Picking things up with Cheryl B. Engelhardt
Cheryl B. Engelhardt recorded her current album, “Luminary” — a Grammy contender for best New Age album — in Greece. An avid traveler who’s raring to go once this pandemic is over, Engelhardt said she has always tried to fit in with the locals.
“I speak Spanish-ish,” she said. “When I was traveling to Switzerland, I picked up a bit of SwissGerman. I wouldn’t say it’s easy for me but I do like Duolingo and can pick up basic phrases, which I try to do, any time I travel. For some reason, however, I cannot figure out French. I tried Greek as well when I was in Greece last summer (working on “Luminary”) and that was pretty tricky as well. For some reason, picking up small bits of Hebrew and Arabic were not as hard for me when I was touring in Israel. Seeing the curves of Arabic versus the straight lines of Hebrew helped me visually.”
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: I have to say I love Chamonix, France. My husband is a mountain guide and in the summers guides around the Alps, specifically Mont Blanc.
Q: What untapped destination should people know about?
A: Before I even met my husband, I was drawn to the Alps, and no, I am not a climber. But for some reason, I found myself touring with a few guitar players in
Switzerland, which led me to more gigs, and I ended up performing in Switzerland about seven different times. My favorite little place to play was a cellar in Bern called Ono. You walk down from the cobblestone street into a wine bar, then head through a stone arch into a carved out stone room with the best sounding upright piano in Europe. It was darling.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A: That music can take me anywhere. And that transitions are important. The faster I can transition into my new place, even if that is a car on an overnight train, the faster I can be present with the experience. I experience so much less anxiety than I used to because I’ve been very intentional about speedy transitions. That includes packing, unpacking, setting up, learning the area and finding the right spot for my toothbrush.
Q: Street cart or fine dining at a nice restaurant?
A: Ew to street carts. Never trusted them. That may just be the New Yorker in me. So sorry, not sorry. Fine dining always and forever.
Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A: I have a thing with stars, so anywhere I could see the Northern Lights.
Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A: I have a travel MIDI keyboard that allows me to capture any musical ideas on the go. I also have a black jumper that I can easily layer, but also is cool for warmer destinations. And my daily Luminary journal. I don’t journal very much, but for over two years, I’ve been writing a few short things I’m grateful for in the morning and I swear I haven’t had anxiety since I started.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?
A: Coke. It settles my stomach and gives me that little sugar boost when my body doesn’t know what time it is. I don’t normally drink or buy soda in the States, so it’s always a treat that reminds me I’m traveling and I got this!
For more from the reporter, visit www.jaehakim.com.