…and so I play…
Posted in music, soundscapes February 12th, 2014 by pia

PJB_pianoportrait_2014

Dear friends,

It’s been many years since I explored sound here on my blog. And many years since my very first public piano recording. With your enthusiasm and praise I shrunk away, too timid to try again in case the next piece wouldn’t be as well admired. Life moved on but the music stayed in my heart.

This year, in working to open my heart ever more, I’ve decided to play again. For me. And to share it with you. Freely. Each month in 2014, I will upload a new piano composition: My heart’s voice. Each piece will be recorded in my own home on an old wooden semi grand borrowed from a friend, complete with ambient sound from my home & neighborhood. With each piece I am striving to let go: Let go of perfection; let go of expectation; let go of self.

There will be mistakes. I will not edit the compositions. These will not be professional recordings.

I offer each composition to you freely – you can download them and add them to your music collection, to take with you as you journey in your creative life. I recommend listening to them with your headphones so you can hear the birds singing in the background, and the pedal creaking, the keys clicking.

At the end of the year, in its roughness, will be an album. Here is my first piece, titled Of Time & Light.

This is my heart’s voice.

With Love,

Pia xx

 

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Posted in music, nature, pia's photos December 15th, 2011 by pia

peony love, a gift from my sweet friend Kylie.

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sending a little thank you gift to a dear friend overseas. Handmade gift tag by paper boat press.
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clockwise from top left: gorgeous jute crocheted Christmas decorations in newspaper taxi; signed copies of My Heart Wanders & Paris: Made by Hand wrapped and ready to be sent far away; on the coffee table; the sweetest handmade christmas decorations from paper boat press.
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Since I’ve been less and less mobile over the last few months, I’ve been relying on my iphone to capture some of my day enhancing moments. I’ve been posting them on instagram, which has become my new favourite ‘visual blogging’ medium as I love the instant, intimate aspect of it. It’s been a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends near and far, see what they’re up to during the day in a visual way. Every now and then I post some images on facebook and twitter, and recently I asked my readers if they’d like to see these images on the blog too, or if it would be too much repetition. There was lots of positive feedback, so I thought I should give it a try. I thought maybe once a month I could pick my favourite shots and post them in a collection like this – let me know if you like this idea.

Here’s the latest collection, with captions and links for your clicking pleasure…

inside Stef’s shop,newspaper taxi:1
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inside Stef’s shop, newspaper taxi:2
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afternoon tea with Stef at Black Star Pastry, featuring their beetroot chocolate cake with rose petals, and lavender and blueberry tart.
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surprise art in the park: 1… drink, anyone?
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surprise art in the park: 2… the beginning of a beautiful story.
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surprise art in the park: 3… nature’s purple neon spectacular, jacaranda love.
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on the coffee table: bowl of scented sunshine from the garden, a page from My Heart Wanders, rocks from French Boy’s  hometown lake in France, Heidi’s gorgeous book ‘super natural every day’, my collection of aromatherapy reference books, and a cup of chai.
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Also, I’ve been looking into some new-to-me music, here is my current background music while I work/lay on couch/waddle around the house, perhaps you’ll find something here you like too:

+twice by little dragon (also like ‘after the rain’)
+i follow rivers, lykke li
+how come you never go there, feist
+you are all i see, active child
+brother, matt corby
+feeding line, boy & bear

 

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Posted in music, pia's illustrations December 17th, 2010 by pia

It’s all a-buzz here in le petit bateau because today my partner Romain – aka French Boy -  has just released his first album. It’s been a year in the making -  while I’ve been working intensely on my book, he’s been working on his album, rocking the houseboat down. How did we manage to both work from home on two completely different projects without a hitch? I have no idea. But it’s been wonderful, a year we will never forget, for all the right reasons.

So “fiction”, what’s it all about? Well, Romain is a rock and blues guitarist, and this self-produced album is a collection of instrumental songs which take their inspiration from various decades of pop, blues and rock. This is definitely an album for guitar enthusiasts (it ain’t mainstream music) and for those who love to rock on! Believe it or not, I am one of those people  – even though I play mostly classical piano, I love to listen to loud, feet stompin’ rock. “Fiction” is exactly that. I have lots of favourite songs on the album, including ruffianjungle path and la loue (which was inspired by one of our walks along the river loue in France, where Romain is originally from), but I think my favourite favourite is the album title song fiction – a fab mix of pop, synth rock & blues. I also love lawlessness 1 & 2 – Romain composed these for a dance piece titled “restlessness” choreographed by my dear friend Heidi here in Amsterdam earlier in the year. And the colour purple & stone are pure, beautiful head bangin’ rock.

A big congratulations to my french boy for taking his passion to the next level and producing something wonderful. Please be sure to spread the word about “fiction” to all your guitar-loving friends, and to listen to the songs, you can click here or listen to some of them on his myspace here. The album & individual songs are available for purchase on both itunes and cdbaby. For those interested in purchasing music the good ol’ fashion way – that is, on a CD – Romain will look into it in the new year.

And my contribution to the album? Yes, it’s the cover. I made a few different versions but this was the one we both loved the most. I hope you like it too.

xx

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Posted in music, personal July 22nd, 2010 by pia

Some of you may have noticed that a few months ago I added a little sparkly widget at the bottom of my (blog)house sidebar, with the words “guitar” “tone”  “overload”.  And then some of you may have then thought, “wtf?” because you would know that my blog has nothing to do with guitars, or tones… although there is plenty of overload to be had.

Well, now I have a moment to tell you all about it! At the beginning of this year, my partner Romain – who you’ve all come to know here as french boy – launched his very own blog. It’s called, obviously,  guitar tone overload and it focuses on his “endless quest for The Guitar Tone” using effects, amps, and all sorts of other guitar equipment (that I have no idea about but he knows lots about). Last year when he first told me he wanted to start a blog, I asked him, “if you start a blog, what are your expectations?” and he said , “as a musician,  I’ve taken so much information from the internet over the last 15 years that now I’d like to give back”.  I thought that was pretty much the perfect answer…

this is a corner of our houseboat, filled with guitars and guitar stuff.

So at the end of February he launched his blog in both English and French. I love that he focuses on boutique equipment (that being, pedals and such that are made in small factories or by hand) and that he explores the guitar tones of various famous guitarists  – so far he’s featured Robert Smith from The Cure, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani and just last week, John Butler. He not only writes about what each guitarist uses, but he also makes demo videos to show his readers how to get ‘the tone’ with certain equipment. It’s pretty clever stuff.

While researching for guitar tone overload the other day, Romain came across a video of legendary guitarist David Gilmour’s houseboat/music studio located on the Thames.  It is the most awesome floating musical space, and I just wanted to share it here, for those of you out there who love the idea of houseboat living, and those who love making music like we do. It is a clip from the BBC series three men in a boat, check it out…

Can you imagine? So very cool. For us, this would be the ultimate houseboat. Our little houseboat doesn’t have nearly as much music gear as David Gilmour’s, but it still manages to rock out when the mood strikes.

Anyway, I just wanted to say a big congratulations to french boy for getting out there in the blogosphere and creating such a great space for guitarists. Please pass on his blog to your guitarist friends. Merci!

xx

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Posted in amsterdam, music April 22nd, 2010 by pia

I admit, I’ve been keeping this band secret for a while now because well, sometimes I like to just keep some of the things that inspire me all to myself for a little bit before I share it with the world. You know? Anyway, when I first heard them play live last year it was at the invitation of my dear friend Simone who is the violinist in the band, and it was at the Lloyd Hotel. It was just a casual, mid-week gig, sitting around in a small corner of the restaurant which made it so wonderfully intimate – I was instantly captivated by their music: a little dark, a little folk, a lot melancholic and utterly enchanting.

They have just launched their first album under the new band name Point Quiet (previously known as White Sands). Before I bought the album last week, I had been playing their song anchors and birds over and over again – it’s repetitive actions like this that tell me I need to take it the next level. So I bought the album at their last gig and now, I can listen to the whole album on my ipod while I walk along the Amstel – completely day enhancing, to say the least.

They have a gig coming up at Theater Bellevue, on the Leidsekade this coming Monday, April 26 at 8:30pm, with another couple of local bands, tickets are €13 (click here for more info although it’s all in Dutch) – I think it’s going to be a lovely evening and I’m aiming to pull myself away from the writing desk to be there, I’d love to see you there too.

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+listen to some of their songs here.
+buy their album here (in the netherlands and belgium) and here on itunes (US and rest of the world).
+ come to the gig on monday.

+There are lots of songs I am particularly fond of on the album (including long may you hide, venom minds, and the hidden track) but just to give you an idea of how beautiful their music is, please take a listen to anchors and birds while you read the lyrics.

xx

PS Their cover album reminds me of this photographer’s work that I just posted on facebook. Volcanoes, smoke, horses… synchronicity at it’s finest.

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