show, from James Bond Themes to Prince and J.lo with only a week's preparation, amazing...

At the end of the show, i met up with this amazing guy and told him i wish i had a huge Malaysian flag in my hand that i could wave around from where i was in the audience. I was so, so proud that night. Of all the most talented musicians in all of Australia, and on the most popular TV shows watched by almost all of Australia every week, here was OUR HOMEBOY, YEEEEAAAHHHHH!!!!

read about Chong's most impressive bio here.

Chong Lim - Biography

Dancing With The Stars musical director Chong Lim is one of Australia's most-experienced musicians, working as a producer, musical director, arranger, keyboardist, sound programmer and composer for internationally renowned talents.

While he had been playing piano since the age of seven, Lim had never touched a synthesizer until he was twenty years old. He began playing in bands while studying Mechanical Engineering at Melbourne University, and then had his first break, joining Venetta's Taxi and then The Eurogliders, culminating in getting the seat in John Farnham's band in 1994 and most famously became John's Musical Director.

Lim has worked in the music business now for over 20 years turning his passion for music into a lifelong career. He has heard his work played at the Olympics Games, felt the excitement of being on stage in front of tens of thousands of people and his work has flowed over into television working on Australia's highest rating television programs.

He has also worked with the who's who of music, from Kylie Minogue, Olivia Newton-John, Tina Arena, Paul Kelly, Dame Edna Everage, Sir George Martin, Boz Scaggs, Jermaine Jackson, Anthony Callea, to Delta Goodrem, Tina Arena, and Christine Anu.

Lim was involved in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and he was Musical Director and Composer for the recent Closing Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

His passion for music turned to television when he signed on as Musical Director on the television program Don't Forget Your Toothbrush. Since then he has appeared on countless television programs and celebrated his 10th year as Musical Director for the Logie Awards.

Lim is more prominently known for his work as Musical Director on Dancing With The Stars which he has been involved with since it premiered. Chong is also the musical director for It Takes Two.

He was the Musical Supervisor for the stage production of "Dirty Dancing" and also helped orchestrate Guy Sebastian's album 'Taller, Stronger, Better' while Guy was starring in the first series of It Takes Two.

Later that same year he also composed music for the Opening ceremonies of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

He produced David Campbell's hit album 'Swing Sessions' with a full orchestra recorded mostly live and they reunited to produce "Swing Sessions 2" which went platinum and was top 10 on the ARIA charts.

Not one to be idle, 2007 was an extremely busy year for Lim. In addition to providing Musical Direction on It Takes Two series two and series six and seven of Dancing With The Stars, he produced David Hobson's album "The Promise", was Music Director and composer for "Citrawarna", a Malaysian cultural event in Kuala Lumpur May 2007 and worked on Kylie Minogue's H&M Shanghai Launch April 2007.

In January Chong Lim was made an Australia Day Ambassador 2008.