Notes from Oleta

Bloggin' and Braggin'

I don't tweet or tweak, but I just had to let you know what's going on! We've had a very exciting year so far and it's been wonderful sharing my latest Cd, "Let's Stay Here" with all of you. Thanks to everyone who've sent us so many kind words about our concerts and our Cds. All of this is the inspiration that keeps me creative and inspired.

Right at the moment I'm preparing for the fall and winter season of shows which will take us to Florida, Austin, TX and once again I'll be doing The Colors Of Christmas Tour with Peabo Bryson, Stephanie Mills and James Ingram. If you're in Cerritos, CA or San Francisco (at Davies Hall) in December, you must join us. It's going to be an incredible run of shows.

And we're also preparing to return to Holland in January and February 2011 to do 11 shows in The Netherlands. I can't wait to see all of my friends again.

The greatest news is regarding the rerelease of my, "Come Walk With Me" CD. I've had so many of you telling me how blessed you've been by this gospel CD and that either you've worn it out or lost possession of it because family and friends took your copy away. Well, GOOD NEWS!!! We are announcing that you can buy the CD from my website once again. The songs are as fresh and powerful as the day that we first recorded it. And it's being released just in time in case you want to gift this CD during the Holiday season. Get it now so you'll have it in time for Christmas. and I'll be happy to sign it for you if you request it.

Thanks to everyone who have supported us so beautifully throughout the year. You'll hear more from me about this year and the upcoming year very soon. But in the meantime, I'm sending my very warmest greetings and best wishes to you and yours!



Happy Holidays, my Friends!

So it’s Oct. 31st, Halloween. Tinkerbell, Spiderman, Bat Woman and a seven year old dressed as a toilet (VERY clever costume) have just come to our front door. By the way, John’s dressed as a chef (which he is... for ME!) and I’m dressed as a lady from the 15th century... or 16th or something. I don’t know. I had some clothes left over from one of my videos. I put some pearls around my hair and a choker (too big for me) on my neck, and a big lace handkerchief that my mother gave me for my wedding. The neighbors were impressed! My main goal for the rest of the year is to NOT eat whatever candy is left over. I think there’s going to be a LOT!

Did I say, “rest of the year”? Wow, I can’t believe it’s almost over. We started the year in Japan at “the Cotton Club” for a week and we had an incredible time.

I can tell you that was just one of the many great highlights of the year. We made a lot of new friends by doing a surprise performance for a company in Scottsdale, AZ, and for The Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, TX; we had an amazing experience with an orchestra in Lafayette, LA and in a theater in Toccoa, GA. “Sculler’s” in Boston is always a blast, but not only that; I was so thrilled to finally have the honor of performing with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall.

From Sacramento to Queens; a jumpin’ time back with our friends at B. B. King’s in New York to Little Rock, DC and (are you ready?) Topeka!

John and I had a great time acting like tourists in London this year, even though I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past. It was great to renew an old acquaintance with such a lovely city. Throughout the rest of the year we traveled from Hawaii.... to Brooklyn; we visited our friends again on “the Crabcake Tour” back at the Birchmere and Ram’s Head in Alexander, VA and Annapolis, MD. From New Haven to Houston, and Largo, MD back to the Netherlands and then.....

There aren’t enough words to express the thrill of touring with Jonathan Butler and Kirk Whalum in South Africa. From the first night to the last, with tears flowing and the beautiful people of Cape Town and Bloem Fontein, before more than 20,000 people, all I can say is that I couldn’t tell if I was the performer or the audience. I spent so much time shoutin’ and crying and dancing in the wings! And if that wasn’t enough, Jonathan and Kirk were crowned Kings and I was crowned Queen of the Basotho, an honor that I do not take lightly. Everyone was so warm toward us and with every return trip that I make to South Africa, I love them even more.

We mourn the loss of Miriam Makeba who’ll forever remain in our hearts.

I’ve just returned from being a part of a celebration of three very important people who made major contributions of historical proportion in our country; Ms. Diane Nash, the civil rights activist who organized the first nonviolent sit-ins in Memphis in 1960 to protest the city’s segregated lunch counters, and in 1961 organized the Freedom Ride from Birmingham, Ala. To Jackson Miss. was honored for her extraordinary courage and sacrifice. Also celebrated was Vice President Al Gore for his Nobel Peace Prize winning work on, “An Inconvenient Truth: Global Warming Effect”, along with the incomparable B.B. King for a lifetime of soulful expression as a musician and performer of the blues. All of this set me up for one of the best moments of my life.... (so far).

For how many years have I been singing, “Everything Must Change.... Nothing stays the same. Everyone will change.” It has a whole new meaning now. When I woke up on the morning of November 5th, 2008 I told my husband, “I feel different!” I no longer feel like I’m “in” America. I feel like I AM AMERICA! I’m so overjoyed that I lived to see this moment. Most African Americans (especially “us older ones”) didn’t expect to see this in our lifetime. Many times it takes extreme crises to bring about change. I’m so glad that it happened by the hands of Black and White and Brown and all shades of Americans who exercised their right to freely express their choice of leadership. And to each of you who partook of this momentous historical achievement- for whomever you chose - THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO VOTE! And do not let this be the last time that you exercise the privilege.

We’re going to need a lot of prayer during the next few years to help to get us out of this crisis. If there was a song I could sing to help ease the pain of transition that many of you are going through now, I’d start singing it and wouldn’t stop until all the wounds were healed and the tears were wiped away. I’d play and sing until every lost job was replaced with a better one and every need met. The best that I can offer for the moment is to share a moment or two with you as we hopefully see you out on the road.

For the time being – Christmas time is here!

The holidays have always been important in my life. As Americans, we eagerly anticipate Thanksgiving and the Christmas season each year as a time when all of the senses are heightened. The sights, sounds and smells of the season instantly cause us to recall the fondest memories of our past spent with family and friends, and it gives us another chance to – at least for a few minutes – settle down and enjoy the simple things in life that have the deepest meaning.

Because of the many opportunities that music has afforded me to travel, I’ve been fortunate to experience the holidays in many different countries. And this year I’m looking forward to ringing in this joyous occasion with my friends in the United Kingdom. It’s been many years since we’ve toured here, but we’re hoping to capture some memorable moments in Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and London and to experience its unique, rich cultures and traditions found during this season. After which we’ll hop over to the Netherlands for a show with a wonderful Swing Band and then to Milan, Italy for three Gospel shows and some great food!

The key word during the holidays is “share”. We share our time, energy and gifts with others. So I’ll be pleased to share the stage with a very talented group of performers and musicians. Not only will I bring my fellow colleagues from the States who’ve worked with me for more than ten years, but I’m also excited to collaborate with a very talented inspirational group, “The Kingdom Choir”, whose unforgettable heart-warming sound will leave you wanting to dance in the aisles! As much as I long to be home during the Christmas season, I wouldn’t want to miss this for anything!

Happy Holidays! With Love from Oleta and John.