During what would have been Spoleto Festival USA’s 44th season, we’ve spoken with several artists who were slated to perform in Charleston about their weeks in quarantine. How do they practice? What’s in their ovens? How do the folks who inspire us so much stay inspired themselves? Our “What I’m Watching” series asks just that. Read on to hear from Linda May Han Oh.
Born in Malaysia and raised in Western Australia, Linda May Han Oh first dabbled on the electric bass at age 15, playing jazz in high school bands while also playing a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers outside of school. Fast forward to 2010, when the recent master’s graduate received the Jazz Journalist’s Award for Up and Coming Artist of the Year. In the last decade, Oh has performed with musicians such as Joe Lovano, Vijay Iyer, Geri Allen, and Terri Lyne Carrington, and is currently the bassist with Pat Metheny. Together with her partner Fabian Almazan, Oh was slated for a four-concert series at the Simon’s Center Recital Hall as part of this year’s Wells Fargo Jazz lineup. But all is not lost: On June 3, she and Almazan are offering a digital concert as part of Spoleto at Home. Ahead of the virtual performance, we asked Oh what’s on her daily to-do lists.
What are you binge-watching?
The Last OG on Netflix. I love Tracy Morgan, and creator Jordan Peele is a genius.
What tops your musical playlists?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Silvio Rodriguez, James Brown, Keith Jarrett, and HER.
What podcast are you into right now?
Radiolab is great, as is News in Slow Spanish, and StoryCorps. Fabian has the Rachel Maddow Show on every day.
What book is on your bedside table?
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts
Any guilty-pleasure snacks?
Definitely, definitely dark chocolate-covered almonds.
Do you have quarantine buddies?
Fabian Almazan is my quarantine buddy and buddy in life. In spite of everything going on in the world around us, it’s nice to actually spend more time together as we’re always on the road or away working.
What’s your quarantine schedule?
We try to go out for a walk early in the morning, when fewer people are out and about. After breakfast we generally get to our work or practice, i.e. remote recording, practice, writing, and teaching, with breaks for lunch. Of course, though, we do, sometimes, end up productively procrastinating by accomplishing some tasks that need doing around the apartment. In those cases, I find myself staying up late doing the work I should have done earlier in the day.
Sometimes during lunch, Fabian will put on episodes of The West Wing or Madam Secretary. I’d never really watched either show before, and we always get sucked in and I have to tear myself away to finish work!
How are you continuing your daily practice?
Mainly getting back to fundamentals on my instrument. When we’re busy traveling or gigging, we don’t have the time to really reassess the fundamentals of playing. So I’ve been enjoying slow practice and focusing on fundamentals of technique, time and sound. I’m also playing a lot with Fabian at home, trying out some new things, which keeps me inspired.
What are you most looking forward to when things get back to normal?
Playing with and seeing my friends, performing for live audiences, and seeing live music. Also, seeing family, going to the movies, and swimming.
Want more? Visit LindaMayHanOh.com to find her albums along with news and updates from the artist. Follow her on Instagram at @lmoh000. And make sure you stay up-to-date with Spoleto at Home offerings and artists on Instagram at @SpoletoFestivalUSA.