I have been saying I am going to write a book of my memoirs “someday” for the past 6 years maybe longer. But is 51 too young to start writing such a thing ? What is too late or too old or too soon? What this really means is When do I run out of time? I don’t know the answer to that last question and so based on a dream I begin. Someone once said to me that most people would be happy to live a quarter of what I have lived but being the adventuress sort I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface of my dreams. Here are my observations as much of my life has been as a priveledged observer. Well it’s more like one long observation. Enjoy these anecdotes. – EKAYANI
I make a record with Robert Plant. We pose together both curly headed characters and as usual Robert has a practicality about him mixed with his wry sense of humor. How did I get here? Ah yes I desired it.
The first time I heard Robert spelling out his anger it was a hot New York summer night as I was listening to the radio and staring out the window. The radio was a recent discovery for me and I marveled, though didn’t aways care for everything that came out of the box.(have you ever been mellow?) I was 11 years old and found myself completely thunderstruck that a man could be so upset at a woman for the way she treated him as this was the era when men didn’t show emotions because they didn’t have any. Remember I was 11 so this whole boy girl territory was like landing on Mars. Boys had feelings? They got upset? He was vulnerable? And that ladies and gentleman launched a four decades long listening in. It’s a totally good thing my parents wouldn’t allow me to go see Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden (Heck they wouldn’t even let me go hear Stevie Wonder at MSG which was beyond my 12 year old comprehension. We were fans!) as I surely would have found a way to run away with them. And in the 70’s things like that could and would happen.
Fate of Nations Paris 1993
Paul and I were working on tracks for what would become my first “studio” EP later morphing into Ekayani and the Healing Band. Paul a very talented, but very introverted guitarist and composer lived right next to the Goutte D’Or on La Rue Stephenson. A beautiful little church of Saint Matthieu was on his block. I took this is a very good sign especially since my own brother was named Matthew who was in his day an excellent jazz drummer. One day as I got off the metro I spotted the poster advertising Roberts upcoming July dates at the Zenith and all I remember is jumping up and down in the street in front of said poster. Did I look crazy? I am sure I did but a fan cares not for external judgements from non fans. I ran like a fool to Paul’s and breathlessly shared the exciting news about Roberts imminent arrival and proclaiming that we were going to the show! We had to! It was important! This took some determination as I remember being so broke that baguette money was a big deal. But nothing was going to stop me. I remember Paul saying at the end of the concert that it had been an “interesting” experience for him. Just how far out of familiar territory was he? Apparently very. I was on a cloud.
The Zenith Paris - Sometime later I met this character named Laurent who was some sort of television mogul producing shows for broadcast in France (a small pond) with The Three Tenors and such. Somehow he was involved in the taping of this solo show or the interview or both. I wore a blue catsuit which I thought was very “rock chick” but Laurent took to calling me “Pyjama” as he thought my outfit looked like pajamas. Maybe he was right but for whatever reason we got to go backstage and see the Plant himself.The man is towering. At least 7 feet tall and by no means puny. I sacrificed an expensive designer shirt to my idol only to realize there would be no possible way shape or form he could wear it. Hopefully he gave it to his girlfriend. Before you bring someone a gift of clothing get their approximate measurements as photography can be deceptive. I made small talk backstage with Charlie the bass player in the band that I would meet again several years later after the No Quarter show. A very nice guy happy to be touring on such a cool project who was (and may still be) Mr. Plants son in law. I remember giving Robert a cassette tape. At least you can’t say I didn’t try. The cassette had this music on it. I thought he might appreciate the ambient feelings on it but of course he’d been there and done that with John Paul Jones and crew. I have to thank LK for getting me the pass to get in in the first place.
and yes that was the shirt i miss that shirt lol
Intuitive Meeting at Cafe de L’Industrie leads to No Quarter at Bercy 1995 (Thank you Honey)
Elle magazine shoot at the Cafe de L’Industrie Paris.
I was dating a very tall Argentinian man whom I had met at another big concert in Paris when Linton Kwesi Johnson was playing the Zenith circa 1994. Naturally he learned of my obsession with this band. And then one day a funny thing happened. My second home was a cafe owned by my friend Gerard LeFlem. Gerard had been wildly successful creating a restaurant in Les Halles called Le Bon Pecheur selling it for a sum unheard of in those days. Being the restless sort he opened another wildly successful enterprise this time in the Bastiile section of Paris. I went there almost everyday and not being there more than three or four days in a row I felt a palpable absence. It was my social hub and I knew almost all the waitresses, the cooks,the bartenders,the regulars and would join Gerard for lunch at least once a week. So I stopped by as I was feeling a very strong pull to go there with the distinct impression that there was something or someone waiting for me there. And as soon as I got there I stepped in the main hall and looked around. Nobody there not even the regulars I knew. So I just took my place along the comptoir and ordered myself a cafe. Karinne greeted me warmly as she always did that beautiful girl who was a stunning mix of North African and Vietnamese parentage. She never let me pay for anything as ‘artistes ne paie pas”. This was the girl who told me I was “une demi ange, demi animale’ something I could only be told in Paris with a mandate to live up to it. As no sign of what was meant for me appeared I sat at a little table situated underneath the circular metal staircase leading upstairs. There I sat eating my vegetable soup with anticipation when suddenly 5 gentleman strolled into the cafe and stood at the bar. I almost died. I couldn’t believe my eyes or how BIG this surprise was for me! Thank goodness I had listened to that feeling I had inside. There stood Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and three or four more members of their entourage deciding what to have before they were escorted to a bigger round wooden table in the next room. (Can you feel my heart racing? Can you see my hands trembling?) I thought to myself, Well this is my chance,this is my time to be brave and in fact,I told myself, I have the right to introduce myself. Get up, go over there Ekayani and introduce yourself and remember who you are! I was wearing a burgundy colored red crushed velveteen dress. Ah the things one remembers and taking my coffee cup in hand,trying my best not to let it rattle in it’s saucer, I stood at the table and said ; “Excuse me gentleman. I just wanted to come over and say hello and introduce myself again.I am a friend of Lenny Kravitz’s and I just wanted to say how nice is to see you again. (The balls!) Robert immediately stood up and said; “Please won’t you join us?” (Yes! I replied) “but first”, he said, “let me introduce everyone”. (Oh my God! Is this really happening to me?) And around the table he went. “This is Jimmy Page. He plays the guitar for us.” (Really?) at which point Jimmy stood up and extended his hand to me with everyone else following suit. When we got to the gentleman I was being seated next to Robert informed me that this man had designed most of their record covers and had just designed a record cover for Madonna and I should talk to him. (Okay!That must have been George Hardie) And talk I did. After 40 minutes I could hear the voice of my mother in my head reminding to me maintain my dignity, “act like a lady” and take my leave now so as not to overstay my welcome. I complied.I got up thanked them all and bade them to kindly excuse me. (My date was waiting for me after all at the bar). Now at this point It gets truly incredible. To my house guest who stole the “sacred napkin” as I refer to the brown paper napkin that Robert wrote his agency’s phone number upon so I “could come along” on the next tour you will Iive in hell for taking it! If you’d like to see countless pens materialize out of nowhere just ask for 1 when Robert Plant asks you if you have his phone number. A short time later say 6 months? it was announced that Robert would be returning to Paris to play and I used that phone number. I was told to look out for a lady who went by the name Honey. Honey would be taking care of me. So around I went to the entree des artistes
at the back gate and waited and waited and waited. At last I spotted Rex whom I had met at the Cafe du L’Industrie with the boys.Thankfully he recognized me and asked me who I was looking for. “Honey” I said listlessly. At this juncture I had almost given up hope that I would ever get in as there was no VIP help as the official French tour manager was indifferent to my plight and couldn’t have cared whether I lived or died. I think she was jealous of me when I stupidly replied that I was not Lenny’s sister backstage. I should have just said yes as for all extent and purposes we are brother and sister. Rex was kind and said “just wait a few minutes while I take care of the press”. Another 30 minutes went by. My legs were aching and my heart sank when I heard the downbeat on the drums inside the stadium. But the First Rule of Rock and Roll is to be cool. Be very cool and keep acting like things will work out and they most likely will. And just when I thought I had been forgotten,a voluptuous brown haired woman appeared.
‘Ekayani?” “Honey?” and I was in!
She apologized for the seat she was going to give me for in fact it was no seat at all. I was smack in front of the stage literally in front of Robert near the monitors. I just thought to myself; “Wow! I can’t believe how polite these people are! Sorry? She is sorry that she could “only” put me within ten feet of my idol??” In spite of any legendary rock and roll “bad boy” reputation at the end of the day this crew was English and was going to follow decorum. There is more to this section and I’ll just pick that up in the next posting. Thanks for reading thus far.
Almost Getting Thrown Out The Ecstasy and the Agony!
Is that Ahmet Ertegun? I’ve got to meet him!
Visions of Jimmy Page – What Do You Mean You Didn’t See Him?
No Quarter 1995 Bercy (Paris)
No Robert – Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes Jones Beach Theater 2000
Dreamland New York Hammerstein Ballroom 2002
Ekayani grew up to be a recording and performing artist. Her music “Yoga on the Dance Floor” will be available on iTunes August 20th, 2014 thanks to TGEE Records
It goes LIVE August 20th https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/yoga-on-the-dancefloor/id904706276
Out August 20th
Pre order your copy on iTunes then when it goes LIVE.