Donuts Stetsons Don’t Stop: East Village Grows Things Ekayani

September 18, 2014

Anniversary. 10676293_758780804161048_7657580715125094251_n
The 20th Anniversary of the Donut Plant is this month September 2014 the openly Hare Krsna affiliated confectioner which has pushed the limits of what a Donut can be. It can be seasonal coming in true flavors to match the bounty of the year. Marzipan for the Holidays,Meyer Lemon in the Summer, Rose and Chocolate for Valentine’s Day, Pumpkin for Autumn, three kinds of peanut interpretations Salted Peanut,Peanut Butter Glaze with Blackberry Jelly, Peanut Butter with Banana Cream. Who can decide on just ONE? So generally I don’t and just get everything my heart fancies.They are organic.They are blessed and no one can seem to resist going here. When I met Mark in Union Square 20 years ago at the fledging Green Market he told me with a smile and a dreamy look on his face that he was going to open up a doughnut shop using his grandfather recipe. I smiled but was secretly thinking he must be mad. WHO would want to eat donuts other than the NYPD? Ha! Shows I knew nothing and so much nothing that I soon became a HUGE fan going out of my way to get to the only store location down near Pitt Street and Grand. Back in the 90’s scooping up the last of the banana pecan and newly minted chocolate valrhona glaze donuts I served them as cake at my 35th Birthday Party they were so good.Thanks to the Donut Plant I had dessert for the attendees at The Hit Factory debut for the video release of my song “La Raihna” produced by director Kurt Ritta. More than generous to me,folks were taking donuts home in whatever container they could find right Randy Jones?

The Life Cafe
Wearing a stetson hat my dad Daniel Chamberlin had softened his stance on me being a vegetarian. By now it was 1988 and he had come to accept it which was in marked contrast to him turning red in the face with rage when I took him to Chinatown to eat at Dim Sum house that was Buddhist serving mock meat dishes. (They say eating meat makes you angry lol). So much for trying to be thoughtful for a place that could accommodate both of us. I mean the food at this spot was really good and if nobody told you you wouldn’t know as they had skills based on a long tradition of Buddhist eats. I had become aware of this approach due to an article I had read by the famous George Lang, the owner of Cafe Des Artistes located off the swank Central Park West. Lang had discovered these dishes on an extended trip to Japan. I figured if it could fool Lang it would be acceptable to Dan. He didn’t care and the attempt at father daughter closeness ended in disaster.

“Come on. I am going to take you to this hippie restaurant on 10th Street”.

This was a new frontier and I had now been baptized a hippie by Dad! This was an improvement in our relationship! Off he strode on the darkened streets to the East Village an area I had never been to up until that time. I was an Upper West Side girl living on 108th Street and Central Park West with a fiancee I never married. The Upper West had it’s own issues but still I was a bit scared wondering if we’d be okay getting to Avenue B and back in what was still the notorious Alphabet City. I drew the line at Fifth Avenue. I was amazed that Dad was taking me to this mysterious spot. When we arrived we found little tables outdoors with red candles providing only dim light in the pitch dark and ours kept blowing out. “Want to sit outside?” he asked me in his baritone voice and so we did. While I tried to read the menu Dad said,”So what are you going to get? The veggie burger?” I complied with a side of sweet potato fries. He ordered a coke with his vegetarian chile. We ate our meal in the darkness.  Asking me what I thought I said it was good while he strode back with me following along back to Greenwich Village before I’d catch the C train uptown. Dad had brought me to the location which would serve as inspiration for the play RENT. In subsequent years Life Cafe hosted annual RENT reunions for fans of the show. They even had a book folks could sign to show they had been there. Photographer Shell Sheddy had her post retrospective after party there having shown scads of her photos  next door at The Tompkins Square Library in the early 2000’s. These memories surfaced last night listening to David Life give a retrospective slide show of the


30 Years of JivaMukti Yoga School he co – founded with Sharon Gannon. Life is just so funny. That my path and destiny would criss cross and find a home of sorts at the school after they moved to their fourth or perhaps 5th location at 841 Broadway is something I could have never imagined. Their first big home was the gargantuan location on LaFayette near Houston where Crunch Fitness later took over. I remember they had a little juice bar there and that in and of itself was novel then. I mean it was weird!  David’s slideshow was full of humor and sprinkled with luminaries during the evolution of the school. Cultural trendsetters like Bill Laswell,Sting and the late Cheb i Sabbah coming to celebrate. A big deal. Like who cared about yoga really? Apparently enough people did to stand in line two blocks long to sign up for a class that wouldn’t happen till later that same day. I remember Simeon telling me about this and me just shaking my head. The system has improved since then but if New York meant lines, then lines meant yoga. Whenever Sharon see’s me she says “Don’t stop singing!” and I always promise her I won’t stop although she must know that sometimes I think I just will. I should make mention here that Sharon has a new cook book out called Simple Recipes for Joy. I scanned it and SIMPLE is the operative word.
The soups are many using a very spartan – the – ingredients – are- everything approach. Fresh. If you are intimidated by seasonings you won’t find anything complex here as Sharon uses some herbs, salt and pepper to season. It’s Vegan but do note that if you are gluten intolerant you will need to look elsewhere for entrees as wheat gluten is used a lot. The soups look delicious with the very red tomato soup on my list to try. The book is a kind of compilation of recipes that have been served in Sharon’s JivaMukTEA Cafe over the years as she contributes to the conversation on non violence to the animal kingdom. The glimpse of their All Species Parade with an absent minded interview by Alan Steinfeld was an evening highlight. This happening conceived by the duo was a kind of Mermaid Parade meets Howl! processional was just too much fun to watch. It’s sincerity and just straight up East Village kookiness is a reminder that the East Village grows things. It’s where I grew.

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now!

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now!

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New Haven is the Tour Launch Site! Check out the Commercial!

September 8, 2014

When I think of New Haven I think of the erstwhile tradition of people singing praises to the most high in the streets of the city. As we join together on Septemeber 20, 2014 at the Lyric Hall Theatre on Whalley Avenue we will sing so loudly and dances ecstatically that all the three worlds will hear us! Now don’t be selfish! Bring a friend with you, your sons and daughters, nieces, nephews! This is for everybody where the walls of time dissolve! Check out this wonderful little “commercial clip” ! See you there!


Ekayani’s Release Party: Dancing Ecstatically Into Fall East Coast Tour Dates

September 2, 2014

There is much ado about a lot! September 2014 is THE month that Ekayani’s “Yoga on the Dance Floor” springs into action with a series of live events in three different cities on the East Coast!!! Yes! Beginning with a cutting edge release party in a classy intimate theatre in New Haven on 9/20, a regular weekly music and asana classes in New York City on 9/11, 9/18 and 9/25,and rolling out with three story high Chariots at Philadelphia’s Festival of India I am dancing and singing my way into Fall with you dear guest!
The Run Down:
9/20/ 14 New Haven, CT
This marks my fifth visit to Connecticut and I couldn’t be more impressed with the ever expanding reception I am getting in the Constitution State! After Raven’s Wing Yoga, Fresh Yoga (twice) and Mystic Yoga Shala, I perform in a theatre! Wow! Lyric Hall Theatre is where you and I will be celebrating with some Very Lucky People! Would you like to be one of them? Then just follow the instructions in this flyer. Lyric Hall is an adorable Greek revival restoration venue with plenty of room to move! There will be elements of surprise so do come because I assure you if you don’t you WILL be hearing about it later. There are only 66 spots and a third are gone already. Available on Eventbrite it’s cheaper if you buy in advance.

Before that on September 2 the media blitz continues with a live conversation at 6PM between Ekayani and Conscious Dancer Magazine’s founder Mark Metz using the popular “Artist on Connector” interview style.Listen at The Healing Artist Internet Radio Show via the web or use your Smart Phone using the TuneIn App at Mark has a Podcast called Conscious Dancer with Mark Metz and guess who will be featured on it? Yes you guessed right and for whoever listens there will be instructions on how to get your FREE gift from me. For information be sure to like EKAYANI on Facebook when the link is posted!
9/27/14 – Philadelphia!Eakins Oval Philadelphia Museum of Art

Parade of the Chariots Saturday, September 27
I will be on the “Yoga Tent” performing a couple sets throughout the afternoon between the hours of 1:30 and 6PM. In between there will Free Yoga Asana classes by the best yoga studios in Philadelphia! The fun, the food, and the Festival of India all comes under the umbrella of The Parade of the Chariots now approaching it’s 33 year at least! It’s a long standing tradition in Philadephia half street fair, half sacred music festival all in one. Spiritual book stalls, fashions and vegetarian and vegan feast!! It’s FREE to the public. Again do check out EKAYANI on Facebook(Just click that like button to the right) and get the scoop.

JivaMukti Yoga School is off Union Square in NYC.

JivaMukti Yoga School is off Union Square in NYC.

New York City – Weekly Thursday Night Asana and Live Music classes Ekayani & Loren Russo Jiva Mukti Yoga School 9PM is what happens in between all the “big” events. As you know it’s the Day to Day and Week to Week consistency that really makes the difference in our lives. It provides structure, a firm foundation and something to look forward to! Personally I always look forward to singing Yoga on the dance floor in a Lo-Fi way in Loren’s superlative asana class. Had a long week? If you are looking to deepen your practice both internally and externally Loren and I give give you the one two of Bhakti with a challenging asana class designed for intermediate to advanced students. It’s always fun and it’s the only class I know where a yoga teacher massages the students feet! Loren is wonderful and you are missing out. Please come join us at JivaMukti Yoga located at 841 Broadway off Union Square in New York City on the 2nd floor.The last thing I’d like you to do is to buy my music. It helps me make more music and tour which is a joyful experience for all of us together as we shift the goings on for the better starting with our hearts and dancing feet. This is message music that delivers with your engagement. It’s magic! Get the Music Now on AMAZON!! Namaste and Have a GREAT DAY. Great!!!! – EKAYANI

Yoga On The Dancefloor

Yoga On The Dancefloor

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Joan Jeannie Yoga and a Remix : How Yoga on the Dance Floor was born

August 21, 2014

how our third eye led to yoga on the dance floor

how our third eye led to yoga on the dance floor

Joan Jeannie Yoga and A Remix – How Yoga on the dance Floor was Born
Joan Armatrading came to my aural attention one summer in Vermont as I was preparing to go to France for a very 1970’s program called The Experiment in International Living. I was 14 and as I sat on the grass on that sunny day I heard something magical coming from a very deep female voice singing Show Some Emotion. It was her coaxing followed by a thunderous demand to laugh, feel sad and let the tears roll down that I was riveted by in the oft emotionally repressed people I was surrounded by in school on the West Coast and in life in general. Joan was booming her desires in a vocal range that was decidedly lower than the Olivia Newtown Johns of the world when high pitched singers dominated the airwaves.For a child like me, I had had nothing to identify with and never thought I could ever sing because I didn’t have the “right” kind of voice. Nobody was telling me at that time that I reminded them of Sade or Tracy Thorn or that my voice was like “liquid chocolate” (Thanks KidLucky BeatzRhymer). I would walk around the house and the voices of the songbirds would waft in my ears and I’d dream about becoming a singer one day in a hazy dreamy kind of a way. My brother was the musical talent in the family as far as I was concerned and I never really thought I ‘d be doing what I am doing today.
Jeannie Hopper founder of the Liquid Sound Lounge gave memo first break playing my Healing Band version of Like Fire. It was Jeannie's prodding for a Remix that led to Third Eye

Jeannie Hopper founder of the Liquid Sound Lounge gave memo first break playing my Healing Band version of Like Fire. It was Jeannie’s prodding for a Remix that led to Third Eye

A Remix
Years later I would do a cover of Joan’s Like Fire with Paul M. that would eventually hit the airwaves of New York City thanks to Jeannie Hopper’s Liquid Sound Lounge. Jeannie has been running LSL since 1993 and thanks to her support that track became a popular interpretation on her Saturday night show in regular rotation for weeks. That was way back in 2000 and Jeannie began asking for a remix. How to get her one? I thought of my old friend Tom Glide the French music producer and after tracking Tom down thanks to the search engine provided by the digital phone service Skype I relayed Jeannie’s request in 2007. In fact, this had been the second time I had contacted Tom about doing a remix. He had sent me a rough demo for it back in 2000 or 2001 but without thousands of dollars there would be no mastered remix. Remember in those days Engineering Studios were in their hey day before the mass advent of the laptops, iTunes and Protools so if you needed to do anything it was going to be in a studio and you were going to pay through the nose. In 2000 living an artists life in New York City I was in no position to fork over $3000.00 for one days mixing session in Naples, Italy where Tom was working at the time. And so time passed, this project lay dormant,the rough demo lay in the bottom of a drawer and it seemed that what came to be known as “Yoga on the Dance Floor” would never be conceived. Isn’t life crazy?

Tom has a hit with Ilona
About seven years had elapsed between the first time I had contacted Tom about doing the remix in 2000 and the second time in 2007. In the interim he had a smash hit with a children’s song based on a character called Ilona. Tom, as you may have gathered by now is wildly talented composer and producer and this song charted through seven European countries including France, Spain, Italy, Sweden and so on. This miracle had blessed Tom with the funds to purchase his own mastering table and have a professional studio at home. We were in business! He graciously agreed to do the remix. But there was one thing he asked of me: Could I write some poetry about the third eye? I remember thinking that was really out of left field. I had no idea that Tom was thinking about meditation much less doing any. But I said “Okay!” up for the challenge. There were so many new agey songs at the time, not one of which I can remember, with people spouting platitudes. I was motivated to find verses with substance even if the challenge was to make a track short enough (read memorable) to stick in peoples minds. And this is where my curatorial powers went to work. I went to my book shelf and looked through my copy of the uncompromising Bhagavad Gita As It Is with the translation by devotional scholar and saint A.C. BhaktiVedanta Swami and looked through the 6th Chapter on Dhyana Yoga or the yoga of controlling the mind to achieve spiritual focus. I picked three verses that I thought would lend themselves the best to Tom’s style, sang them into my Garage Band program and sent the condensed files to Tom. Within a short period of time Third Eye was created. As I shared it with my musical fans I began getting requests for the rest of the album. Thing is there was no rest of the album… yet.
But you can get the album on iTunes or TRAXSOURCE Now!

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now!

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now!

It’s Midnight – Ekayani’s Musical Avatar on iTunes Now!

August 19, 2014

Tonight August 20, 2014 at Midnight – The Re Edition!
Available everywhere!

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! (August 20, 2014)

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites Now! (August 20, 2014)

The refrain that keeps coming to mind is:
“At Midnight! At Midnight! At Midnight!
My love, my love, will lift you up! Up! Up! And Up!”
– Chaka Khan

Ladies and gentleman with the blessings of my “big sister” I pray you take my music at MIDNIGHT and get lifted UP anytime you need it! Here is a taste with SPACE the opening track of Yoga on the Dance Floor.
Peace and Blessings! – EKAYANI

Ekayani in Rock: “No Quarter Backstage with Plant Page”

August 9, 2014
Ruined in the  Basement - Manic Nirvana Single Hurting Kind

Ruined in the Basement – Manic Nirvana Single Hurting Kind

This now ruined artifact was a gift given to me as a thank you for entry with – you guessed it- backstage passes to the incredible NO QUARTER show at Bercy (Paris) about 1995/6 just before I was about to leave France for good. Said person was quite the music aficionado with about 10,000 vinyl records alone in their private collection.This 45 was one of them. (CD’s in the mid 90’s were just starting to catch on).The Andy Warhol like cover of Plant for “Hurting Kind” was a rarity and unless Jimmy Page gives me another copy I think that’s it. He strikes me as “the squirrel” in the bunch archiving everything precious and rare. (Everything else is now going into plastic containers. I live in a post Hurricane Sandy world). We sat about 20 rows back and had a superb view of the goings on which I most appreciated. – EKAYANI

“Lay Down Your Arms”
Amazing Concert that had two orchestras! This was the BIG news and world music at it’s most intriguing and diplomatic. You see for France,that continues to have a contentious relationship with citizens of former colonies,(Algeria for one) this very bold musical statement was a validation of the enormous yet seemingly eternally unrecognized musical contributions of Algeria, Morocco and Egypt by the Gods of Rock. During this time period in Paris there was an explosion of “world” music coming in from Africa,the Balkans,Algeria and fusions thereof. Rachid Taha, a very talented bold artist who was regularly working with Steve Hillage had the nerve to question with his track “Voila Voila” from his album Carte de Sejour the institutionalized discrimination and racism in France openly challenging the extreme right wing and xenophobia politics of Jean Marie Le Pen. KHALED was crossing over to the mainstream with his joyous riffs and infectious smile. Down south in Marseille “I AM” was asserting a North African’s human right to live and love through hip hop. And how could I not mention “L’Orchestre Nationale de Barbes” a fantastic group made of a band of Tunisians and other North Africans living in the Parisian neighborhood Barbes creating a musical quilt. Ah and I would be remiss not to mention Ekova Diem Ekova signed to Six Degree Records or the resurgent appreciation of RAI music by the mother of RAI Oum Kalsoum. Nelson Mandela was now president of South Africa,apartheid was officially over with Hugh Masekela newly named as the country’s Cultural Ambassador coming to Parc de La Villette with arguably the best show I had ever seen in my life. Kudos to Plant and Page for going in this North African direction and exploring the other side of their “roots” bringing a looming large richness to the musical landscape at this moment as they carried their fans further along in human understanding. If we are real and stop talking about the Greeks for just a moment, we know that the West was built on the shoulders of the Orient with everything from advanced mathematics (Algebra), University study (Alhambra), and nautical navigation (Astronomy). As my friend Cheb i Sabbah said so wisely Music knows no Prejudices. He was commenting specifically on his learning in Constantine, Algeria and the fluid interchange between Muslim and Jewish musicians and composers and cheiks (master teachers).Playing on each others projects was the norm and after all a gig is a gig! If music has the power to transcend and bind communities then we all should be listening and playing more music.
Getting back to the evening at hand.
The configuration was in thirds. One third was a classical Western style orchestra with a bevy of violins perfect for the new arrangement of KASHMIR with the second third being the wonderful addition of an Egyptian ensemble of 14. From the precious little I picked up about “la musique Orientale” during my sojourn in France, this part of the world had masterful string sections (let’s not forget Turkey) as well as bad ass funky drumming. In fact I would say that the Egyptians were the originators of funk. Try not to move when you hear them play! I was just bowled over by this whole configuration as it was a time so right for diplomacy and cultural exchange from the Arab world but alas… Too many wars now 13 years and raging. And the last but not least third were the classic rock musicians with Charlie on bass, Porl Thompson of The Cure on guitar and even a hurry gurdy that one man band workhorse of street culture of a century gone by.Their dress was handsome wearing flowing tunics and leggings.Part of the multi level appeal of Led Zeppelin was of course Page’s immersion in Celtic influences. It seems to me that this is an inevitable part of music coming out of Ireland and England. It’s stamp is strong. This wandering of the troubadour, the itinerant musician’s bag pipes found in the hills of North Africa and carried back to Ireland or even in dancing known as clogging. It’s a small world after all.Thanks to these labels: Musiques Du Mondes for their excellent series of world music, Melody Music, and producer and bassist Bill Laswell who was producing tracks with artists as far off as Iceland (not Bjork). The Zap Mamas were on fire at this time putting out one incredible release after another on a Belgian label if memory serves. MC Solar was talking his poetry. So there I was in the thick of it all.

Lost in the Maze
Backstage I was trying to find my way out
My first attempt had been unsuccessful as Bercy is labyrinth. Having failed the first time I was looking down at the floor so I would not lose my way a second time distracted by my senses. Concentrating on the instructions that had been given me by a man that worked down there,I walked intently tracing my way without the advantages of Ariadne. And then suddenly feeling a presence I stopped abruptly only to look up at a towering Robert Plant having almost smacked right into him. How does he see anything from that height? He made a crack but I didn’t hear it as I was rather speechless by surprise. I just mumbled a “I am sorry” with my New York sensibility about personal space realizing he was quite the cut up. I was just kind of dumbfounded and eventually found my guest who had been rifling through Page’s sheet music backstage! Say what? I should qualify respectfully rifling through with the temptation to touch the score sheets just too great. My memory is not linear as the night was just dotted with outstanding moments. It is images and exchanges I recall. Like Plants beautiful daughter Carmen then a new mother proudly pushing her baby in a stroller ahead of herself followed by a long procession of the artists I’d just seen on stage. They all had a satisfied smile on their faces as well they should have. Carmen was blonde like her father with long tresses that fell all the way to her waist. I was just dumbstruck by her. How to explain seeing the child and grand child of someone you have followed for so long? Flashback: Making my way out of the stadium via the only apparent way out via the car port, I find myself walking past Jimmy Page who was standing back on his heels,hands in his pocket and asked me “Haven’t we met before?” Considering the countless people he has met in his life it was incredible to me that he’d remembered in some form the introduction months earlier at the cafe. He was wearing a pin stripe suit. Just funny ya know?

Don’t Meet Your Idols for You May be Disappointed (You May Be A Rock Star but I’m a Woman)
At last we were standing next to Robert who was holding court talking and talking and talking with a woman whom as I understood it had sung one song with him.This went on for an hour and I am not kidding. While I respected him as the star that he was, I have never understood how someone who had me or anybody else standing at their elbow could just plain ignore them especially when bearing gifts. Sidney Poitier didn’t act like that and that was the standard I had come to consider right based on my mother’s appreciation for the gentle dealings he had with his fans. Bartenders have a knack for ignoring you but there were only four of us: Me,my guest,Robert and his conversationalist. Finally their conversation drew to an end but instead of turning to us he walked away.Something snapped in me and in a loud terse voice I half shouted “Robert”!” much in the way your mother enunciated your name when you were in trouble. It worked. He stopped and turned our way. My mood and demeanor immediately changed and with a big smile I introduced Robert to my guest who was offering him half a dozen carefully selected records of Turkish and North African music that he knew Plant wouldn’t have. Plant may specialize in the blues but this person specialized in la musique Orientale. At the end of the exchange I offered Robert an invitation card to Jagganatha’s Restaurant a lovely devotional vegetarian restaurant run by my friend Animisa dasa. I knew he had a fondness and appreciation for Hare Krsna food and just like a little boy as soon as he saw the image of Jagganattha’s face he smiled and said “Bless you!”. Our work done we left the venue and had a lot of fun talking about the tremendous evening we had until the wee hours of the morning.

Topics in this post were:
Rifling Though Jimmy’s Sheet Music? Oh No You Didn’t
Haven’t I You Seen You Before?

John Kruth passed it on.

John Kruth passed it on.

Up Next…
Black Crowes and Jimmy Page 2000 Joes Beach Theatre
BP Fallon and a Ride Back on the Tour Bus

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites August 20, 2014

Ekayani grew up to be a singer. Her album Yoga on the Dance Floor is available on all fine digital sites August 20, 2014

Here is the link my friends. It goes LIVE August 20th
Out August 20th
Pre order your copy on iTunes!!!

Ekayani in Rock Is That Ahmet Ertegun? I Have to Meet Him

August 4, 2014
Ahmet Ertegun as graffiti at NuBlu Thanks to Will Vaultz & Cavassa Nickens

Ahmet Ertegun as graffiti at NuBlu Thanks to Will Vaultz & Cavassa Nickens

We all know who Ahmet Ertegun is right? Born in the year 1923 in Istanbul,Turkey he lived until 2006 in New York City where he raised the bar in the music business creating excitement with a touch of class by establishing Atlantic Records. Mr. Ertegun always wore a suit when he appeared in public and while that may not sound like a big deal his sartorial statement that music commanded R.E.S.P.E.C.T coupled with his élan in my mind single handedly defined what an A & R man should be: Classy and smart with excellent business acumen. He loved music. Atlantic Records was outfitted with a stellar cast of madly talented individuals who made the label something worth listening to. Sound engineer Tom Dowd,Jerry Wexler’s passion for soul and whiz and fellow countryman the late Arif Mardin who produced a long list of stars that included Chaka Khan,Carly Simon and Anita Baker wore many hats within the organization, set the gold standard in the industry. They were on fire with so many hits coming out of that house it boggles the mind to think of just how much money was being made. If you bought a record from Atlantic you knew you were getting a quality product with a qualified artist.This label figured prominently in my Dad’s record collection. If you haven’t guessed by now EKAYANI,(yours truly writing this blog) was conceived born and raised in New York City on the island of Manhattan. I mean this was all happening in my home town! Ahmet’s influence ,the man with a sharp ear who knew a star when he heard one, was felt all over the city what to speak of world wide. During those days New York was the undisputed epicenter of world class culture. We had Nureyev and Baryshnikov defecting to dance at Lincoln Center! I mean if you think NYC is good now I’d love to put you in a time machine and whisk you backwards 40 years! I am only just scratching the surface here.Thanks to Dad, I grew up listening to Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Bessie Smith and later,through no fault of his own,Led Zeppelin. All were signed to Atlantic that covered the water front in the popular genres of the day including jazz, soul, R & B and the Rock N Roll. Arif Mardin lived on the Upper West Side in the magnificent El Dorado. I lived with my family in the more modest Belnord on West 86 Street.

Me age 10 at Walden School NYC.

Me age 10 at Walden School NYC.

This resulted in me going to The Walden School (now defunct) with his son Joe. Word on the street was that Arif was making a record with Aretha Franklin and we were definitely fans. When I got to school I stopped Joe in the hallway and said ” I heard your Dad is working with Aretha Franklin! How’s it going?” Joe beamed a smile as bright as sunshine and said “Great! It’s fantastic!” I grinned back as we headed to our classrooms. We were about 12 years old and not long on words but the feeling was tremendous. This everyday encounter gives you a glimpse of what life was like for me in terms of the atmosphere created by the movers,shakers and creative personalities that lived and worked where I grew up.So by the time I found myself at Bercy in Paris watching Plant perform, the vision of Ahmet appeared just like white lightning in the dark. As I stepped forward to meet him it was visceral and I was just full of gratitude for someone who had enriched the life of my family and myself with the sounds of so many fantastic artists. As I took a break from singing my self hoarse,there was Mr. Etrgeun walking on the VIP platform making his way to I presume a seat. He was wearing a white summer suit and still dapper at 70 something. I went over to shake his hand and tell him how nice it was to meet him. He was so cordial and told me the same. Clearly he was a man accustomed to being recognized in public and wasn’t phased one bit by me. I felt happy and proud for Plant and pleased that Ertegun had come see “his boy” as we say. And then he was gone. This memory was sparked by a recent visit to Nublu owned by another musical Turkish emigre Ilhan Ersahin. The illustration at the top of this post is housed there.I don’t get to meet a lot of ‘show biz kids” and i enjoyed talking with Ilhan and hearing his story of how Ahmet just loved him. This surprised and mystified Ilhan a bit but in his own right he is mad creative; playing the horn,making films, traveling the world and most of all creating a musical club house and a sanctuary where musicians can learn and push boundaries.

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

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
Out August 20th
Pre order your copy on iTunes then when it goes LIVE.

Ekayani in Rock What Do You Mean You Didn’t See Jimmy Page?

July 31, 2014

Cirque D'Hiver Ticket stub 9/22/1995
And now the blur of my memory on exact dates.
Stamped onto backstage passes buried deep in my basement coupled with the fact of having lived a nomadic existence with me moving from place to place for the past 19 years I present to you my impressions and feelings.(I have two “above ground” artifacts in the form of the photos from my scrap book and one lanier from the year 2000 Jimmy Page and Black Crowes Tour). With one concert running into another during this time period the word Mythical comes to mind.In the mid nineties with the release of Fate of Nations (1993) and the reworking of Zep classics on the magnificent NO QUARTER (1994) by Page and Plant, Paris was a regular tour stop. Somehow I had proximity to this magic circle. As all this was going on Jeff Buckley’s presence at Le Bataclan that I walked past everyday went right over my head. Acts that were doing very well in the States would be introduced to French audiences there but I hadn’t been back to the States in 2 years and so missed out on Jeff’s live performance.I would be introduced to his music only posthumously when I returned to New York by meeting Jack Buchbinder and his managerial partner who had managed Jeff for a time. But it would be later in the East Village due to my affiliation with the Howl!Festival dedicated to Allen Ginsberg that I would meet people that actually knew Jeff like the lovely Rebecca Moore and photographer Shell Sheddy. I digress although there is no doubt about the inspiration Jeff got from Led Zeppelin and the appreciation and respect Page and Plant felt for their spiritual son. In 1995 Lenny Kravitz was very much THE rock star and when asked who was “it now” Plant would always say Lenny Kravitz. And so you see it was due to my childhood connection with Lenny (aside from my straight up fanaticism) that I was insured two tickets for the first show Robert did at The Zenith and from there I just kept getting in.

 Hotel Crillon with Lenny  sprawled across our laps.Upper left me and Lenny playing backgammon. I was 15 Lenny  14 and pre dread locks. Pastiche of me singing at Cafe de la Plage. Gerard Gentil took those.

Hotel Crillon with Lenny sprawled across our laps.Upper left me and Lenny playing backgammon. I was 15 Lenny 14 and pre dread locks. Pastiche of me singing at Cafe de la Plage. Gerard gentile took those.

Bigger than life. For example Le Cirque D’Hiver located at 110 Rue Amelot was right on my route home to the Rue Oberkampf. There, on a huge billboard as I meandered home one evening though the Marais, was a magnificent image of Page and Plant side by side.They’d be playing there in just a few nights but I knew I wasn’t going to get into see that show. I had been caught unawares and had no “in” to this intimate venue. I was disappointed as this was a No Quarter show but I wouldn’t be disappointed for long. I didn’t yet understand the scope of the stage production which would assemble an Egyptian style orchestra and a classical Western orchestra with wonderful embellishments like the hurdy gurdy made more widely known outside of England because of Donovan’s song “Hurdy Gurdy Man”. The stretching of time and the juxtaposition of historically curious instruments with contemporary ones is something I loved about the band, the pair, the project.It was enriching,exciting and so well done. I was going to be lucky enough to see and hear this amazing cast of musicians at Bercy where I was again granted two tickets with backstage passes. Looking back it seems I was going to a show of either Lenny K’s or Roberts all the time. But how many times did I see Jimmy Page? That depends who you ask.
I saw jimmy wearing a black on red version of his dragon suit crossing the stage from left to right gracefully. I'm sorry if you didn't.

I saw jimmy wearing a black on red version of his dragon suit crossing the stage from left to right gracefully. I’m sorry if you didn’t.

What Do You Mean You Didn’t See Jimmy? Back at Bercy
I had invited an American expat designer to see Plant. The show was rocking and I was transfixed. As the show came to a close a wonderful surprise unfolded on stage. From stage left from behind the keyboards Jimmy Page wearing his signature ZoSo red bell bottom pants embroidered with a black dragon walked across the stage with his guitar. He was a vision with matching red shirt that had bell like sleeves and an Elvis like stand up collar. I just thought it was brilliant move to have him just appear like this unannounced with no hype and fanfare. It was thrilling and classy and I just couldn’t believe my good fortune. I yelled out “There’s Jimmy Page! Oh my God it’s Jimmy Page!” but in the was uproar of sound nobody heard me let alone J.M.K my companion for the night. When we got in the cab to go home I was talking excitedly about the show until I got to he part where I asked her “Wasn’t that cool that Jimmy Page came out on stage like that?”
“Jimmy Page wasn’t on stage” JMK replied.
“Yes he was! Didn’t you see him? He came right out at the end of the show walking from stage left to stage right from behind the keyboard! How did you miss that?”
“Jimmy Page was not on stage.”
“Yes he was!”
“No he wasn’t.”
“Yes he was!”

and back and forth we went until I vowed I would verify that he was there and obviously she must have just missed him by turning her head. He moved quickly across stage gracefully like a cat.I t was unmistakably him and I attributed the end of concert ecstatic uproar of the crowd to his magical appearance.
Scouring the papers the next day there was no mention of Jimmy at all and I thought that was very strange. Etienne a regular at the Cafe du L’Industrie was also a Led Zeppelin fan and so I told him what I saw and asked him what he thought. Etienne explained he had had a similar experience years before at one of their shows. He had marveled at a burning scaffolding that appeared on stage at the end of the concert and like me had exclaimed to his friends how wonderful it had been. And like me he was the only one who had seen it but he was sure he had seen it. He then mentioned that he thought it was possible that Jimmy could have projected that scaffolding or himself onto the stage astrally. It’s old news at this point that Page was attracted to mysticism and frankly the ability to add stage effects at no cost seems like a stroke of genius to me. More deeply at the time of this show the public was completely unaware of the next projects about to spill forth from Plant and Page; the aforementioned NO QUARTER or the 1998 Walking Into Clarksdale. My feeling is that I had seen a vision of Jimmy where he felt he belonged and felt happiest; in partnership with his longtime collaborator and frontman Robert Plant. Jimmy is one of the greatest guitarists in the world and by mundane calculation he could have found any number of singers to work with after Plant but he hasn’t And that is the magic of music; it lies in the creative chemistry of the collaborators.
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

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
Out August 20th
Pre order your copy on iTunes then when it goes LIVE.

Ekayani in Rock #2 Almost Getting Thrown Out Agony Ecstasy Paris New York Robert Plant

July 30, 2014

Almost Getting Thrown Out  – The Agony and the Ecstasy!

I wore that mock white turtle neck to the show photo by Julie Andrieu

After I had called Triumph the management group that was handling Robert to make good on his sweet offer that I “come along” on their next tour I was beside myself with excitement. I was on a perpetual high for two weeks leading up to the show. Like any fanatic I went as far as painting my own banner to display to Robert (who I felt needed as much support and outpouring of love as we fans could muster) for his first solo record after Manic Nirvana. So on the roof of 12 Rue Oberkampf I put out my fitted sheet and painted the words ” We Love You Robert U are Unique!” The sheet was a very strange color…like saffron or something.The only paint I had was green but I reasoned with myself that Robert would appreciate the saffron color as he had sung “Sing out Hare Hare” in the Song Remains the Same.(There’s your yoga reference.) It was the devotion that counted. Every one knows that and surely he would. My plan was that once inside the show I would leap up into the air opening the banner wide while shouting “I love you Robert!” so he could see what was written on it before touching back down. I think you’d agree it wasn’t a very good plan but it was the only one I had. I was fearful that if I went in with a full blown sign given my special entry status it would be confiscated. In my mind France being France just wouldn’t understand and love Rock and Roll signage like we Americans, the inventors of said signage did so why take any chances? It was just imperative that Robert get the encouragement he needed from me since somehow I was upholding him on this show. My friend Steve Forward once said I was the most fanatical Led Zeppelin fan he had ever encountered in his life and I think my previous statement bears out his conclusion.

Bercy the Parisian mega stadium

 So.There I was 10 feet in front of the monitor right in front of the elevated stage in Bercy. It took me a second to realize where I was spatially as I walked towards the crowd after Honey had escorted me in. My God I was actually standing where security was stationed to carry any one out who might make a bums rush for the stage! My mind was blown and it was then that I knew in my feverish brain that I would be able to fulfill my plan of showing my idol the banner I had made just for him. As the music began I leapt up into the air shouting “Robert!” loudly in his direction as he turned his head quizzically to one side trying to make out what was written on my badly painted banner. I was connecting with him! Oh joy! And then ladies and gentleman just as quickly as I had soared on the wings of euphoria only felt by a true fan, I plummeted to the depths of despair like Icarus on waxed wings who had flown to close to the sun.I was caught on the way down by two very burly security men wearing tight white polo shirts.I felt a grief and a regret that after coming so close,after waiting 20 years and of legal age to be in a concert with Led Zepp I was now going to be carried out of the show due a breach of security. What was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking at all! I was swept away on pure emotion.
And then another incredible thing happened and I don’t know why.These bears of men carried me over to the VIP section, an elevated metal construct with seating catty corner to the stage and deposited me there! My emotions soaring upward once again I had an even better view of Mr. Plant and his band then before.In fact,it was a direct view of Me to Them and as they would probably come to regret,Them of Me. I went insane singing at the top of my lungs to every song with a wild abandon until I was hoarse.I stood the entire time,everybody could see me and I just didn’t care.I was there for one reason and one reason only:To make sure that Robert felt loved and supported in his new endeavor Fate of Nations. Yes I had seen his Fate of Nations first stop with Paul but here he was with another band formation. His old Zep material be dammed! (Unless he didn’t want it damned of course) I sang and sang and sang to the point where one band member after another walked across the stage to see who was this nut? The lead guitarist on this tour (He was blonde and cute and Dude,I am sorry I don’t remember your name) pointed at me and mouthed “Who? Are? You?” with accompanying sign language. That’s what was on everyone’s mind with one VIP wanting to know who was doing the show me or them? I just laughed. When Robert crouched to sing “Whole Lotta Love” (Oh My God! Finally in person!!!) I shouted out in the silence; “Sing it Robert!” because as I mentioned before Robert needed my encouragement. He hesitated a moment before launching into it because nut job here had managed to shatter his concentration. But it’s when he got to the chorus and held up his microphone in a standing pose over his head and pointed in my direction bellowing “Sing it Girl!” that I really lost my shit. As far as I was concerned I had just sang this duet with Robert Plant dedicated to me. (Did I mention I was delirious with joy and high on life?) As the band departed off stage as they had to skedaddle to the Isle of Wight Music Festival they chatted amongst themselves and I knew in my heart for just a moment I was the topic of conversation. But when would we meet again? Backstage at Bercy for NO QUARTER…  

No Quarter

No Quarter by Page and Plant a world music take on classic Zep




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

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
Out August 20th
Pre order your copy on iTunes then when it goes LIVE.

Ekayani in Rock Paris New York Robert Plant

July 30, 2014

Robert Plant - Dreamland - Front
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

Dream (7/29/14)
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

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.

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.
Coming Up…

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

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
Out August 20th
Pre order your copy on iTunes then when it goes LIVE.


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