Tamuz Nissim, Jazz vocalist and song writer, wrote her 24-hour journal for my blog.
Award-winning Israeli vocalist Tamuz Nissim has been living and performing Jazz in NYC, together with her husband guitarist and composer George Nazos and their cat Piroulita, for the last four years. She was born in Tel Aviv Israel and for some years lived in Den Haag, The Netherlands and Athens, Greece where I’ve met her. You can find Tamuz and George’s music in Spotify.
Tamuz wrote an article for survivalbox.gr about her life in quarantine.
I don’t usually wake up too early being a musician after all.. in normal time that means I wake up around 09:30 (or later if I had a show at night.) During Corona I don’t put an alarm clock at all (except on Saturdays when I start teaching at 09:00) so I wake up around 10:00 or 11:00 and sometimes stay in bed reading or listening to music while cuddling with my cat and husband. There’s no hurry. We’re staying home all day anyway.
While I brush my teeth, Piroulita, my cat, is already waiting by the fridge for her morning treat! We call the fridge ‘candy land’ and she usually gets tuna or sometimes yogurt. A few weeks ago the supermarkets were empty because people got panicked and got everything! So there was no tuna for Pirou. If I don’t feed her as soon as I wake up, she starts miyawing like crazy!
Here comes the sun
I put a record on- Jazz pianist Bud Powel and make a double espresso for Giorgos and jasmin green tea for me. I make breakfast (while dancing or singing along to the music), oats with all kinds of fresh berries, walnuts, pecans, flk seeds, pollen and dates honey or regular honey, depends on the mood. I love dates honey, it’s called Silan, it’s a traditional sweet from my dad’s family that are originally from Bagdad, Iraq. We eat it in passover as ‘Haroset” with walnuts. One of my aunts used to make it at home so when I was a kid we would get a small jar of hand made Silan for passover. It was so precious and delicious! Now I can find a pretty good one with no added sugar in the Israeli supermarket near my home.
During breakfast I read some news, mostly from Israel, not the US. I try not to spend too much time on that, and not get depressed… Also in the US things are just too scary, sometimes I rather not know all details. I check social media, enjoy some videos by my friends, relax for a while and then do my Yoga. Giorgos is playing classical guitar in the living room next to me and it is very calming!
I practice Yoga with Adrienne, a very sweet girl who has a YouTube channel. She explains everything smoothly and it’s gradually getting harder. I’m in day-28 out of 30-days series and didn’t skip a day. In normal days, I never had the time, nor the clear mind to do Yoga every day. I’m glad that I do now.
I love it! My body starts craving for stretches and I can feel that it helps my mood and well being. Sometimes, immediately after Yoga, I do voice exercises to maintain and improve my technique. Other times, I feel that I need to let my voice rest. I try to listen to my body, the voice is a delicate instrument. Today I’ll do a quick warm up because Giorgos and I are planning to record a new song he wrote.
Around 13:00 it’s a good time to speak to my family in Israel (for them it’s right after dinner). My dad calls me every day, he is worried because the virus hit hard New York! I understand him and try to calm him down. I’m also worried about my family but I trust them to be very careful. I call my mom too, a video chat is always nice. I enjoy talking to them every day. There is so much uncertainty and fear at this time. We should be there for one another more than ever.
Back to the music!
Some piano exercises, technique, new songs, maybe a classical piece to work on some reading. Lately I work on a solo transcription of McCoy Tyner. Such a wonderful pianist. I teach (at this time online) 3 days a week, so I have more time for practicing and this is great! Today it’s beautiful outside. I’m taking a break, will play some more in the evening.
I told Giorgos that we better record the song now, before lunch because I don’t like to sing with a full stomach and after lunch we should go out, maybe get some nice video shots of spring in Riverdale. Our neighborhood that is very beautiful and green. We’re lucky to live near the park, away from the city center at this time.
Yesterday we sent a draft recording of the song to our bassist friend and he recorded his part. We are now recording on top of that bass line. First the guitar and then the vocals. It’s different than the way we usually record in the studio, and we play all together, just like if it was a live concert. We have a small setting at home and are still learning how to work with it. Luckily the computer has simple programs for editing the music and videos. We record a video and audio,
Lunch and the supermarket experience
We are eating salmon with potatoes. We try to shop every 2 or 3 weeks so we get more products than we usually would. The supermarket, Trader Joes has good organic products that are not overpriced and we can also find some Greek and Israeli products. There is a long line, we will spend at least 30 m waiting to get in. There are marks on the ground keeping people 2 meters apart. Some customers, including me are wearing masks. When it’s our turn to get in (they don’t allow more then 20 people at the time inside that big super market.) the give us a well sanitized shopping cart. We get what we need as fast as possible and getting out of there.
Out for a drive
After lunch we are going out, into our lovely red Honda Jazz (in the USA and Japan it’s called Honda Fit – can fit a double bass, guitar and 2 amps easily!) I got us the ‘Jazz’ logo on eBay so we have both names on our car. Driving around the streets, it’s nice and warm and I’m wearing a dress. Regardless to making the video I’m happy to be out, the weather is crazy, mostly cold so I enjoy every bit of sun I can get. We stop near some big pink magnolia trees and take some videos.
We drive towards the river, stop at different places along the way, the light is beautiful, the sun is low. I almost forgot that there is a pandemic but then some other people with masks passed by and we all squeezed to the side of the path to stay as far away as possible from one another. So sad. When this is over I need to give a big hug to all my friends.
We are back home, coffee and cake. After some more music.
We eat a sandwich and have some tea. My brain feels pretty tired from all the music so we watch one episode of The Sopranos (yes, seeing it just now.. ) while cuddling with Piroulita.
Feeling better, I decide to try edit the video clip of Giorgos’ new song. We watch the videos we took and upload them to the program. As the ideas start coming we keep on going and going. We ended up editing the video until 4:00 am! We love the result and share it on social media. Hoping to bring some smiles to the faces of our friends and families around the world.
This new song is called “Hope”. I hope that we could see the end of this Corona soon…
Going to bed, no alarm needed!