Interview with Brigitte Beraha

In this episode I’m welcoming Brigitte Beraha, improvising vocalist and composer. She is one of the leading talents on the UK jazz scene and has recorded a number of critically acclaimed albums both as leader and as part of collaborative projects such as Babelfish, Solstice and Red Skies Trio, with the latest under her name, Lucid Dreamers, adventuring into the realms of electronic exploration.

UPCOMING GIGS: Solstice album launch – Tuesday 28th September 2021 & Babelfish – Sunday 26th September 2021 both at Pizza Express Dean Street

Connect with Brigitte:

WEBSITE https://www.brigitteberaha.com/

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/Brigitteberahamusic

BANDCAMP https://brigitteberaha.bandcamp.com/

YOUTUBE https://www.youtube.com/user/Berahamusic

SPOTIFY https://open.spotify.com/artist/1zVYx4cMHEkVqbkvEt2be4

Picture by Monika Jakubowska

0:06
Welcome, everyone. This is Aideen from confidence and singing and Today my guest is Brigitte Beraha. Ha, thank you for joining us. Brigitte. Thanks for having me. It’s absolutely delight to have you joining us because I’ve known you for many, many years. I follow your some of your music, and you’ve been my teacher as well when I was studying jazz music, and so I’m really excited to introduce you to everyone. I’m going to read out a little bit of your bio now, so to kind of fill in the gaps and let everyone know what you do. So Brigitte Beraha is an improvising vocalist and composer, and a leading talent on the UK jazz scene. embracing a wide variety of influences and genres. Brigitte sound is free and spontaneous, with an emphasis on exploration, expression, and fearlessly testing the limits of the voice as an instrument. Also top class educator Brigitte find an affinity for teaching during her studies in London, and now teaches jazz vocals at Guildhall School of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and the Royal Welsh College of Music. She also runs her own master classes. And Brigitte has recorded a number of critically acclaimed albums both the leader and part of collaborative projects such as Babelfish, Solstice, and Red Skies Trio. And we’ll talk a little bit more about your your more recent albums towards the end of the podcast. So welcome, thank you so much for joining me, we’re going to have a lovely chat.

1:34
the what I was wondering about, I suppose, is where you where you started with your singing, what led you to jazz music? Because I know you’re you, you’re not originally from London, correct? That’s right. Yes. It’s kind of a little complicated. I suppose. I was born in Italy. And for my dad’s Turkish, my mom’s half Turkish half English, but we moved to the south of France, when I was quite young. And so I grew up in the south of France, basically.

2:06
And in terms of the singing, yeah, when when it first started, it’s actually it’s actually started. Well, forever, I suppose. But in terms of being able to, you know, we’re talking about that before, but calling myself a singer not till very, very late.

2:24
But I was always really, really drawn to singing like, I think most human beings really singing, singing away. And I played the piano very, very, when I was about 11. I was my my dad was if I go back, my dad was used to be the piano player for a famous Turkish pop star in the in the 60s, late 60s. So I grew up. Yeah, so I grew up hearing him just play the piano for fun and singing with his quite raucous voice, let’s say so I was really drawn to that. And then I didn’t have piano lessons till I was maybe 12 or something 1112. But before that, I was always going to the piano and just messing around and singing, singing, you know, the Beatles in dire straits, and elton john, who was a big fan of. And it wasn’t until I actually moved to London to at the time, what I thought was going to be to do theater studies in my 20s. But then I ended up doing music for one reason or another, it was all kind of chance stuff as a piano player. And then I was in the choir, and then people seem to be more impressed about my singing than they were about my piano playing. So I was I just kind of moved to singing when as I was studying, not to so I was studying at Goldsmith college, undergraduate music, contemporary music, classical and contemporary music as a piano player, and then switched to singing in my second year. So I was in my 20s at that point. So I was basically very new, very new to singing. As you know, thinking about it professionally was was very late. Yeah.

4:29
Wow. It’s

4:30
so interesting to hear that I didn’t really know that full story and your dad basically played for a Turkish pop star. That’s fascinating. He did. He did. He gave he gave it a he gave it up in his early 20s and then went on to doing other things but uh, but yeah, so he’s very easy is a musician at heart really, even though he doesn’t play anymore. But that’s that was where I think I got my first love. Music from was just seeing him having fun playing the piano and singing, you know, and I wanted to the same. But it was always at that point, he was just doing it for fun. So I just thought that that’s what you do just do it for fun, which is a great way to to think about it anyway. But I never thought that there was something that one could envisage of doing professionally, really, that never crossed my mind till way later, you know,

5:27
interesting. And you took that, that that step to go to London was that what gave you the confidence to to decide to? To move to England to study?

5:38
Yeah, so I was I was actually studying, I was in, in Nice. In the south of France, studying law. And I was in my first year of law degree. It’s just I suppose what we’re saying earlier earlier, is just that I thought, that’s the kind of thing I suppose from my education, you know, just have to be a doctor or have to be a lawyer or and I thought that was something that I was also attracted to. But I understood very, very soon in that first year that hang on a minute, this isn’t for me, really. And growing up, I’d been I was passionate with with performing on stage as a more drama theater, I was doing quite a lot of that as a teenager. And so I thought my brother was already in London, and my mom was already in the UK. So I just fancied a change, really, I just wanted to, to see what what the what the world was like, outside of my little bubble. And it was either, you know, I wanted to go to a bigger city somewhere, somewhere that would be more anonymous. Because everyone knew each other where I was, it was kind of quite vintagey. Like, which is great. But yeah, so I thought either Paris or London and I thought actually, you know, Whitesides just just want to something completely big, drastic change. And that’s, I don’t know why I decided it, but it just, you know, it just eloquent. And so Oh, yeah, clicked. And so I just came to London, and the first six months, I’d say we’re really, really tricky in terms of readjusting, and learning to meet, you know, meet people. And someone, it takes ages to kind of get the confidence to get to know people. And so it was very slow start, but after six months, I settled in and I’m still in London now. So, yeah, it’s my home now. Yeah. Love. Wonderful.

7:36
I’m curious to ask you a little bit about the stagecraft that you would have learned in acting in your, in your teams. And, obviously, you were very interested in studying that as well. So you spend some time studying it? How does that lend itself to your music and performance?

7:56
Yeah, I think that’s, that’s a big part of it, for sure. thing, I was always as it always, always been quite shy as a kid and even now, so, the performing side of thing was a way of, of, of expressing myself in a way that felt quite safe, because it was just, you know, learning, learning some, sorry, my phone was ringing, learning some, some poems by by heart and, and loving to, to sort of express it reading books out loud. So learning about that, that kind of stagecraft on the on the stage, where I’m impersonating someone, but that sort of feeling through someone else’s story, you know, and expressing myself through that. I think that was definitely a step towards performing the music that I perform now, which feels more and more honest, if you like more intimate because you are not. Singing jazz is more about sort of expressing myself

9:11
as a personal isn’t as long as you’re writing your own.

9:14
I am. Exactly, yeah. And it’s not always autobiographical, by any means. But it’s a different. You channeling something? It’s a different energy, I suppose. But, but certainly doing the theater side of things has helped me get to where I am now. I’m sure of it. Yeah.

9:33
Wonderful. And one thing that I’ve noticed with a lot of my students is that a lot of my listeners are people who really love singing, but maybe haven’t had that education or maybe wanting to transition into doing it more either as a hobby or even professionally. And many non singers are beginner singers. underestimate the amount of time it takes to actually learn a song very well. And when you mentioned that reading out poetry or like learning poetry and learning, learning, like, for acting learning lines and things like that, I’d be interested to hear your take on this. Because in my experience, people think that they’re just going to remember the song, you know, and they often can remember a verse and, and, and fall flat. And so actually figuring out and listening and understanding a song and getting deeper into the song is actually something that I recommend, what would you say to someone in that in that position?

10:34
Yeah, definitely. It’s, it’s an interesting one, because I think as I got used to, to learning lyrics very quickly, because of what I just talked about, in terms of memorizing things, and reading things out loud, loud, when I went into, into singing, learning songs, I think I had that, that experience behind me where I didn’t necessarily connect to the lyrics that much, but I, you know, we’re all different. So I think I had a bit of a facility there, where I was able to learn lyrics very quickly, because, because my, my, my main, you know, because my memory was quite strong in that, in that respect, without necessarily connecting to the, to the lyrics themselves, because I was more drawn to the music beforehand, but I know that not everyone is like that. So I and now things have changed. Now I connect with the lyrics so much more than I used to. And some of my students who, for example, don’t have that, you know, we all have different experiences, it’s, I think, really important to kind of think about connect, connect, what is the lyric actually about? Sometimes I would, one of the exercises would be to, to write down the lyrics separately from the music actually go through that physical thing of writing the lyrics down, so you’re actually reading them, seeing them as you are writing them down. And then speaking them as you might have poem, or as you might an actor, you know, and and getting inside the meaning of the song understanding, what do those lyrics say to you? How do they speak to you? And by having that connection, then we’re more likely to, to feel them and therefore to remember them as well.

12:27
That’s beautiful. And that’s, I mean, such a great suggestion. And I really love that. And yes, everybody here is different things in a song, don’t they? Like some people? Like you said there initially, you would you kind of loved the music, or the whatever you were hearing beyond the lyrics. And I’ve noticed that if I get a guitarist coming to me for singing, that I have to draw their attention to something to do with the lyrics or something to do with the melody because they’re so used to tuning into the rhythm of the song and the harmony behind the song. For jazz music, I know it’s particularly important to, to pay attention like that in order to improvise. And I know from what for when I first started studying jazz music, I was like, oh, my goodness, how do we how does anybody improvise? How does that? How can they play a song and then just know what notes go with that song? Would you like to tell our listeners a little bit about the magic behind it, like how that actually comes about,

13:30
I mean, there’s so many different ways that ways of doing it really, if you’re connecting it to the letter that you can improvise, but just around the lyric, there’s one way of doing it even before you think about the harmony and the melody, although, and the rhythm, although that can all be hand come hand in hand. But if you just take say, if we continue with the lyric, and just take the lyric and look at it, edit edits natural rhythm when you’re looking at a phrase. So you could you could experiment with, with with taking this lyrics that you’re looking at, and then taking away the melody or the rhythm that is written on the page, and then seeing where the natural flow lies and just improvise with those lyrics. There’s so much that you can that you will be able to achieve with that. So for example, so if I say, for example, but that you know, you’re just, you’re you’ve got the natural flow of the of the lyric in there, and it’s really interesting when I speak to instrumentalists, some instrumentalists actually know the lyrics to songs to jazz standards as well because it makes them improvise in a in a different way. But what if we take the lyric, the lyric away and just look for a second at the at the heart more looking at it in a more musical perspective without the lyrics then you can so many different ways of doing it. I mean, this is Basically like you because you’ve spent years,

15:03
imagine you’re talking to someone who has never done yeah. Before. Okay, so, so basic level,

15:09
yeah, so you might. So what I would say you know you can do is if you can read music, for example, and you see that adjust standard, say some time written on the page and see how that might be written on the page and then compare it to what someone like Sarah Vaughn or someone like Ella Fitzgerald, how do they interpret that either with lyrics or without lyrics, that you will see that they’re going to change, they might change the melody a bit, they might change the phrasing of So for example, if you’re here,

15:54
Summertime,

15:58
and the living is easy. Then I go, summertime, and the living is easy. I haven’t changed much. But I’ve changed something. Right. And that means that I’m already, I’m already improvising there. So that’s just me. Changing the phrasing around a little bit, I’ve changed one note, maybe here and there. But that’s already making it a little bit different. And then if I look at it, harmonically, then you can also look at expressing choosing notes that are that are going to fit in the chords that you the chords of summertime, rather than thinking about the melody of summertime.

16:50
Yes. And that’s another level. Yeah, we might not have to go into that too deeply today. so confused? I mean, it’s because when you’re a beginner going into that, it’s, it feels like you’re completely just guessing. And I realized that for a lot of singers, when they start off, and they if I say, okay, hmm, and I say, okay, copy that sound, that like, ah! you know, that’s the basic of it, they can’t copy it, because they might have never actually made that note before. And I always say that it’s a bit like guessing, and improvising. That’s how I felt when I started. It was like, I was guessing all the time, and it didn’t really feel safe for me to do that. Sure. Yeah,

17:39
I think I think that and that’s why, you know, if you’re learning a language, if you’re learning, say you’re learning the English language for the first time, you can’t just learn it out of out of thin air, right? You’re you start by copying, you start by copying syllables, you start by copying words. And it’s the same thing, you know, with something that’s new with improvising. So when I first learn, when we first learn about improvising, we’re going to be listening loads to records, listening to how it’s done. And copy is the is the first thing is to copy to understand what the language is, to get familiar with the language itself. And that gives us then the confidence to then do it ourselves, and then start doing variations of the idea or, you know, and and the more we get into that, the more we start understanding what it is, I mean, when I when I first or anyone who first hears the improvisation might not even realize that it’s that what people are doing. Are improv, is improvised, or how much is it improvised? Is it is it comes from from history, and you might you know, what, when I say I’m improvising. Am I actually really improvising? I’m probably using some of the things that I’ve worked on before and then doing variations of that, you know, so it’s, yeah, just these things take time. But it’s always I would say, the first thing is really listening to it, getting into it, imitating copying, and then we can start transforming. And that’s when we how we get the confidence to do it. Yeah.

19:20
That’s a wonderful. Would you like to tell us a little bit about your journey with songwriting as well, because sometimes, I mean, I’ve had a few beginner singers that within two or three weeks of taking singing lessons, they’ll decide, okay, I’m going to start guitar now. And then a week or two later that I go, I’m going to write a song now. But for many people, that is another phase of having confidence in yourself. Did songwriting come easy to you or? No, not at all. I

19:51
mean, I remember the first time I actually wrote something was for one of my friend’s birthday when I’m going back to when we were like 12 years old or something. And I didn’t know how to write music, I’ve never done it before. And I don’t I don’t think it sounded very good. But it’s it was, it was like maybe four bars of something. And I tried to write it with all my limited skills. And I think I wrote it completely wrong. But it was, I think it is just doing it basically, is what I’m trying to say is just, it doesn’t matter where we are in our, you know, in our journey, and it’s being kind to ourselves and seeing, you know, what, what, how, what limitations have I got at the moment, what do I know, and then working with those. So there’s loads of different ways of going about, about songwriting, but I think, you know, you can start with so that’s, that was where I started, but then I didn’t do it again for like 15 years, you know, so So, so the process can be can be very different depending on, you know, what your musical knowledge is, as well. But this, yeah, there’s so many different ways of doing it. It’s, it can be about thinking, who is my, you know, my favorite, you know, if I want a songwriter, who do I love, and then listening to, to, to a song of theirs, and then seeing sort of analyzing what are they doing, you know, lyrically, first of all, if you’re going to be writing with with lyrics, how do they construct their lyrics? You know, is it is it really matter of fact, is it poetic is it just so just to understand where they’re, where, where these songwriters are coming from, and then again, getting that starting point of copying a little bit, the what they’re doing, if there’s like, a very clear bass riff, oh, maybe I can start with that start with a very clear bass riff, or, no, I’m going to write the lyric first. And then, you know, if it feels like it’s quite poetic, you know, I could one thing that you could do, for example, which I’ve done recently, and I love doing that is reading poetry. And then taking taking one phrase from here and one phrase from there and just writing it all down. And then just that one, one starting phrase can then get your your to write in a trigger in a certain direction. And then from there, once I’ve got this lyric, I might then think of a melody. I record everything as well, on is really easy. Now on my phone, you know, it’s just so that I don’t throw anything away. Even if sometimes I think I know, this doesn’t sound very good. That’s okay. I’m not gonna throw anything away, because I might come back to it the next day. And then, and then think, Oh, no, actually, this was quite nice. Or two months later, you come back to it and go, No, no, but that actually is relevant enough of this song that I’m writing now, that will work really well. You know, I mean, I know I’m going from one place to another because there are so many different different ways of doing it, and none of it is necessary is wrong, you know, you’ve we’ve all got certain, certain ways, certain ways of working, and I like having my starting points coming from different places, so that then I know that the less likely for the same thing to repeat itself. So start with a riff, or start with a chord, okay, if you don’t know how to play the piano, you could you could, or the or the guitar, you could do that. You don’t have to know necessarily what it is just play it and you like the sound of it, you’ve recorded it. And then you could have collaborations as well, there aren’t you might have some musician friends, that can then transcribe some of the stuff that you’ve just done by ear. Or you might have the lyric and collaborate with them writing the music for you, you know, depending on where you are in your journey. But don’t let your limitation stop you from from giving it a go.

24:08
That’s beautiful. And you did say there about being kind? Because it’s like, yes, you almost need to go. I’m going to try this. Even though I have even though I don’t know how to play music, or even though I’ve never written a song before, even though I’m not sure that sounds good. But to kind of stick with it. And would you put aside a time that you would spend like somewhere like would you say to yourself, okay, Sunday afternoon 3pm I’m going to sit down and write songs, or I’m going to play with my music.

24:43
Yeah, I try to definitely, it depends, you know, sometimes it just an idea comes and then you just have to sort of drop everything and just and just and just do it wherever you are. But certainly irregularity does it does help to to make things easier and quicker. So if I if I can, I will I tried to have your schedule where I, I will just be working on on songwriting or on composition. And I do know that the more I do it, the easier it gets, because you’re in the flow, for sure.

25:22
Yeah. Wonderful. And what would you say the benefits for you of singing are and music. I mean, even from, you know, mental health and, you know, there’s there’s a lot of there’s a lot of kind of hidden benefits that people might not acknowledge immediately. What What have you noticed more? Definitely?

25:44
Well, it’s, I’ve noticed so much, really, in terms of, yeah, in terms of well being in terms of confidence, it’s just the, you know, this, it has been proven, hasn’t it that just thinking just makes you feel better, just generally, that it’s a, whether you’re doing it in a choir, or whether you’re doing it with with friends or, or a band, or whether you’re doing it on your own? This is such a good way of release. And it’s such a great way of expression. I know that for me, it certainly is, I did notice that when I you know, especially during the lockdown when I stopped performing, certainly, that the you know, I felt that there was so much more tension in me. And the performance outlet and playing with others and sharing this music, the mute music, I say playing singing. And sharing this musical experience is very joyful is a very joyful thing. So not having it in my life is just doesn’t doesn’t feel right. Yeah, I think I’d say, you know, if you’re new to singing, just, it’d be really worth giving it a go. Even with backing tracks, you know, these days, you know, you can you can get back backing tracks to start with, and just just doing it, you know, without worrying, Oh, am I in tune? Am I not just do it and see how it makes you feel You know, and then of course, if you’re, if you want to learn more about singing, and get and be guided by a singing teacher or vocal coach, such as yourself, then do to give you a little bit of guidance as to how to go about it. So then then that’s the next step. But yeah, it just just feels great singing feels great. Just,

27:44
I’ve seen you perform, and it is a joyful experience when I see that joy, I really do. And,

27:52
and it’s also, I’ve noticed from for myself, you know, if I, whenever I’ve had sad times, in my, in my life, or for example, my you know, my grandmother passing away a couple of, last year. Just it’s life, but it’s also, you know, such a sad, sad moment, but then woo triggers this? Oh, I wrote a song, you know, and then I sung it and then that’s such a statement for her but also release for me, you know, and it’s just, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s an very strange but but beautiful thing that that’s it’s singing is a very personal thing as well, I think, you know, because the vocal cords are inside your body, and you just really feel it resonant in your body. So So it’s, it’s very therapeutic thing for sure. Yeah,

28:48
that’s wonderful. And, and I, I was listening to a lady talking about creativity and how important stories are to humans in general, you know, how our, we create meaning in our lives, and that helps us to, to navigate the, the emotions of the world and life and how important art and whether it’s music or you know, painting, how those things actually help us to express what’s going on in our heads and the meanings that we’re giving things and that is, it is a lot more therapeutic than, than our kind of critical mind can

29:31
fathom completely completely therapeutic for ourselves and therapeutic for others as well sometimes, which is such a nice feeling as well that you’re not just, well, you can just do it for yourself 100% but also sometimes to to know that, that it helps others as well in one tiny, tiny little way, you know, it’s it’s really nice that’s beautiful.

29:55
I remember, I remember before I kind of started sitting singing and Formerly, well, I had studied, I have taken lessons. But before I kind of took the leap to do full time in kind of do college course, I’d been at a karaoke bar and I sang. I sang a song called Papa, can you hear me, it’s a Barbra Streisand from Yentl. And a friend came up at the end and said, there’s a lady over there crying, because it’s about your father, you know, kind of longing for your father. And I was like, Oh, geez, is that a good or bad thing? But we can be surprised how, you know, just being in the moment and being in the emotion of a song and having it mean something to you can trigger that an emotional shift for someone else who may have experienced something similar

30:46
Completely? Yeah. Yeah, that’s that is. That’s, that’s really precious.

30:51
Yeah, it is. And before, I want to talk a little bit about your albums and the sound that you’ve picked to share, but I am curious, I had one more little question. You ever feel overwhelmed by emotion when you sing and if so, what do you do to help that? Because that can happen sometimes.

31:09
Yeah, I mean, I do. And I think, I suppose with with, with experience, you’re sort of learned to, to get to the point where, you know, especially when you’re on stage in front of others, and in I’ve seen, I’ve seen professional performers who just cry on stage, sometimes, you know, but I don’t think I’ve ever done that, I think you just sort of always sort of learned to get to the point where you just, you don’t you don’t allow yourself somehow to kind of go there, even though you’re very close. But I would say you know, if you’re if you’re practicing, if you’re singing on your own, and, and you know, a tear or two happens, let it you know, why not, there’s nothing wrong in crying, but but, you know, in fact, it’s, I mean, I’m not qualified to talk about these things, but in from personal experience anyway, if I’m at home, and then you sort of you’re, you’re, you’re letting yourself go 100% and then and then you end up crying, what a lovely release, actually. But then, as a, as a performer performing onstage to your audience, you, you, you, you don’t want to get to the point where your audience is going to maybe feel a little bit uncomfortable if you you know, someone will hand you tissues. Exactly. So then I think that’s just experienced, isn’t it of sort of knowing allow yourself to know that, if it happens, it happens. But But you know, your your audience is there with you anyway, you know, the, we’re in all of this together, but usually, you know, when you go on stage, there is always that thing where you go, okay, well, I’m still performing so so there’s, there’s this still this, this, this bit in you that’s kind of stopping you from going across, you know, even though you want to be honest and deliver really powerful and emotive performance if it’s appropriate for the song that you’re singing Yeah,

33:22
yeah, it’s almost I feel like it needs to have grasped some understanding of that emotion and conquered it in some way within yourself. That you kind of, I’m able to feel this pain because I’ve, I’ve kind of worked through it somehow within myself. And now I can say,

33:43
exactly, if it’s if it’s too painful, then maybe don’t don’t do it yet. You know, in front of an audience. Yeah, if it’s if it’s to raw for for one reason or another. And, you know, okay, every time I sing this song, that the moment I burst out, crying is just okay, well, maybe that’s a little bit too raw, that’s a little bit too too much to put yourself through that, you know, if you’re, if you’re standing in front of others, again, be kind to yourself and, and, and choose choose material that you know, is not going to be so painful in a way so that, you know, you don’t want to get into a situation where maybe you might feel you know, you never should but but you know, we’re humans… embarrassment or whatever. Oh, my goodness, you know. So it’s just also protecting ourselves a little bit in one way or in one way, isn’t it? Yeah. Wonderful. It’s not being completely bare. Yeah.

34:41
A little boundary between you and the audience. And yeah,

34:45
well, yeah, depends depends what you have to know what what your boundaries are. And there are some performers out there that might not let what might not want any boundaries. And that’s also absolutely fine. You know, you just have is knowing that, knowing what what your your own boundaries are and what you allow use where you allow yourself to go not so that then you feel confident onstage at that at that point. Yeah. Beautiful what you’re delivering

35:14
here. Let’s tell everybody a little bit about how they can find out more about your music and connect with you. I know you mentioned your Lucid Dreamers as your most recent album,

35:26
correct? Yeah, Lucid Dreamers. Yeah, that’s right. This is a new band quartet. So Lucid Dreamers is with electronics. It’s a little bit more, sort of not, I don’t know if it’s jazz release jazz jazzy, with electronic music, ambient music, and we released an album in July 2020. And then there’s another one coming up soon. But you can find all of the information on my website, which is brigitteberaha.com, where you will see gigs, online gigs or gigs,

36:05
real gigs, what I say in front of an audience and in workshops and things like that, if anyone’s interested. Yeah, absolutely. So everybody head over to brigitteberhah.com and sign up for the newsletter and stay in touch with them, Brigitte, the song that you’ve picked to share with us today and the man who cycled from India for love. Can you tell us a little bit about that song and because I know this is a sound that you do improvise on and not everybody’s maybe familiar with, you know, or understands what you’re doing there. Tell us a bit about that about that song and what it means to you. Yeah, yeah. Okay. So this is a from an album called the way home which is a project a duo album that I did with Frank Harrison, if you want to know more, I should say maybe also go on my Bandcamp page where you will find maybe more of those albums on there.

37:01
But that was the man who cycled from India. So he wrote the music first. Frank Harrison was an amazing piano player. And he asked me to write some lyrics. And it so happened at the time that I stumbled upon this article, which is about this man, Indian man who in the 70s lived in India, and he was from you know, the there are there are castes in India and from the lower caste. And so he was to to earn money, he was painting tourists. And he had when he was born, he was given this. He was told that the stars told him that he he was going to get married to this, this very alien woman. And so he didn’t quite understand what that meant. Anyway, he that he saw this, this blonde woman with blue eyes, who came to him to ask him to her to paint a portrait of her and he fell in love. She She fell in love with with him. But she had to go back to Sweden is where she came from. And so he was very saddened by that. And he but then he didn’t take no for an answer. He decided that he was going to with the little money that you had that he was going to buy a bicycle, secondhand bike, and so he cycled all the way from India to find her in, in Sweden. And they, they they got married. And when when so I so I was inspired by their story, which I thought was oh, my goodness is amazing. And so I wrote I wrote the lyrics to that. And and I actually found him on Facebook. So I sent him the tune that we’d recorded thinking nothing, you know, he wouldn’t get back. And so he got he got back saying we absolutely love it. And so they said all you have to meet our son who lives in London. And so I met him. And to cut a long story short, they came to our album launch, not by bicycle. But, and so we met the whole family that almost all of the family and the absolutely beautiful people. They wrote a book on his amazing story, actually, which I’m sure we will become a film at some point, but this is sorry, this was a long. it’s interesting. But But in terms of the in terms of the improvising, so you will hear me singing, singing the lyrics on this melody that Frank wrote. And then at some point, I come out of the lyrics and I start improvising wordlessly. So in this case, I think it was very much my idea of improvising was very much so the chords stayed the same. So we go around the same chords. But um, even though I’m singing without words in my mind, I’m still singing with the feeling of what the song is about. So hopefully that comes across and then the melody is improvised, basically.

40:05
Yeah. Beautiful! Oh my goodness, that’s such a fascinating story. We definitely want to find out more about them. Please do. cycled from India. Yeah. It’s so interesting you mentioned the astrology side because one of the ladies that I’ve interviewed for the for the for this podcast is my meditation teacher Calodagh, who is a Vedic astrologer. And so she doesn’t talk a lot about that in it but in India, that is much more respected, astrology, as as a form of almost coaching or mentoring that people would look at what what was happening and it’s I have an interest in that.

40:46
Yeah, well, this is very much that it’s fascinating that their story you know, it’s just it was all written in the stars for him. He has no doubt about that.

40:56
And that knowing that gave him probably a little bit more confidence to exactly yeah, it’s really really fascinating. Oh, my goodness, I could talk to you for another hour about that. So I’m we’re going to round everything up now. And I’m going to play your song, the man who cycled from India for love. Is there anything else that you wanted to say to our listeners before we finish

41:22
just just please enjoy you know, because it’s all about singing isn’t it and if anyone’s ever told you that you couldn’t sing or anything like that, just forget about that and just enjoy enjoy the process. Enjoy singing in such a lovely release in such a beautiful feeling. So yeah, that’s it.

41:41
Thank you so much for joining me Brigitte, we’ve had such a lovely chat. I really appreciate you taking this time.

41:48
I would recommend everyone look up Brigitte’s music, but also if you’ve been interested in jazz singing that she has her master classes and her teaching also and look her up on her website brigitteberaha.com. Thank you everyone for listening. It’s been a pleasure and we look forward to seeing you next time. Bye Bye. Thanks, bye

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