Sunday, September 27, 2009

Japan KMC Showcase and Tour

The tour went by too fast and was such an amazing experience! The first 2 beings I saw on the tarmac when landing were a pair of crows, I thought how auspicious and indeed it was!

The Japanese people were very friendly and so helpful. They really liked Canadians and wanted to know about my culture. I managed to get by with my paltry 20 Japanese words/phrases (including numbers 1 to 10) and gestures and great gut instincts. Most service people (hotels, subway) could help as they spoke much better English than my Japanese. Efficiency, order, politeness and respect are huge in the culture and I was in awe of how things worked there. They actually held the connecting plane to Osaka for me and 20 others as the flight was delayed. I was running down the moving walkways when I saw a sign in Kanji and then my name in English. I said to the uniformed woman, that's me and pointed to my name. The polite agent bowed and said please hurry to immigration, as we are holding the plane for you Ms. Braun! There was another agent guarding my guitar at the baggage claim and she showed me the way to domestic flights. They processed hundreds of people in about 8 minutes at immigration, I was amazed! I love the bowing custom by everyone though was taken aback at first. I was walked to elevators and bowed by the hotel staff, bowed to by cabbies, fellow artists, shopkeepers... everyone! I loved getting hot steamy cloths every time I ate, even convenience stores gave moist wipes with food purchases and the yakata robe in my hotel room with slippers was cool too! The western style bidet toilets were an adventure for sure, so many dials and effects, it took me awhile just to find flush! The subways were overwhelming but thankfully, the lovely interpreter Mana on my first day in Osaka showed us how to use the system. With patience and time to think about how the system worked I finally got the hang of it and was traveling alone the next day.

The first gig on an old narrow and bustling street at the Bamboo Club, was small and intimate. Dale Campbell an enthusiastic and brilliant guitarist from the UK shared the bill. Mama-san Rumi the effervescent owner made us special deserts and teas before we played and Chai in the middle and delicious Japanese pizza and beer at the end. We shared much laughter and stories in between song sets. She showed us where she was born! Her father had been a dentist and she came into the world in his waiting room. She converted it to the club later. The tatami room has pictures of her parents and is a sacred room where we had to remove our shoes. The room was like I had imagined a traditional room to look.

The Sunday night KMC showcase was great! It was located on the Okawa river at Keihan Tenmabashi. Mama-san Rumi from the Bamboo club showed up at the conference to come to see my showcase! She was wearing the Haida designed silk scarf I gave her as a gift and showing it to the sound techs and staff. Later that night she said it was keeping her warm. She was so sweet. She was a godsend and gave me a tour of the station and rooftop gardens and views and most important bathrooms!

Later, the Kabuki clown wrestlers opened the showcases. They were a real crowd generator and the folks loved them! I of course could not understand any of the dialogue which was an unusual feeling but the energy was great. One of the wrestlers who looked like he must be the origin of spiderman had been to Vancouver 10 times, we hit it off and he posed with us for pics. I played for a full house including many watching from above on the docks.

It was a perfect night for playing outside with a slight breeze and clear sky while river boats cruised by. Lights lit up the tree lined riverbanks with sparkling city lights all around. The sound system was great and the large audience was appreciative of my songs and at one point someone got a section chanting my name Nori Nori. It was touching in a very kawaii way. Techung the Tibetan folk and freedom singer had also joined us at our table along with Michel his drummer/tabla player. Techung gave a great performance, very moving and engaging songs and he played an encore too! He had a large following there and I met some other very nice Tibetans. After the show as I was leaving a young Japanese man in traditional dress decided to serenade me and began singing very loud Vive la Canada over and over as I ascended the ramp. It was quite surreal and a great end to a wonderful showcase.

The next day at 6:30 am after tossing and turning, worrying about sleeping in and finding my way I managed to get to the Shinkansen station and on the bullet train for Tokyo. The trains move like bullets and are aptly named so at 300 km an hour things sped by rather quickly. I transferred to the subway up and down numerous stairs and found my way to the hotel. I had a couple hours to shower and get ready as I had to be in Shibuya for a sound check at 2:30 for Big Fish Live VOl. 8! I also found my way there to my amazement as the signs were all in Kanji but the hotel clerk gave me an English map so I figured it out somehow.

Lugging all my gear, guitar and cds up and down numerous stairs again was real workout and I was tired and sweaty but rallied for the soundcheck and show. I had to soundcheck every hour as I was playing a song in each set with the artists and it was our first time ever together so we wanted to run through the songs a few times plus the songs in my set. Masayoshi Yamamiya had organized and promoted a terrific event. We had a producer for the show, sound tech, lights, video and audio recording, photographer Kazuhiro Nakamura ...the whole works!

The Japanese artists were outstanding I so enjoyed listening to their music and despite language barriers we were able to communicate with ease, had great chemistry and had an instant friendship. Hana Saito grew up in Australia so was fluent in both languages and could interpret for us. Her wonderful song Waiting for you has been continually popping in and out of my mind ever since I have left the show! Our duet of Smile was so lovely and our voices blended so well together, her guitarist and percussionist really grooved and set it up great and Big Fish Live folks liked it so much it is on youtube now. Hiroki Oshiba really added a warm and embracing texture to my song Ballad of Magic Man too. We had a great mood and feel going and this is also on youtube. Kaori Tsuji's beautiful song Mizukagami where I sang in my best phoenetic Japanese was well received too as was Sala Life, Hiroki's song I dueted. Hana hadn't realized she was to sing Crystallize with me and learned the verses in like an hour amazing wow and she sounded great! I loved Kaori's interpretation of Be Brave with ethereal ooh and aaahs making it beautiful and haunting.

I also gave I think I gave one of the best performances of my life that night. Despite lack of sleep, exhaustion from carrying my gear, finding my way in a strange land with strange language with millions of people on a national holiday, in a sold out standing room only smoky venue I gave everything I had to give as it suddenly dawned upon me, they can only feel my music they cannot understand my words. What I gave was pure emotion, my pure soul and it felt soooo good!!

After the show Kaori and I wandered down to Ginza line subway and she suggested dinner and saki or beer. Of course I quickly agreed. At the restaurant we were met with a friend of hers a drummer for Huckleberry Finn, whose name escapes me and who treated us to a delicious Japanese dinner. We enjoyed so many wonderful dishes when Kaori realized suddenly we had to run to make the last train and we barely made it!

The next day I slept in and wandered around Ginza and then to Hibuya Park. My soundcheck was for 6 and I found my way to the Pink Cow. A very funky and artsy venue I loved it. The warm and friendly David Mashiko met me and helped me set up the gear. Paintings and stuffed animals abounded, they had a good crowd out too. A group of Canadians from Montreal were on my right, on my left were Americans Pete Kronowitt, his bassist John Coppola and Japanese interpreter Mamicko, Japanese and Australians were in the center including David's friend Lindsay, a real international event like the conference in Osaka. I was very surprised and happy that Pete, John and Mamicko came to the gig as Pete also showcased at KMC but we never met until he came to my show. They were in Tokyo and liked my song on the compilation so decided to check me out. Daniel Edmonds opened, then my set and V1 Rockets David's band closed the night. The sets went well and I enjoyed the evening!

The next day was my only free day and last one in Japan. I met Kaori in old Japan (Edo) now called Asakusa. When she heard I was going there she wanted to meet me as that is her home area.
We met for lunch at a noodle house and then to the Sensoji temples and market. Kaori bought me a lovely yellow fan for a keepsake of my time there. She had a meeting and had to leave and I wandered around the area the rest of the day taking pictures and exploring the temples, shrines, wonderful food and amazing sights.

Next day I was dead tired and slept on the long flight home thinking that this was a most spectacular and most wonderful tour that I could have ever imagined and I felt so blessed! I look forward to returning and playing in Japan again and I think I may have been bit by the travel bug!

Visit my homepage to see the live Tokyo videos and also pictures of the trip which are also on

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Norine Braun Takes Acoustically Inclined To Japan

Vancouver, BC Canada - Vancouver based singer-songwriter Norine Braun embarks on her first Asian showcase and tour in Japan. Showcasing Sept. 20th at the first bilingual music conference in Japan, the international Kansai Music Conference, Building Bridges WIth Music in Osaka. WIth over 50 independent artists from 13 countries and 5 continents, Norine Braun will be representing Canada in the acoustic showcase. Playing songs from her first ever full-length acoustic album, Acoustically Inclined and songs from her previous releases. Norine, once again solidifies her ability to transition easily over to the acoustic world and transform into a roots blues oriented folkster. Norine Braun's music has been called "jazzed up, funk tinged pop." Built on a solid foundation of soul, Norine's music experiments with forms from ambient pop to jazz and folk on her 7 independent albums of original music. Tuneful and savvy her music zings to the heart of any listener. Winner: Artists for Literacy International Songwriting Competition, Stonewall Society's Female Musician of the Year for Now and Zen, Female Singer-Songwriter of the Year - Jazz for song Crystallize at Los Angeles International Independent Music Awards.

Norine shares the KMC showcase with Techung a Tibetan folk and freedom singer/songwriter living in exile in the San Francisco Bay Area. In recent years, Techung has had the honor to open for His Holiness the Dalai Lama's public speech in Costa Rica, Japan and USA. Techung and his band Lhasa Spirits performed this year at the famous Carnegie Hall. Norine's tour includes these dates: 9/18 w/Dale Campbell a solo acoustic guitarist and harp-guitarist from the UK @ Bamboo Club: Osaka, 9/21 Big Fish Live @ Shibuya Home in Tokyo with Japanese artists: Hiroki Oshiba, Kaori Tsuji and Hana Seito Open 18:00 Start 18:30 and on 9/22 at The Pink Cow in Tokyo 8pm

To learn more about Norine Braun contact

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Summer Solstice and a Canadian Happy Aboriginal Day to you!


Today my video is officially released and online at  


An excerpt from the press release:

Vancouver BC, June 21, 2009 Norine Braun has released a music video for her new song "Ballad of Magic Man" which is taken from her 7th independent album entitled "Acoustically Inclined". Norine says the song is about the magic of believing. "The magical man from the stories of our youth, the archetypal good man is always within us as we try and find our way in the mystery of life. We can carry that goodness, that innocence, that magic with us, always.”


In the video, directed and filmed by Julie Saragosa, the award winning singer-songwriter is followed on a journey through luscious west coast Canadian backdrops. The opening shot, we hear Norine’s footsteps, she enters wearing cowboy boots. The boots once belonging to her late father, a magical man himself would wear these boots on special occasions like attending the Calgary Stampede. Paralleling the message of the song, his spirit and the magic of his life continues on. Using hand held and traveling shots various images and sequences are split screened giving the viewer the ability to self edit by choosing which screen to watch. The video also presents scenes of live performance shots in various natural settings.


Julie Saragosa has shown work at festivals worldwide; including Milan, London, L.A., Chicago, Berlin, Vancouver and Toronto. In 2005, her film AmorĂ© won the Best Canadian Film award at Toronto’s International One-minute Film Festival.



NYC was an AMAZING, amazing  time! NYC is HUGE in every way.. overwhelming really. Kind of like the PNE on steroids only it's regular life and not an exhibition! Stimulation central for all senses... zowie.  United For The Ride  was truly an excellent gig, stellar line up, those artists have MAXIMUM CHOPS and mega stage presence they all filled the room with charisma and at sound check no less wowowow!! An honour to be among them for sure. I found my flow and was well received by a very welcoming audience. We were a success and have been invited back and another theatre in nyc has even shown interest too. Terry Christopher was an incredible host I felt at home and well taken care of! I took a zillion pics (ok just 300) made some new friends (New Yorkers are very friendly and helpful even though so busy) and saw as much as I could. Needless to say I look forward to returning soon. I posted some pics on for you to have look and do become a friend if you are on FB.



PRIDE season is almost here!


1. I am playing East Side Pride next Saturday June 27th my stage time is 1:30 the stage is 11am -5pm Come spend the afternoon at Grandview Park, Commercial Drive at Charles Street. This is an official Pride event.


2. We are back at St. Augustine's ( formerly The End)  2360 Commercial Drive where I held the Acoustically Inclined CD Release. We (Alice for a set, Sherri C and I) play 3 sets starting at 8pm Thursday July 16th and we will have a new PA to get superior sound that night too. No rules, no attitude, no worries and no cover.


3. Tuesday July 28th 6:30 pm I am the feature artist at Richmond Cambie Concert in the Park Series at the Gathering Place in King George Park, Cambie and No. 5 Road (east Richmond) Weather permitting.

4. WEDNESDAY, JULY 29TH, 2009 Pride In Art

Sugarbeach and friends. With special guests Norine Braun, Jenny Allen, and Armstrong Jr.  - 8:30 pm

Roundhouse Performance Centre

181 Roundhouse Mews
Vancouver bc
Price: $10  Official Pride Event.

5. SUNDAY, AUGUST 2ND, 2009 Vancouver Pride - 11 am -6 pm
Sunset Beach Festival English Bay

Celebrations continue after the Parade at Sunset Beach festival site. We have a crowd that reaches over 100,000 people in the park listening to the live music on the Festival Stage, viewing the diverse selection of products and services provided by vendors and drinking at the beer garden.  Official Pride Event.


Have a great summer, a happy pride and I hope to see you soon!






Saturday, May 30, 2009

Some June gigs and news for you. I hope you are enjoying the spring. 


1. Tune in this Tuesday to hear some tunes. I am Feature Performer playing live for half hour June 2 at 8pm PST  on Melodies in Mind Host with Ryan Fletcher CJSF 90.1FM in the lower mainland or online at  The feature is followed by a song circle with 3 artists at 9pm for an hour. The second round of song is the 'myspace' round, which means the performances will go on the for a week.


2. United For The Ride Vol. I CD Release and Benefit Concert

The Triad Theatre - 212-362-2590

Saturday, June 6, 2009/7:00 - 8:30pm

158 W. 72nd St., NYC (Between Broadway & Columbus)

$20.00 donation + FREE CD 

2 drink minimum/ for tickets contact or call 212-868-4444

I can't wait to see and meet some of my NY and East coast friends and fans! It's going to be exciting!  

If you are not in NYC you can still support this great cause and pick up a cd at  or



Be sure to catch the online cd release party for The "United For The Ride Volume 1" Online CD with interviews of all the artists by Len Rogers. The party premiered on May 23 on The show is available as podcast for one month.


 4. Bear Creek Park 2nd Annual Walk For ALS 

11 am Saturday June 13

13750 - 88 Avenue

Surrey BC

The walk will be held at Bear Creek Park in Surrey, BC again, with performances from 11am to 1pm (roughly). Last year Sherri and I had a great time playing and are happy to be invited back again.

The money raised at the walk will definitely be put to great use. Collectively, the 2008 Walk for ALS events raised over $2.2 million. The proceeds were used to fund ALS research as well as services for those living with ALS. 


5. The video is completed and will be released on summer solstice. Hurray!! Julie did an amazing job!! I found some great locations, the weather cooperated (no rain and sunshine just when we needed it) and the visuals she captured are truly west coast. Everything just flowed so effortlessly and creatively. She approached the video with the intention to be as interactive as possible using multiple split screens so that people can decide which one to watch thereby becoming their own editor making the video quite compelling...very, very kewl!! 

Best run now and start getting packed for ny ny! I have been lax on the blog but will try and post some details of my trip at


Talk soon!




New York New York and Japan -
April 24, 2009

BIG BIG news and lots of news for you this email! I will be playing very soon in New York and Japan.

1.FIRST the secret alluded to in my last email is out. I was invited and my song Be Brave (Blaxcot Remix) is included on a new Braking The Cycle Fundraiser United For The Ride Vol. I an official release date in early May. 12 LGBT and LGBT supporting artists from across the United States and Canada have combined their musical offerings with their commitment to the LGBT community’s efforts in the continuing fight against HIV/AIDS. From the generosity of these gifted and talented singer-songwriters, 100% of the proceeds of the sale of United For The Ride Vol. I will go directly to the LGBT Center of New YorkCity's various HIV/AIDS based programs and community outreach initiatives.

The official CD release concert for United For The Ride Vol I. will be held at The Triad in NYC on Saturday, June 6, 2009 from 7:00 – 9:00. Thanks to the generosity of Terry Christopher the Executive Producer and friends, I will be there to sing Be Brave and I hope my New York and East coast friends can attend and that everyone can support this great cause. I am so beyond thrilled as this is my first time ever in the big apple.
The full press release is at the end of the email. I will send links once they are available.

2. This morning more thrills and congratulations from the Kansai Music Conference that I was selected to showcase at the first bilingual music conference in Japan. KMC 2009, will be held at Convention Centre Osaka on Sept. 19 & 20. This will be a 2 day 2 night international spectacular in downtown Osaka. Shalestone will be putting together a tour for me of Osaka and area prior to the showcase. Details to follow...I am very, very excited to meet some of my Japanese friends and radio stations that have supported my music over the past years.

3. An online CD release party of Acoustically Inclined hosted by Len Rogers of Stonewall Society will premiere Monday, April 27 at 8 pm eastern and includes an hour interview. Len has an important part in the United For the Ride CD, he had suggested my music to Terry for consideration. So thank you for that Len!! Listen in at the show will be online 24 hours a day for at least 2 weeks following the premiere.

4. Music video is in the works. We are filming May 4th and Julie Saragosa is directing. Julie Saragosa is an interdisciplinary media and performance artist who, over the past decade, has shown work at festivals worldwide; including Milan, London, L.A., Chicago, Berlin, Vancouver and Toronto. In 2005, her film AmorĂ© won the Best Canadian Film award at Toronto’s International One-minute Film Festival. Her work extends to the curatorial and educational, as a grassroots organizer and workshop leader of the Vancouver super8 festival Project8, and media arts instructor at SFU and UBC-O. An active community member, she’s taught media arts workshops at the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, VIVO Media Arts, mentored video artists through the Inside Out Film Festival, the Project8 Boot Camp and the CFC’s Venus Video program.

5. Amazon now has all my cds and mp3s available at

Well I hope all is well your way and that I see you soon!


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