I love musical interviews. The one I recorded with George Ball a couple of days ago for Voices from the North was a pure delight for me. I like to think it was for George as well. George has spent a lifetime performing on stage in the likes of Man of La Mancha, Camelot and Sweeney Todd. He has acted on television in The Young, Cheers and The Restless and General Hospital and his powerfully commanding voice provides narration for documentaries or television specials including A&E Biography and The Discovery Channel.

The complete interview is here:

We played some tracks from A BROADWAY CELEBRATION. George describes the serendipitous way this class act started in Maldonado’s restaurant in Pasadena California and then how George Ball, Lainie Nelson, Susan Watson and Dan Gettinger went on the road with it as a Columbia Artists Community Concert series for something like seven years. The premise for A Broadway Celebration was to choose the songs the performers most loved and then to bring the audience in with the stories of why these particular songs were chosen. It was the most successful touring show ever booked by Columbia Artists. George describes the good, the bad and the ugly of being on the road. Actually it was mostly good as the company reached audiences in towns all over America, touring with a big forty foot Winnebago motor home. From world class venues to high school auditoriums; from Murfreesboro, Tennessee to Montevideo, Minnesota, A Broadway Celebration reached out to Americans everywhere from 1994 to 2000. The tracks featured in our interview are:

  1. Wanna Sing a Showtune (song by Ray Jessel performed by the whole cast of Lainie Nelson, Susan Watson, Dan Gettinger and George Ball)
  2. They Don’t Believe Me (a Jerome Kern and Herbert Reynolds song performed by George Ball)
  3. People – Small World Medley (arranged by Glen Mehrbach for Susan Watson and George Ball)
  4. How to Handle a Woman (Lerner & Loewe – George Ball)
  5. Medley from Phantom of the Opera (Arrangement by Dan Gettinger 3 ½ minutes of a 9 ½ minute track that really showcases George’s voice)

George tells the story of going to NYC to audition for the Merv Griffin Show, missing that chance and getting angry. He then visited his agent who said George would be perfect for a new hit show opening in Greenwich Village, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. George had been doing musicals like Oklahoma. He’d never heard music like that created by the Belgian/French legend, Brel, and the anger he brought into the audition got him the role. Oh, how things sometimes work out in mysterious ways!

Roger Befeler, Kim Huber, Amanda McBroom and George Ball, in Center Theatre Group’s Salon XVI at the Taper

George went on to tour with that show in all the major cities in America and it was through this that he met his wife-to-be, Amanda McBroom (they’ve now been together for 41 years and married for 36 of them). The two of them took the show to the Netherlands where they performed in something like 60 theatres around that country. As George says, Jacques Brel’s music is part of the fabric of his life.

Amanda McBroom wrote a musical called Heartbeats starring Amanda as a woman, Annie, about to celebrate (if that’s the word) her 40th birthday and 20th anniversary. Annie fell for Steve (played by George Ball) the first minute they met. Two children and twenty years later they’re still in love but they’ve forgotten how to say it. The first song we feature in the interview from Heartbeats is:

Old Habits Die Hard (Amanda McBroom and Michelle Brourman – George Ball) The lyrics are astounding Here are just a few of the words which I hope I’ve reproduced accurately: Old habits die hard, old rivers run deep, and the promises made to the one you love are the hardest ones to keep.  The song brings tears to my eyes. It took George 10 tries before he could actually sing it, so moved was he by the lyrics.

 The last song played during the interview is:

All This Time (Amanda McBroom and Tom Snow – duet with Amanda and George)

George Bll is now available for voice overs. He’s currently recording a talking book. I look forward to his next visit to our sunny shores when we can bring more of his beautiful singing to you.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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In this, the first Voices from the North interview of 2010, Golden Globe winner Amanda McBroom shares her love and passion for the music and presence of Jacques Brel. Five songs from Chanson, Amanda’s latest CD, recorded in 2009, are featured including I Loved, Song for Old Lovers, Ca Va, Ne Me Quitte Pas (you may know this one as Don’t Leave Me) and If We Only Have Love. We probe gently into the life of Jacques Brel (France’s premier balladeer of the 60s) including his last sailing journey which brought him to the South Pacific. He was buried beside Paul Gauguin in the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. This is a lovely, flowing, musical interview.

Chanson was skilfully arranged by Stefan Oberhaff and Michele Brourman. They played many of the instruments featured in the recording but significant contributions have been made by other musicians including flugelhorn by Oscar winning Mark Isham. Amanda’s voice and Isham’s horn on If We Only Have Love combine to produce a song of haunting quality. Overall, this is music not to be missed. It travels straight to the heart and captures the essence of Brel.

Lyrics | – IF WE ONLY HAVE LOVE lyrics

For more on the salvage of Askoy II, the 60 foot steel hulled yacht sailed by Jacques Brel to the South Pacific visit here. And for the interview I did with author and sailor, Lyndsay Wright, who pointed this out to me click here.

For my complete one hour interview with Amanda please click below:

https://insearchofsimplicitytoday.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/060110-amanda-mcbroom-radio-ready.mp3

For my 2009 interview with Amanda McBroom visit here.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life. 

This Voices from the North interview is with ocean sailor and writer Lindsay Wright of New Plymouth. Originally trained as a journalist, Lindsay’s love of yachting has carried him all over the world and almost to a watery grave. His fascinating stories give listeners a glimpse into the psyche of a person prepared to do what he loves, despite the obstacles life has thrown his way. He describes with fondness a recent but bygone era when adventurous sailors plied their skills without the advances of GPS and improved sail handling gear.

 

 

He is the current secretary for the Solo Tasman Yacht Race that sails out of New Plymouth in 2010 enroute for Queensland. This single-handed race runs every four years and has hosted some illustrious yachting names, people like Jerry Clark, Bill Belcher and musician Andrew Fagan (in a craft under 20 feet). These are people who don’t just sail, they often build their own boats. They’re an eclectic mix—from a dentist in Queenstown to a quarryman in Turangi. Lindsay will himself be participating in the next race with his 28 foot sloop.

 

Lindsay describes sailing and racing for others, delivering boats on the ICW (Intercoastal Waterway of the Eastern US).

 

Lindsay speaks with fondness of an earlier adventure in his life; time spent cruising the Spitsbergen Islands. The trip, made by Lindsay, his wife, Sarah and their cat, Luigi began with a journey through the Stairway to Heaven between Fort William and Inverness, a canal system connecting something like 12 lochs including Loch Ness.

 

Such is the life of intrepid sailors: Lindsay’s wife Sarah is English, they met in the Caribbean and they were married in America.

 

He describes vividly the lives of the last old time whalers of Norway; in fact, he and Sarah were there living briefly with Norse traditional Minke whalers in the last year they were allowed to legally whale. red-sails-no-sunsetThese were proud whalers with a way of life many generations old. Lindsay is quick to point out that this way of life is far removed from the unsustainable slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean being carried out by Japanese whalers today. The book he wrote of the journey is called Red Sails No Sunset.

 

Lindsay’s choice of music is a famous Jacques Brel song, Ne Me Qutte Pas. He chose the song for very personal reasons. He owned, sailed and wrecked (the night his hair went gray) a yacht owned by famous Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel. His story of Askoy, the boat Brel sailed to the southern seas when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, is fascinating and not to be missed.

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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Chanting is no more holy than listening to the murmur of a stream, counting prayer beads no more sacred than simply breathing. . . . If you wish to attain oneness with the Tao, don’t get caught up in spiritual superficialities. A Taoist Quote from Lao Tze