Showing posts from 2008

A Vegemite Tale!

Jan.s: Jessica, I've known you since you were a young girl; wise and witty beyond your years! Your family is steeped in Opera/Theatre and you've not surprisingly taken to the boards. Tell me what you're up to? Jessica: Since the time when we lived together in that beautiful house in Chatswood much has happened. My path into the theatre world was fairly inevitable. As much as I tried in my youth to persuade myself and my family that I’d be happy collecting the toll on the Harbour Bridge, or becoming an accountant, or a beach bum, the theatre lured me back in. It took until I was 23, after a few years of trying unsuccessfully to get into Australian drama schools and generally wasting time, to make the decision to travel to London and audition for the numerous quality schools over here. This was initiated by my Mother Beverly who was in London at the time and sent me the application packets. I was loathe to leave Australia, after only having made it back there after comple…

Part Two - Hilde Hefte! Egil Kapstad...and not stealing the singers notes!

Jan.s: Your partner, accomplished pianist/composer Egil Kapstad provides a solid and seamless basis for your vocals. His arrangements/orchestrations support the nuances of your voice.  Tell me about the process you both might enter into preceding a recording or occasion, for example the Prague recordings.

Hilde: Egil is a word freak himself and he never writes a music arrangement until he’s read the lyrics. And after he has read it he’s focusing on telling the same story as the singer; both in the arrangement, his own fills etc.

About the Prague-recording: First I had to find the songs, and then the right keys. The key is not only the key I feel is right for my voice, but it’s a question about color.

Every key has its own color and I always have to find the right one for the story I want to tell from the lyrics. When that is done Egil starts to work with the arrangement, instrumentation and orchestration.

He’s not afraid of telling a plain, a complex or a straight ahead love-story so…
My friend, sports masseuse par excellence, Henry Broda has just informed that their clinic can be reached on the following urls: Please visit them in the elegant Dymocks Building in Sydney. They're the best practitioner's on the block...and beyond! Stay well! Don't worry! Be happy! jan.s

Part One of an Interview with Hilde Hefte!

I first 'met' Hilde via myspace...

I can't recall just who discovered who but it was a wonderful cyber meeting!

I've always loved the voice of Norwegian Jazz singer, Karin Krog and for many years Karin and I corresponded via snail mail!

To my mind Hilde follows Karin's great legacy of  Norwegian Jazz singers with a  voice of subtle complexity, warmth, intimacy, poignancy and fearless irony!
Hilde has graciously allowed me an interview. I continue to learn, she is never predictable, is full of depth, generosity of spirit and self effacing good humour!


Jan.s: Hilde! Your voice and phrasing have an innate and completely at home Jazz sensibility. Tell me about your first jazz influences.

Hilde: My first influence was being born in to a family that loved music, especially jazz and classical music.
My father played the alto sax and Bb clarinet and his heroes were jazz musicians like Lester Young, Erroll Garner etc. BUT neither my mother nor my father ta…

Hilde Hefte! A force to be reckoned with!

Hilde is a cool Norwegian jazz artist with warmth and humour! Please visit Hilde's site, not only to hear her beautiful voice but discover the incredible array of artists that she also supports via her various sites. www.hildehefte.noHilde and her partner, Egil Kapstad, together have created the most wonderful CD's. Here's one of that you will love created in 2007. Hilde Hefte and The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra To learn more about Egil and his incredible musical background, as a composer, and accompanist please visit his site: Wishing you happy listening. jan.s

Wonderful healers! Wonderful friends!

Here is a photo I took a few months back of two of my favourite people on the planet, Henry Broda and Nabih Moussa. Both are dedicated alternative healers who have played a major role in my journey of recovery from breast cancer. As you can see they like nothing better than a good coffee! Please visit their clinic: Much good cheer to all. jan.s
I've just had the great pleasure of giving a workshop on Performance Techniques for seven young singers at the Waratah School of Music, Katoomba, NSW. The gracious hosts, Tracey and Phil Campbell, have created an elegant setting conducive for in depth workshops. The added bonus of having their dog Teddy on board and Tracey's especially yummy home baked cookies made it an wonderful day for all. I found all of the participants truly inspiring . Thank you. Please take a look at their fantastic school A Summer School is also on it's way. Much good cheer to all. jan.s

Clouds moving!

I love taking photos of clouds in the mountains....they remind me of the wisdom in the meditation practises I've been given...thoughts like clouds - moving - don't attach to them! Ah! See how they dissolve and fly!

Great US jazz artists

Spring has arrived in the Blueys in the land of oz and with it countless Cherry Blossoms! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh - in the meantime so little time to write this blog but now that I'm here I'd like to introduce you to some wonderful and gifted friends of mine on the other side of the world. They are the two K's from place names with M's...hmmmmm!? Wonder what that means? Please visit their sites and listen to their great music. One of them is in Michigan and the other in Maryland and I've met neither face to face but we've become great cyber pals and both are truly inspiring jazz artists. Here's the url of my friend and vocalist the cool cool K Anderson Matthews with the sultry tones: Her voice is gorgeous and I'm trying to tempt K (Kathleen) to record a number of my songs..and also songs I've co-written with Kirk Kadish. The other is Kirk Kadish a kool kat indeed: Kirk and I are also completing a…

Thawing out!

A few weeks back late late snow in the Blueys...and only a sprinkle of it to tell the tale! Now Spring has arrived and we're all shaking out the rugs and getting the washing on the line as our mother's before us! Ah the seasons and their great renewal. Welcome to all her visit my blog and whatever the season I send you good tidings. jan.s
Today is a beautiful Blue Mountain's day and I'm listening to Joni Mitchell and also Pattin Griffith. Here's another little collage I did one cold rainy Blueys day awhile back. I first began making them when I lived in London in the early 70's. I had little money and had to invent Christmas gifts and I began creating collages for gifts! Wishing all a beautiful day! Thanks for visiting bentenlaughing! jan.s
On yet another cold old wintery and rainy Blueys day I just found this beautiful blog via my friend Linda Sarah's gorgeous site...oh the warmth one human being can bring to another. I hope you enjoy this site too!

"Free Your Voice"

Janice Slater - "Free Your Voice" - voice workshop for Teenagers/Young Adults Sat 23rd August 4-6pm (Max 8 in a class) "Have fun and learn to use your voice in a supportive environment. Explore freeing the natural voice through breathing, play; and working creatively with text while building self-confidence. The workshop is suitable for teenagers/young adults studying English and/or drama. Chosen text is “Romeo and Juliet”. “Voice can be many things. It can be shouting, singing, whispering, humming, and laughing! Your voice is your way of saying things – the energy you bring to communicate! You don’t have to discover it, you already have it! Our voice responds to play, to movement; and thought and feeling – its fuel is the body moving, and the imagination!” Janice Slater Janice has worked with film director Gillian Armstrong, the Sydney Theatre Company and Cate Blanchett; she is a vocal coach/sound designer and script editor having worked as a dramaturge on numerous t…

Adam Warnock. A great Blueys singer/songwriter!

For years now I've been saying helloe to a lovely local, his wife and to begin with their young son at a cafe where I have my morning coffee. Well since those early helloes, they've left the Blueys and returned and with them brought another young son into the world. Even though Adam mentioned he was a musician we've never gone beyong the helloes...until recently when I asked to hear more of his music and he handed me two demos worth of songs! Wow! Adam Warnock is both an incredibly gifted musician and singer/songwriter. Take a listen!


When I first met Julianne, she was living in the Megalong Valley, west of the Blue Mountains. She was composing the most haunting music on an old upright and sharing her abode with a cat called Kiku and taking care of her akido teacher's horse in the adjoining paddock. We talked about music and I asked Julianne who inspired her and she mentioned Peter Gabriel. Julianne said that if ever she wanted to be on a label it was his! Well, after a long and dedicated musical/personal journey (fifteen years I believe!) all to her credit, she's done it...a self funded, self penned and exquisite work of art from Julianne.

'Timeless' is now available on Womad online:

Julianne, not unlike the indigenous people of this land (Australia) has a deep love of country. The above photo was taken of Julianne returning to one of her beloved places in the Megalong Valley on her most recent holiday.
With regard to copyright, if you have any interest in using my images or text on this site please feel free to contact me. All work on this site unless otherwise credited is by me and is protected by copyright.

'Awakened State'

Helloe Dear Friends, Please visit my friend Bruno Libert's site to listen to the tracks we've done for the soon to be released CD 'Awakened State'... I hope you enjoy it. jan.s

Julianne Spicer's Beautiful Artwork

I've finally managed to find out how to link to my friend, ex singing student, musical collaborater and incredibly gifted singer/songwriter Julianne's artblog! Much love to all. jan.s

I took this piccie of Julianne about a year back when she was visiting oz! What fun!

By the way here is Julianne's website:
Here's a little collage I made yonks back called Leaf Mould! I hope you like it.

Please visit the Hunger Site

I've been visiting this site for some time and I'd love to encourage you to do so! Just click below! Countless blessings for countless beings for countless aeons! A trillion thanks. jan.s

Images online

Oh I almost forgot! I now have artwork online at Just click onto an image at it will take you directly to the site where you can see other artwork I've created. Prints, canvases and cards are for sale. I hope you enjoy them! Much love jan.s
Welcome to all visiting bentenlaughing. Here is a photo of two of my favourite Blue Mountain's people. Writer, Julie Milligan and singer/songwriter Robyne Dunn.

By the way Robyne's not only one of my all time favourite singer/songwriters but a few months ago I asked Robyne if I could represent a number of her songs. She graciously said 'Yes!'

Samples of songs from Robyne's 'Songs from the Belfry' can be heard on the url below and her CD purchased there also.

If you are a singer looking for great new songs to add to your recording repertoire please feel free to contact me here on bentenlaughing with any enquires regarding Robyne's songs.

This is one of the cakes I drew for Seeger Gallery!
A wee bit of fancy indeedy!
I hope you enjoy it! Soon they will be for sale online!

On a cold old wintery Blue Mountains day as I listen to the formidable guitar playing of fellow Ozzie, Brian Holloway, I send warm wishes to all who may visit these pages.

May all be peaceful, loving and gracious in your world. jan.s

I live in the clouds!

Helloe to Everyone! This was what I discovered one morning! I live in the clouds and it's extraordinary! Friends of mine wake up to this view often as their house looks out at the escarpment. This is the Blue Mountains in Australia. How fortunate we are to be able to view this ancient landscape - millions of years old. Wishing you all and I hope to show you more photos soon. jan.s

Vihara Celelbrations

Here are some photos from the celebrations at The Vihara Temple in the Blue Mountains for the Buddhas Birthday. This is my friend, sculptor Phil Hay and me outside the Stoopa. jan.s

Buddha's Birthday

Today I'm celelbrating the Buddha's Birthday at The Vihara, the first Buddhist Temple built in Australia. The Venerable Kovida, our kind and inspirational resident Sri Lankan monk will lead the celebrations. I'll post some piccies soon! Enjoy the day. jan.s


Welcome to the first blog of bentenlaughing! Benten can be seen in the photograph playing the biwa. She is one of the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan. Currently I'm excited about some ink/watercolour paintings I've recently completed of little cakes! Yes petits fours to compliment the full display of wonderous art by French/Ozzie artist Kristine McCarroll's exhibition 'Sensuelle et sans Suite, Forever' opening at Seeger Gallery Saturday 17th May. To view Kritistine's work please visit the url below:

Go to

As a practitoner of Tibetan Buddhism my petits fours act as a visual offering to all beings. May all beings find the food that nourishes not only the senses but that which assists in recognition of the nature of mind ! 'May all beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. May all beings attain enlightenment'. As my great and kind Tibetan teacher would paraphrase 'Don't worry! Be Happy'. jan.s