How have you been reacting and dealing with everything that has been going on in recent days?
It’s such a challenging time; sometimes it’s hard for me to stay optimistic. But it’s inspiring to see so many brave young people working towards a better and more just society.
What type of music have you played and listened to as a way to process with feelings of loss, heartbreak, and uncertainty?
Music is the primary way I can feel inspired and hopeful. Fortunately, there is such a wealth of beautiful recordings on YouTube as well as many online concerts. Recently, I’ve listened to live Facebook performances by many great Brazilian musicians: Marcos Valle, Ivan Lins, Joyce Moreno, João Donato, Roberta Sa, and Monica Salmaso. I’ve also been delving deep into the work of jazz pianists Duke Jordan and John Lewis because I’m transcribing material for my piano students.
Who are the people you’ve turned to for support and inspiration?
I’m constantly contacting my old friends in New York.
Can you share a snapshot of your daily routine and how that has changed from three months ago?
My daily routine has been totally upended. Like many others, I’m spending a lot more time at home. I have two children, so a lot of my time is consumed by them – there’s not a lot of personal space. There were a lot of things I had been looking forward to – performing with my Bossa PDX band at the Jazz & Oystersfestival in Washington, seeing my baby nephew in Mexico – these things will all have to be postponed until further notice.
But, I’m grateful that I was able to perform a tribute to the bossa nova guitarist/composer Durval Ferreira in February at the Jazz Forum in Tarrytown; I released an album of his music in 2019. Also, I got to travel to San Francisco to see an epic Sergio Mendes concert this past fall.
What’s your most recent conversation or a simple experience that made you smile? It’s really easy to do something to delight my little one, and that fills me with joy. Dyeing Easter eggs, making Jell-O, cutting out paper numbers, letting him roll out dough, surprising him with a chalkboard in his room – these are all things we’ve experienced during the quarantine.
Can you tell us about the life of an artist in Portland, OR? Who are some other Portland based artists whose work you support and enjoy? Portland has a lot of really great musicians (like many places, there are more musicians than gigs). One of them (and I’m biased, of course), is my husband, the multi-instrumentalist George Colligan. He does a Facebook Live concert every Sunday. George and I both teach at Portland State University, where there are great pianist/composers like Darrell Grant and Ezra Weiss. (I also teach at the University of Portland). What about lessons, can you share with us a couple of lessons you’ve learned from these remote work and virtual world events we have all had to manage in recent months? To be a bit tongue-in-cheek, I’ve learned that there is no such thing as screen time limits! #BeatTheBlues – What do you do to take care of your mental health? Taking a walk outside is very therapeutic – it’s important to remember to go outside a bit each day rather than spending so much time online. To avoid loneliness, we’ve been having some socially distanced performances outside our front door, where neighbors can sit several feet away on the lawn. It also lifts my spirits to transcribe music for my students, whom I see via Zoom. Your favorite word of the day:
Chocolate-chip brownies 😊 Tell us one of your projects you are proud of and can’t wait to promote live. One of the things I am most excited about is “Music of Brazilian Piano Masters: Donato, Pascoal, Salvador.” For this project, I am collaborating with two wonderful pianists from Brazil who live in the Pacific Northwest: Cassio Vianna and Jasnam Daya Singh. We want to honor some of the legendary pianist/composers of Brazil who are still alive today. This project was funded by the Regional Arts and Culture Council; it was supposed to be a live concert and presentation, but due to COVID-19, we will be putting it together virtually. During my last trip to New York before the quarantine, I got to meet Dom Salvador, who is a wonderful person, pianist, and composer. Cassio, Jasnam and I look forward to highlighting his work. Thanks and good luck!
To read more about Kerry you can visit her website here