Tag Archives: Summer

Il dolce far niente

“Il dolce far niente” is an Italian saying literally meaning “the sweetness of doing nothing”.
It doesn’t mean being lazy, but refers to that good feeling you can get from being idle and living in the moment. “Dolce far niente” is thoroughly enjoying the taste of that good cup of coffee, it’s taking a walk and breathing in fresh air, it’s watching the sunset, enjoying a nice home cooked meal with family; it’s meditating, but it’s also staring out the window or spending time with friends…it’s basically anything you like doing that gets you relaxed, makes you feel good, brings energy…seize the day, live in the moment. It’s something a lot of people aren’t great at (including me!!). The Italians however embrace “il dolce far niente” – they know the art of doing nothing, they see it as an important day to day activity and there’s a lot we can learn from that.

This summer we went to Italy again. Same place, same apartment as last year…arriving at the apartment felt like coming home. We were welcomed by the owners, who’s hospitality and kindness are absolutely great; providing us with fresh fruit from the garden and homemade prosecco. Being there again, made me realise how much I missed the place, the views, the sun and the beautiful sunsets.
“Dolce far niente” – it pretty much sums up my summer holiday…
Spending time with my family, meeting up with friends, watching the sunset, enjoying a glass of wine, enjoying the Italian sun and beautiful weather, walking barefoot on a sandy beach, feeling the wind, seeing the moon and stars at night, swimming in the sea, eating pizza, watching the geckos chasing bugs, being in nature, visiting ancient medieval towns, playing cards and board games and so much more…
Good times always go by way too fast, but the memories will last. Memories of joy and laughter, memories of funny and awkward situations, memories of feeling good and relaxed… Oh yes…I’m definitely having the holiday blues!

Back to reality it is now…holiday is over and life is turning back to ‘normal’ again. It’s very easy to get caught up again in the busyness of everyday life, so I made a promise to myself…I’m going to practice “il dolce far niente” much more than I already did. It’s a fact that mindfulness, consciously focusing on the present moment, will increase energy levels, bring clarity of mind and greater focus, but it’s so easy to forget about this… Time to adopt the art of doing nothing, weave it into my days and make it a very important daily activity!

“Dolce far niente” is also a lyric from Robb Murphy’s new single ‘Italian Dreams’ which he released in July. The perfect song to end this blog with… The song was written during a long summer in Italy. It’s a lighthearted song with a 60’s vibe, a hint of The Beach Boys. The single is supported by an animated lyric video created by Italian artist Marco Burani.

Watch the video:

or stream the song on Spotify:

Summer

Summer… I always enjoy summer more than any other time of the year.
The long days, sunshine, warmth, hearing the birds, seeing the butterflies, beautiful flowers, blooming bushes and trees… Windows and doors open, fresh air coming into the house… I love to just sit outside and look up to the constantly changing sky, watch the sunset or the stars…

We just returned from a holiday in Tuscany, Italy. Visiting Italy has been on our bucket list for ages, but we never had a chance to see the country until now. It’s the best holiday we’ve ever had. Thinking back of it all makes me aware of how fortunate we are that we’ve been able to do this.
We’ve experienced and seen so much. Tuscany really is one big open-air museum with a beautiful variety of landscapes, from mountains, to hills, sandy beaches, sunflower fields, olive groves, vineyards, cypresses and ancient medieval towns. A place where it’s warm and where you will see the sun every day… Italy brings a certain feeling, it’s a beautiful country which (like any other country) you will just have to visit and experience yourself. We enjoyed our stay there a lot and we will definitely go back there again. There was just too much to see and to do, we couldn’t see it all in 3 weeks!

Italy, it’s also where Robb found the inspiration to write the album Sleep Tonight. We saw many of the places that have been an inspiration to Robb, which was good. Every song on the album brings a certain feeling. A feeling that is even more intense now I’ve seen and experienced Tuscany myself. Sunny Mountain is probably the best example…”I’ve got a feeling that I’ll long for this place badly when I want to be free”…

We’re just back and I’m already longing for this place… We took home so many great memories. The house we rented was just perfect. It had a large porch where we would sit every morning when waking up with coffee, having a view on the mountains…we could see the sun go down from the porch as well and were treated on beautiful sunsets every day. I’ll not forget the moment when I went for a swim in the pool for the first time and looked around, being overwhelmed by the view…the mountains, the vineyard and around the pool the olive trees, peach trees, pear trees, fig trees and lemon trees. The owner of the house kept providing us with fresh fruit from the garden and homemade wine. Not to forget the great Italian food and ice creams! I just so loved the place, it was close enough to the beach and cities/places we wanted to visit and far away enough from the very busy touristic places to get our much needed rest.
And then there are the great (and often awkward) experiences of being in a different country…the language issues, learning new words (mostly in the supermarket), the traffic…Italian people drive slightly different than they do in The Netherlands… It’s a totally different culture where people are busy in the mornings, shops are closing in the afternoon and where you will see local people gathering on the piazzas until the most warm part of the day is over. After that the shops open again and cities and towns come back to life. Below some of the pictures we took during our time in Italy.

Right…back to reality 😉
It’s time to start working on the music again. There’s a lot to do in the following months. Robb and the band will start rehearsing again in September, followed by a tour of The Netherlands in October.
(dates can be found here: https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_shows/1492877 )

Meanwhile we’re working on the last release from the album Sleep Tonight, which will be the title track. Teaming up with The Samaritans, this release aims to help raise awareness for mental health. Currently an animation is being created by very talented artist Maria Becvar using the full album version of the song, 6’30”, featuring The Ulster String Quartet.
Next to that Robb is also writing and working on songs for a new album.
Busy times ahead of us, but with our batteries charged again, we’re looking forward to what is to come!

Time to end this long blog….with a song…as always.
A new song, ‘Knock Me Down’. Robb recorded an acoustic live version of this song in Italy.
Watch, enjoy and feel free to share!

A Good Place For Us

It’s Thursday night and I’m watching TV. Zapping through the channels and not finding anything I’d like to watch I end up watching the news. Right after the news a documentary starts about the MH17 crash, tomorrow exactly one year ago. I’m watching it for a bit, but it’s a pretty confronting documentary. I turn off the TV and think about that messed up world we’re living in. Lately I’ve been avoiding the news a lot. The only ‘news’ there seems to be is about death and destruction and the crisis. Sometimes I’d rather not know, because there’s nothing positive to find or hear in the news lately.

I put on some music and decide to write a blog. With a glass of wine and Bon Iver playing I’m thinking about the time that I’m off this summer. I’m looking forward to that very much. No work, no obligations, nothing but time for my family and myself. No blog writing, less or maybe even no social media. Step back from everything and relax, which is probably the hardest thing to do.

Over the past few years the world has changed so much. We all seem to be ‘online’ and connected to everyone 24 hours a day and sometimes that overwhelms me. Sometimes there are days where I purposely avoid contact with the outside world. Just to have a break. Things seem to go faster and faster and expectations are high. Often an immediate or fast response is expected and it’s not always easy to keep up with that.
With the music related things we do a lot with social media. It is inevitable, because it’s one of the most important tools to spread the word and share news.
Emails, Facebook, Twitter, internet… It’s all great for fast communication but ‘real’ conversations often don’t take place. It’s one of the reasons why Robb and I also call each other every now and then. First of all, it’s just good to actually hear each other on the phone instead of messaging, but it’s also good to share ideas, talk over things you don’t really talk about in emails or messages.

Phones, laptop, internet, emails, Twitter, Facebook, TV, wifi… Sometimes it’s good to have a break from all that.
Robb wrote a song about this, which is called ‘A Good Place For Us’.

The lyrics say it all…

A light a flickering light
A glass that shields the light
Not an off switch on a cord

A glow a golden glow
The warmth could fuel your soul
Not a dial on a wall

They’re sending signals on a line
Good news matures over time
With their hands by their sides, no distractions on the mind
It was a good place for them
It is a good place for us

A cloth to warm your bones
Shoes to shield from stones
Not an advert on your sole

A coat that fits just right
The warmth could hold you tight
A hood that will feel the rain

Kids playing safely in the street
Real times, where people truly meet
With their hands by their sides, no distractions on the mind
It was a good place for them
It is a good place for us

I say this all as if there wasn’t any pain
Good things have come from us, much we have gained
But there’s a light in my heart
Still flickers in the glass
Maybe this’ll pass
It was a good place for them
It is a good place for us

Right…back to reality 😉
As usual things have been busy behind the scenes…
Not so much for me, but Robb was busy.
Very busy actually….with animal costumes…
Although you might think that strange things are happening behind the scenes and something’s wrong with him, I can reassure you that he’s perfectly fine.
This is just normal behavior. He just did some serious clothes shopping and who doesn’t want to wear new clothes right away after buying them?

After the panda, monkey and the penguin it was time to introduce the giraffe and the elephant.

Besides that some other things happened as well.
Robb did a gig at The Hudson Bar in Belfast for ‘In The Round’ last week.
We received great feedback about the new song The Darker Side Acoustic, which was released a couple of weeks ago. The support has been great!
And the dates for the tour of The Netherlands are announced. You can find them here:

Time to end this long blog, probably my last blog for a while. It’s time for a break, time to let go of everything for a bit and enjoy some much needed time off.
I’ll be back writing again in a couple of weeks from now. By then there’ll definitely be news again to share!

A picture to end this long blog with. It sums up what happened behind the scenes over the past few weeks. Have a great summer!

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