Give motion to your memories 

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Time has become a lot more important since I became a parent. Like most, I have always been fascinated by the concept of time. Cinematography and photography are the art forms that record time, and time is their main element, like sound is to music and color to painting. One would often find me listening to cinematic scores. Beyond purely fascinating, I find them magical, moving and intriguing. Musicians compose based on images or a movie and, when listening, I find myself creating my own movie in my mind set to that same sound. Cinematic music takes me places; it is a form of traveling for me. Because it is created to complements a script, it has the power to tell stories. It “gives” motion to my travel memories and for that alone, I absolutely love it! I always get excited to choose the music for a slideshow of travel pictures because it tell half the story. Music changes everything. It creates a special feeling when you’re flipping through images on your computer, iPhone or in your mind.

One of the most compelling soundtracks is the Arrival of the Birds from The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos. That music takes you places. It’s a different experience for everyone, but it inevitably and simultaneously stimulates the brain, the soul and the spirit. Give it a try – sit back, relax, click on here, close your eyes and listen. Enjoy your travels.

Care to share where it took you? Here is a sneak peak of my journey:

Flying into Cancun, Mexico. 



*Last but not least, for a real treat, check out the ONGOING tour dates of the legendary Hans Zimmerman here . Go experience the real magic of cinematic music LIVE!

 

Happy #MusicMonday everyone!

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Summer in Paris

It is always a good idea to runaway to Paris! Impromptu dates are my favorite! I personally think that towards the end of summer and the beginning of fall everything just seems perfait for a weekend getaway. I still remember the summer when I first heard this tune and instantly fell in love with it. It is a smooth and jazzy track with some great, airy and warm vocals by Anggun.  It is one of those pieces that has the power to simply teleport you. It was released in 2002 yet I became a lifetime fan in 2005- 10 years later and I still get chills every time I listen to it! I get to go back to Paris each time I play it (#priceless). The track is the perfect recipe for a quick, 6 minute to be exact, escape to the ‘city of lights’. Make sure you add it to your library and soundtrack your next trip!

Hit ‘Play’, close your eyes, and… time to take off à Paris!

Listen on iTunes or Spotify

Dream of Venice

How do you go back to the memories and emotions you experienced while traveling and exploring a new place? How do you recreate the anticipation, amazement and excitement your adventure brought? Most people go back to their pictures. Some read the notes or diaries they wrote along the way. For me, music is the ultimate means of going back in time. There are certain songs that can bring back emotions – the euphoria felt once you realize that your longing dream to go somewhere is now a reality. Or that rush of adrenaline I feel every time I’m at the airport and about to start my next unforgettable journey! (I always feel a range of emotions when I’m at airports, which I’m planning to cover in a separate post. There is something very special and intimate both at arrivals and departures.)

I was about 15 years old when I first came across this song. It took me years, back in the early 00s, to find the version that I liked the most and that made me dream of the day I would visit Italia. Once I started going through the pictures we captured this past summer, I already knew that the perfect soundtrack to our dreamy, colorful and emotional journey through Venice: Zizi Possi’s Per Amore.

Listen on iTunes or Spotify

Zizi is in fact a Brazilian singer! Is that a coincidence, given my passion and love for Brazil?I don’t think so!☺ Brazil has an astounding number of immigrants from Italy, including members of Zizi’s family. As a tribute to them and their extensive musical culture, the wonderful Brazilian singer has put together some very sensitive renditions of melodic, Neapolitan songs in a very “Brazilian” execution, which showcase that sense of “saudade”, so typical of Brazilian music.

Cogli l’attimo! (“Seize the moment”, in Italian) Music helps me capture the precious moments during our unforgettable travels. Hearing that certain song can take me straight back to a specific time and place. So my advice to you is: Keep traveling, collect songs and expand your playlists! Do you have a song that transports you to somewhere else? Let me know in the comments below.

If interested, check my travel video below! Get inspired and feel the love and magic of Venice!

The End of Summertime

There probably aren’t many other songs that have been recorded more than “Summertime”. Musicians from the entire spectrum of music genres have covered it. (More than 25,000 times according to Wikipedia,!) Yes, there are a number of iconic renditions, among which are Billie Holiday’s version (released 1936), Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by Louis Armstrong in 1957, and Miles Davis instrumental (1959)

So, given the number of times it has been sung, the different styles, and the different times, it is hard to believe that someone will find a new way to showcase the tune. Still, today I present to you the track that blew my mind over the weekend.

A stunningly sweet singer with a uniquely expressive voice and a timeless sound: Kat Edmonson

The tune: Summertime

You be the judge! Enough said.

Of course, I haven’t listened to all 25,000 versions of the tune. However, once I listened to this version, I fell in love right away. It brought out the the chills and excitement of hearing and old tune with an unexpected and ravishing, spin.

Listen on iTunes or Spotify

Toronto

36 Hours In Toronto, Canada.

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Autumn is a great time to plan a weekend road trip to take in the fall colors; it is the perfect time to enjoy the season in a more relaxed and casual way than the overbooked chase of summertime. That’s why we decided to make Toronto this year’s fall getaway. And let me tell you, Toronto turned out to be amazing! We were surprised by the hundreds of options for drinking, dining, exhibitions and concerts. Simply put, wow!

Toronto is the largest city in Canada, also North America’s fourth-largest city, and nearly 50% of its inhabitants are immigrants, which explains the diverse and exciting art, entertainment and food & drink scenes. The skyline of the city, sitting on Lake Ontario reminds of a smaller scale NYC and is definitely on my Top 5 City Skylines I’ve seen so far. Here is my list of things to eat, drink, try, enjoy and visit:

Saturday

7 am: Get an early start on the long drive through New York State.  The road is quite monotonous, yet naturally beautiful: going around the Finger Lakes and through Syracuse takes about 8 hours with no stops. When you start approaching the Canadian border, make sure you check the status of the various border crossings to avoid delays. (Border Check)

6 pm: Black Hoof Cocktail Bar check it out!

Cocktail Bar Toronto

Start the weekend with a craft cocktail, in a 1920’s setting, under the vibes of jazz. Classic! Be bold and try a couple of different cocktails, as the night is still young! The list is creative and well thought out. You won’t regret it! If you are looking for a quick snack, look no further than the crunchy duck wings, which are incredible!

*They only take cash or Canadian debit cards

9 pm: Momofuku Shōtō check it out! 

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All the info you need is in the link above. Just open your imagination, expect the unexpected, come hungry and enjoy! This is not a dinner but rather an experience kind of place. Everything from the setting, the flow, the interaction with the chefs, the plating, the art around you and on your plate, the music PLAYLIST*, … is perfection! Tucked behind Daishō, on the third floor, it is the fanciest of the three restaurants. It seats 22 people and serves a 10-course tasting menu that takes about two hours (or 4hrs and 4 bottles of wine in our case).

* In a song-skewed interview in Gourmet Traveller magazine, David Chang, the founder of the Momofuku Empire, said: “I make the playlists myself for all the Momofuku restaurants. Every restaurant has two iPods (one for backup) and each currently has 16 playlists. They’re particular to each restaurant — you’ll never hear exactly the same progression of songs at the Noodle Bar on First Avenue that you’d hear at Má Pêche, or in Toronto.”

Feel free to check out Momofuku on Spotify: Play! or even better in my opinion: Play!

12 am: Lobby Lounge @ Shangri-La Hotel

Don’t let the night slip away without a dance move or two! Finish on a high note, listening to a groovy, hip and extremely talented Torontonian Band! Lobby Lounge resembles an urban living room in which art and architecture are masterfully intertwined. Very classy looking place with a fun, chic vibe! Check the music listings here: Schedule

~Designated hours to rest and/or sleep

Sunday

In travel, one should always find time to do things that are truly close and dear to one’s heart. Such an experience will make each trip very special and memorable and will also transform you from a tourist to a traveler. I consider myself to be an art aficionado and always check concert listings and art exhibitions prior to visiting any city, trying to make time for a quick exhilaration of my art senses. Again, Toronto doesn’t disappoint, offering a variety of museums, ranging from the classical to the quirky.

~See more at: To See Suggestions!

10 am: quick visit of the Royal Ontario Museum: Canada’s largest museum of world cultures and natural history. Even if not interested in the exhibitions, it is worth checking out the new main entrance of the museum, Daniel Libeskind’s The Crystal, which first opened in 2007. The Deconstructivist crystalline form is clad in 25 percent glass and 75 percent aluminum, sitting on top of a steel frame. Stunning!

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11 am: After some inspirational architectural “bites” for breakfast, head to Toronto’s Chinatown in Scarborough. The agenda is simple: eat the best dim sum in Toronto, and possibly in North America at Casa Imperial Fine Chinese Cuisine.  The atmosphere, the people, the food, the flavors and attitude!… If unique experiences is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. The 2hr wait to get seated on a busy weekend day is totally worth it!

Casa Imperial Toronto

*further support from Yelp! that this is the right spot!

2 pm: Time for some art: The Power Plant (free) & Art Gallery of Toronto 

The afternoon is the perfect time for a much needed walk around the city (after all that dim sum). Around Lake Ontario is the place to start. The Power Plant is one of Canada’s leading public galleries devoted to contemporary art, located at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. As a non-collecting art gallery, The Power Plant has presented new and recent work by numerous Canadian artists along with their international peers. Located in a more touristy area, the art inevitably gets better exposure, which in my book is ‘smart planning’. Make sure you check the list of the exhibitions in advance as they change quite often.

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AGO, or the Art Gallery of Toronto. The architecture of the building is simply stunning. The monumental glass and titanium facade designed by Toronto native Frank Gehry hovers over the main building and is an architectural beauty. In 2008, one of the most iconic, spiral staircases in the world was added to the building. The Douglas fir-clad sculptural staircase rises from the second floor of the central Walker Court, through the glass ceiling and extends to the fifth floor of the Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art. Although it looks very captivating from aside, make sure you find time to climb it up or down.

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7 pm: dinner @ The Black Hoof The circle is complete. We started our Toronto exploration at the Cocktail Bar right across from this joint, owned by the same group! The menu is very simple, highly suitable for carnivores and with outstanding price tags. Don’t miss the marinated, pickled vegetables! Basically every dish on the menu was superb (we ordered about half of them). Cannot wait to go back and order the second half! Maybe next time they’ll have bison ice cream 🙂 P.S. The wine list is a true treasure trove, with many unlisted gems, so make sure to chat up one of the owners, who is the wine buyer as well.

10 pm: ferry to Centre Island Schedule

This is a great way to end your first trip to Toronto. Get on the last ferry for the night, as there are almost no people on it and take in the beautifully lit skyline. Seeing the city from afar with its colorful lights reflecting in the water is a real treat and also provides the perfect opportunity for a mini photo shoot 🙂

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Monday

9 am: Make sure you find an hour to stop by Niagara Falls on your way home while still in Canada. The Canadian vantage point is simply breathtaking and far superior to the one on the American side!

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2 pm: stop by the Finger Lakes and try some of the amazing wines being made there. If you have to pick just one, go to Lake Seneca. Finger Lakes will be a separate blog post in the future. Watch out for updates soon!

10 pm: At last, feel lucky to be back to the one and only, New York City!

Extra inspiration to take that trip to Toronto in this video!