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!
Traveling for concerts? As a musician that has traveled around the globe in over thirty different cities worldwide, I am very familiar with the thrills of international travel and performance, but also the trials you can go through, and I want to share some of my tips that have helped me have more of the thrills and less of the trials!
Different cities/countries, different vibes:
First of all, firstly, whether it’s another city in your home country or a totally different country and culture altogether, I really noticed that people reacted differently to my show in every city, and I don’t mean just different crowds. For example, some audiences felt comfortable jumping on stage with me and were very loud and appreciative! Some audiences had certain protocols imposed on them and were only allowed to clap. The attitudes in different countries will vary, so check it out in advance! Here’s a great article on different customs which shares a few different guides you could get to find out more about your particular destination(s) – https://www.tripsavvy.com/culture-customs-guides-for-foreign-countries-33904
Be prepared for different challenges with sound check:
Look into any special voltage adapters or power outlet adapters that your gear might need
If you’re flying, it might be cheaper to have some of your items provided when you get there- pack only the essentials! Remember it’s not just the flight, it’s getting around once you arrive as well.
Sleep in different time zones:
At first, I found this difficult. I would often fly into a city in a different time zone the day of a show, so I really had to make sure that I had either rested up in advance, or that I could rest on arrival. If my flight takes place during the night time hours of my arrival destination I will try to sleep, and on arrival, my doctor told me to get as much sun as possible! Sunlight apparently helps your body re-calibrate and realize it’s daytime and help your body clock adjust. Also, I take something like Valerian or Melatonin when it is the night time to tell my body it’s time to rest. Some exercise in the sunlight helps even more!
Different personalities and working with others
When traveling with other musicians – remember you’re a team. So try to be flexible and when things don’t go to plan try to have patience and don’t get upset. Sometimes it’s inevitable that not everything will go to plan. Be open to whatever might happen, and stick together! Remember that people get irritable when they are tired or stressed so try to have compassion for those around you!
Don’t leave things behind!
Write a pack list- not just for when you’re getting ready to leave, but when you’re packing up in each hotel room that you stay in! I used to leave things behind all the time, but taking the time to check your list and make sure you repacked it all, is a great way to keep track of items you may have forgotten, under a bed, or in a cupboard. I once left a gown in a hotel room wardrobe! So easy to do when you’re going from city to city!
Take care of yourself!
Keep in mind that you’re there to do a job, it’s not a holiday. You need to make sure that you take care of yourself and remember to pack whatever vitamins and other items you use at home, and make sure that you take the time to take care of yourself while travelling. There’s nothing worse than getting sick halfway through a bunch of dates. Speaking of health, get travel insurance! No one ever thinks anything will happen while traveling, no one believes they’ll get sick, injured, or robbed, but it does happen. Better to be prepared!
A different language?
I like to try to say a few phrases to my audience in their own language. Even if it’s just “Hi, my name is….. and I’m going to play (insert song or piece) for you” or “hey good evening!” Or whatever it is you would usually say. “Please” and “thank you” can go a long way as well.
Plan Your stage outfits in advance
Figure out what you’re going to wear at each concert in advance. There might not always be time to go shopping when you get there. Also, making sure that your clothes don’t need a lot of attention (don’t pack silk! It always crushes easily) can save you time, effort and money.
Pack clothing for days off!
If you’re going to have some days off, make sure you bring things appropriate for the location you will be, like a swimsuit or hiking clothes or whatever it is that you might want to do on that day off. Nothing more annoying that having a day off at a beautiful beach location and having to spend some of it off getting items you need…
Stay well on your flight
I always take probiotics before, during and after a flight. It’s so easy to catch something through the circulated air conditioning! Also, drink a lot (of water not alcohol) and wear compression tights. Compression tights can leave you feeling more rested. I’ve been doing it since my 20s… think about it. Nurses and people in professions where they stand a lot wear them all the time. Flights cause even more stress to your circulation, so why not- take care of yourself! You don’t have to be old to wear them! Here’s a great article on why it helps: https://www.travelchannel.com/roam-blog/news-deals/why-you-should-wear-compression-socks-when-you-fly
Taking your instrument on board
If you’re a singer, don’t worry about this one! If not… read on: Check the Baggage Policies of Your Airline and find out their attitude towards instruments so you know what’s up before you get to the airport. If you have more than one airline on the travel route, check them all. Even if they’re connecting flights sometimes they can cause some grief and ask you to check your instrument half way even if the first airline has agreed. Here’s a cool site that shows you airlines’ policies on instruments- https://www.fim-musicians.org/airlines-list
Some more tips:
Too many details to remember? Put Your Room Number & Hotel Address in Your Phone
Don’t use free public wifi, especially if you’re doing online banking or anything else you would hope is secure! Because, simply, it’s NOT secure.
Let your Bank and Credit Card Company know of Your Travel Plans- it helps make sure your cards are always available to you while travelling and saves some headaches.
First aid- I always take tylenol, benedryl, lozenges, anti nausea and medication for stomach upsets especially if I’m travelling like India or anywhere you shouldn’t drink the water… and I also always take bandages/bandaids and antiseptic cream with me.
Make sure your passport and license are current! Sometimes passports expire before we realize, so look into it before you leave, or even better, make sure you renew yours well before it expires so you’re always ready for travel.
Take photocopies of all your important documents so you have the details if the originals get lost, and always share these with someone else, even if you’re travelling with a large group. I always send my itinerary and important document copies to family before I leave so they know where I’ll be.
OK guys so I hope this helps! If I had know this when I started traveling for concerts it totally would have helped me out!
Last night, I performed at the top of the Banff Gondola, and wow, was it an amazing experience! I arrived for a special event, and wow was the ride up the mountain beautiful and a little scary at the same time! I have to admit, my violin didn’t love the air pressure up there, but it was a super fun show, my violin held out and it was a great experience all around… Check it out! In summer or winter, it’s a pretty spectacular highlight of the mountains here in Alberta Canada.
Don’t forget your jacket even if it’s not quite winter, it’s colder up the top than I expected! If you saw my instagram stories, you would have seen my ride up the gondola- are you on Instagram?
I’m really excited to share with you the video for the title track of the album The Journey! Featuring guitarist Pavlo, this video was filmed by Ringtail Films in the Badlands of Alberta, which has some crazy amazing land formations, which they are famous for! Also, to film out there, we stayed in the ghost town of Wayne, population 27 (that’s twenty-seven, no zeros lol!). It was a very different experience, totally unforgettable, with people telling us the hotel was haunted, the history of the town, the very unusually shaped mountains with beautiful cactus flowers… I’ll never forget this place! Thanks Thanks to Ringail Films, and my brilliant makeup team Maison Blu, and Jerome Salon!
Check it out:
So I have renamed this album The Journey= the act of traveling from one place to another, which I felt was more true to what I set out to do artistically. I hope you love it even more, it’s available now!
After a busy year, collaborations, recording, filming, writing, and rehearsing a new ensemble I’m excited to share with you my new group! Click here for dates! Coming up this winter I’ll be performing a few shows, until baby #2 arrives in March! Check out upcoming dates here: https://sophiearmstrong.ca/gigs/ We are planning a tour with my new band! Stay tuned for more info !Also coming up, our little guy turns 1!! I can’t believe it’s been a year almost since he arrived! Time flies…Sophie xox