So last year, I changed my stage name, which many of you know. Some of you guys still know me as Sophie Serafino and that’s cool, I used that name for a long time. In changing my name back to my maiden name – my birth name of Armstrong (Scottish), I became more interested in my family’s history… and have a bunch of info courtesy of Clan.com and Wikipedia and the Armstrong Clan Association: “The legends of clan Armstrong say that the earliest ancestor was Siward Beorn (‘sword warrior’), also known as Siward Digry (‘sword strong arm’). Another traditional story claims that an armour bearer by the name of Fairbairn rescued his master, the king of Scotland, mid battle by pulling him onto his horse by the thigh. Fairbairn was allegedly later given the name “Armstrong” and granted lands in the Borders. It was in this border region between Scotland and England that clan Armstrong became one of the most historically powerful clans in the country’s history. Between the 13th and 17th century the Scottish Borders were in turmoil, with anything between personal rivalries and all-out war common between the two countries. The Armstrongs were arguably the most dangerous clan during this period, with King James V of Scotland believing they were a threat to even his authority.” So basically, the Armstrongs were quite defiant and non cooperative (at least I know where I get that rebellious streak!) so ultimately the Crown forcibly dispersed the clan who were moved into and scattered across northern Ireland. My great grandfather later brought his family to Australia in 1881, with his Irish wife. I also have a Dutch grandmother and my mother’s family are British… It was pretty amazing digging up all these details!
This is the Armstrong Clan coat of arms and family crest (courtesy of kingarthur.com and thetreemaker.com). There are a few variations out there, some Scottish, some Irish. The motto is the same, “Invictus Manneo” which is Latin for “I remain unvanquished”. So there is the inspiration for my latest single! I had SO much fun exploring this while pregnant with our third little one, and I’m excited to share this journey in my language of music.
We had a blast last night performing at the Langley Summer Series! I absolutely loved coming back here again. Great audience, and we LOVE all the little cafes and cute spots downtown. We will have to come back!
I just gave away a free track of one song I performed in this concert to all subscribers- are YOU a subscriber? Click here to join!
As we head into the weekend, I have a little something to share with you. This video is something different! The Water Lantern Festival is a beautiful community event, where I was lucky to be able to perform and also shoot this music video. I chose to shoot my track Kissed by the Moon as it really fit the vibe….. Dionysius and I brought the whole family, and we spent the afternoon making our own lanterns- with drawings and messages of the things important to us, and it was really quite emotional. As I was about to perform, I listened to the stories of those who chose to go up and share their story on the mic. Children, adults, sharing hopes and dreams, and love, fare-welling a loved one… it was quite emotional, and it really brought the crowd together. Then, at 9pm, the lanterns were launched onto the water, with little lights inside where they floated together, representing the hopes and feelings of the crowd. It really connected everyone, and for one peaceful evening, there was a great sense of togetherness at Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Canada. It was incredible!
Water Lantern Festival takes place all over the globe- check it out! Wherever you’re traveling, you may find an event near you. According to One World, “As the sun begins to set on the evening sky, the Water Lantern Festival begins to shine with the launch of the lanterns onto the water as we Light The Water together. Watch your unique lantern drift out into the water as it joins other lanterns carrying hope, love, happiness, healing, peace, and connection. It’s a night that you’ll never forget.” Check it out:
I hope you love the video and that it gives you a little bit of the beautiful energy that was present that night!
I’m so exited to share this video with you shot just two weeks ago! You all know how often I used to travel around the globe, and now, we’re trying this out with three little ones in tow! You know what? It was super busy but it was awesome!
We headed to Vancouver, and took the kids to the Aquarium and Stanley Park, and on the weekend, we headed to one of the most beautiful festivals I have ever been to! The Abbotsford BLOOM Tulip Festival is the stuff that dreams are made of…. our family absolutely loved visiting this stunning field of flowers! With food trucks, games and music, it was a trip to remember for sure! The piece I decided to play, All Things Bright and Beautiful is a selection from my Lullaby Album, Kissed by the Moon. I love this beautiful worship song- we can never be too grateful for the beauty that surrounds us on this earth, and remember it’s our job to protect it. I hope you love it as much as I did making it!
The last few days, Dionysius and I have been planning the next few months, and which gigs to do or not do, and whether we take the entire family… and it started a huge conversation about which cities we’d love to visit with our kids! It also got me reminiscing about all the places I have been. Sometimes as a performer you don’t get to explore new cities much, it’s usually in and out. Sometimes though, I’ve extended my stays and out of all the cities I’ve been so fortunate to have visited (over 30 worldwide!) here are my favorites!
From it’s unusual little neighbourhoods to almost EVERYONE riding bikes everywhere, this dainty city had me in fantasy land! The Tivoli Gardens are a must, The Little Mermaid statue (a reminder of all the works of Hans Christian Andersen) Christiania, the little village of it’s own law, the beautiful architecture especially the Opera House are great spots to explore. I also loved how the Marguerite Daisy popped up all over the place when shopping, from jewelry to linens… they really do have a very particular national identity!
Istanbul was like a fantasy trip for me… I was so inspired by the sounds of the city from the morning prayers to the street musicians, the apple tea, the kind people I met… I loved it! My favorite places include Club 360- described by the New York Times as the hottest place to party in Europe where I was a resident performer, The Blue Mosque, the beautiful ancient hamams, some of which have been there for hundreds of years, Topkapi palace, wandering around the bazaars and, my favorite, venturing out to Canakkale and see the city of Troy, and so much more.
From the little boys offering roses in the busiest areas, the fabulous style and foods to some of the world’s most famous landmarks Rome is one of my absolute favorites! The ancient ruins including The Colosseum, The Forum and of course, the Spanish Steps made famous in the film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck just fascinate me and I can walk around for hours just taking it all in.
I spent many months in this beautiful city. I fell in love… with it all. I must have been at a stage in my life where all I could see was beauty and light, because I just wandered all over the city from the Sacre Coeur to the Palais Royale to the Champs Elysee… went out to the Gardens of Monet and all over the place and I just saw beauty, while some friends visiting just saw how dirty the city was! Paris is a fantastic place of beauty and history, I couldn’t get enough!
Fashion, fashion fashion!!! The people of Milan really know how to dress, probably better than most other cities in the world, and there is more class and style, and less trend following. I was inspired! The Duomo Cathedrale, Lake Como and La Scala are favorites as well…I managed to grab tickets to the Pink Floyd Ballet while I was there and take in the beauty and sheer history seeping out of the walls of the famous La Scala. This trip was a last minute one, and I would LOVE to return and stay longer!
I’m excited to share with you more stories! I’ve been to so many different cities… these definitely rank the highest! Can’t wait to discover more! Now we have a family, I’m sure there’s a whole new world of travel experiences out there just waiting! What are your top places to travel/experience you’ve had while abroad? I’d love to hear them! You know… I have been traveling all my life! I really wish I had started blogging sooner!