BELLE LINDA HALPERN was performing in Robert Wilson's "Alcestis" at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA when she had the great good fortune to meet pianist Ron Roy. They were both inspired to create their first cabaret by a painting at The Peasant Stock Restaurant in Cambridge, where they were to perform. It was a large image of a voluptuous, naked woman surrounded by luscious food! Some of the songs on this CD originate from that first collaboration--including "I Can Cook", "Peel Me a Grape", and "My Handy Man". This show was the beginning of a rich performing relationship extending to New York, San Francisco, Paris, Munich, and the villas and castles of Northern Italy.
More than 20 years later, Sabrina Hamilton, artistic Director of the Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst, MA, invited Belle and Ron to create a show to close a season on the theme of food and appetite. They hearkened back to their first collaboration, but their creative interests had widened beyond food and sex to embrace all of our too-human cravings. "I'm Not That Girl" speaks to the craving for acceptance; "I Want It All", "My Simple Christmas Wish" and "I Was Here" to craving fame and success; and "If I Can Dream" speaks to the hunger for a better world.
In asking herself about what satisfies our cravings, Belle turned to warm memories of her Grandma Ida. She remembered her first cooking lesson at eight years old when her grandmother was teaching her to improvise. When Belle chose spearmint to spice the meatloaf, her grandmother said, "Perfect, Honey--we'll add a little more oregano and a little more salt!" Then she took Belle's chin in her hand and she said, "Sweetheart, you can do no wrong."
That blessing--to feel enough as one is--inspires the last songs on this CD: "Rocking Chair", "Roumania, Roumania", "Abi Gezunt", and "Grateful". We hope listening inspires you to taste the sweetness in the everyday.