After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, Jordanian pianist Zade Dirani — who is known simply as Zade — began a grassroots effort to let the world know that what the hijackers did was not representative of his people or religion. His four-year tour included performances in synagogues, churches, community centers and homes, as well as the more traditional concert venues. Today, the 30-year-old musician splits his time between Miami Beach and Los Angeles. His current CD and DVD “One Night in Jordan,” which shows off his classical pop compositions, is in stores now. Keep updated on his latest tour dates at www.zade.com.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Positano, Italy. The village is nestled on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy, on the edge of a mountain overlooking the water. The bougainvillea framed against the white walls, the fresco domes, the scent of jasmine gently traveling through narrow pathways and the reflection of the entire village in the sea all conspire to create the ultimate enchantment. I have a love affair with the Mediterranean Sea in general. It has a certain magic that has been of tremendous inspiration to my music. I would like to take some time off to travel around the Mediterranean. One day I would like to open a restaurant somewhere on the Amalfi Coast.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. When in the United States, Laguna Beach, Calif.; when in the Middle East, Byblos, Lebanon.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. My favorite hotels are the Hotel Palazzo Murat (www.palazzomurat.it) in Positano, the Ciragan Palace (www.kempinski.com/istanbul) in Istanbul, Turkey, and the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea (www.kempinski.com/deadsea) in Jordan.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Bab Al Mina (www.babelmina.com) in Byblos, Lebanon, Ago (www.agorestaurant.com) in Miami Beach, Fla., Fakher Al Deen in Amman, Jordan, Three Square Cafe & Bakery (www.rockenwagner.com) in Venice, Calif., Ivy at the Shore (www.ivyattheshore.com) in Santa Monica, Calif., and Simon Pearce (www.simonpearce.com/category/restaurants.do) in Quechee, Vt.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Notepad. I always journal, a notepad should always be handy in case I come up with an idea for a new song, project, etc. You never know when inspiration strikes. My iPod provides the necessary soundtrack for the trip! Jogging sneakers. I like to experience the places I am visiting by walking around. Books. For some reason I like to start three or four different books at the same time and I do carry them with me when I travel!
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. London. The city’s majesty captivates me. I love the museums, and history. I also like getting away to Windsor and Canterbury whenever possible. Paris. St. Germain Des Pres is a lovely Parisian neighborhood and Cafe De Flore is my favorite place to have cafe au lait and read a good book. New York City. The city feels like the center of the world. I like hanging out in Soho, walking the cobblestone streets, browsing art galleries and meeting friends for drinks at the Mercer Hotel. Beirut. It boasts beautiful Eastern Mediterranean architecture and some of the best music in the Middle East and the food is out of this world! Actually, my favorite burger in the world — after In-N-Out — ironically, can be found in Beirut at Roadster Diner! The one I like has melted mozzarella cheese. … I think its called Dynamite and rightfully so. San Francisco. When I first came to the United States, I was 18 years old and I was studying at Santa Clara University. My friends and I used to take weekend trips to San Fran. I remember the first time, none of us knew where we were going, and we just decided to experience the city by foot, much like I do now everywhere I go. It was also in San Fran that I was first introduced to Starbucks and got hooked ever since.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I usually like to find out where the best music venues are and check out their events calendar. I also like to know if there is a local symphony orchestra. And I like to try and find the best local restaurants.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Southern Spain. I am fascinated by Granada and I look forward to spending time there and working with flamenco musicians. I also would like to spend time in Tuscany (in central Italy) and rent a cozy place, get a piano and spend the summer writing music and learning how to cook authentic Tuscan cuisine. I am very much inspired by beauty and Italy. All of Italy can be framed and put in a museum. Beauty is at every corner.
Q. What is your best vacation memory?
A. Growing up we used to go to London for family vacations. It was my first real experience of a big city and I have loved it ever since I was a boy.
© 2010 JAE-HA KIM
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(Photo by: Suzuki K.)
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Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Tags: Ago Restaurant, Amalfi Coast, Bab Al Mina, Byblos, California, Ciragan Palace, Fakher Al Deen, flamenco, Granada, Hotel Palazzo Murat, In-N-Out, iPod, Istanbul, Italy, Ivy at the Shore, Jordan, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Laguna Beach, Lebanon, London, Mediterranean Sea, Miami Beach, Positano, Roadster Diner, Santa Clara University, Simon Pearce, Three Square Cafe & Bakery, Tuscany, Zade Dirani