Why should only those who are going out to party hard have all the fun on Hallows Eve? Rejoice for this year Ekayani is hosting a Halloween Costume party at Jivamukti Yoga Schools newest branch in Jersey City on Friday, October 31st from 8 to 11PM. The theme is the pantheon of Indian yogis’, sages, demi gods and goddesses with door prizes for the Best Costume. A visually rich tradition, it should be no problem for participants to come up with a fabulous outfit! There will be no booze and no shoes so pack up the toddlers and bring them over for an opening meditation that turns into a rollicking dance party. See the poster for details. What are you wearing? and please don’t be late or you will miss out on the opening ceremony.
Gaura Pahu Comes to Life – Mystical Tales from Tours
Ratha Yatra (Festival of the Chariots) is no mundane festival. It is not a mechanical occurrence that is either put together or participated in by rote but rather loving care.It is in fact for all it’s pomp and external grandeur a most intimate occurrence conducted by the Lord’s Internal Energy. In Sanskrit we call this internal energy hladini sakti. This is the energy that takes charge of an aspirants spiritual progress or relationship or if you like personal development with the Lord. While Jaggantha,Lady Subhadra and Balarama leave the confines of the mandir for the purpose of giving Their darshan to the “average Joe” caught up in everyday life by being hand drawn by ropes in chariots three stories high or higher pulled by the devotees on the largest thoroughfares and boulevards in America for the benefit of the general public that’s only half the picture.
There is another dynamic taking place with Their Lordships dealing with each and every devotee personally.In my case at this years event in Philadelphia the foibles of my mind were revealed to me in a manner both poignant and kind.The photo that appears in this post (Thanks friend) was taken during the Opening Meditation with Gaura Pahu written by the prince Narrotama dasa Thakur (15th Century) who renounced his worldly inheritance to pursue inner riches. He sings in Bengali:
SAT SANGA CHADI KHAINU ASATE VILASA, TE KARANE LAGILO YE KARMA BANHDA PHANSA
Narottama is stating ” I have given up the association of saintly persons,like minded persons and instead have wasted my time by not associating with them. Now I am old and everyone is gone.” This song is a lamentation. He is left alone and he appears to be out of luck. This is a sad and bitter pill. How many of us are guilty of this? You know we will get to it next week, next month, next year and then we can’t because the favorable circumstances arranged by time have been taken away by time.
Krsna Provides A Lesson
Sitting in The Yoga Experience Tent I had a lesson. I was isolated. I was watching (and hearing!) the very crowded open kirtan tent directly across from me with the Chariots now parked in full view. And I was, except for a very supportive friend, pretty much alone. In a form of an apology,the dear lady who ran the tent said “I don’t know what happened this year.This is the fourth year I have organized this and usually it’s packed.” And suddenly I knew why I was put into this situation during my sets of which I had two. Krsna was having me experience a glimpse of the consequences of my own thoughts,leading to a self imposed “disinvitation” as I like to call it that was now being magnified for me in a festival setting where all I wanted to do was share. Let me explain; Back home in Brooklyn every week there is an open kirtan conducted in the temple room by members of As Kindred Spirits the wonderful kirtan band. For hours following the Love Feast they sing together and play musical instruments. Guess who never goes? As to why I never go (for years now) I could point to an imaginary sign posted in my mind that says “Open Kirtan. Everyone is Welcome (Except for Ekayani)”. Oh my mind and it’s layers of subterfuge. My own mind has been duping me for years and years out of the shared experience of Bhakti Yoga,the friendships I could have deepend and whatever musical pearls I could have picked up on with these Transcendental Songbirds.The reason? There appears to be, upon a closer inspection, No Reason. At least not a valid one. The mind can be one’s best friend if used properly and one’s worst enemy as well. Thank You for showing me how I have been acting to my own detriment. Like a good parent You showed me lovingly but firmly while encouraging me. At least everyone thought my outfit was fab and that allowed me to promote the music. That was kindness too with a newer and more sober perspective. This is no armchair philosophy that’s for sure. It’s alive, mystical and has a sense of humor.
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.
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!
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 http://www.CityWorldRadio.com 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.
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
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.
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! http://www.traxsource.com/title/355533/yoga-on-the-dancefloor
Tonight August 20, 2014 at Midnight – The Re Edition!
EKAYANI – YOGA ON THE DANCEFLOOR – TGEE RECORDS AAA006
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
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?
Black Crowes and Jimmy Page 2000 Joes Beach Theatre
BP Fallon and a Ride Back on the Tour Bus
Here is the link my friends. 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!!!
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.
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.
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.