First day in New Orleans. Royal Street in the French Quarter. Who sails around the world to record music and is looking for musicians in New Orleans is at the right place. Because here they all are – the buskers of New Orleans. On the famous Royal Street in the French Quarter. It was raining all day when we arrived but we put on rain jackets and started our search. Up and down and up and down again we walked the long street but for some reason we stayed unlucky. How is that possible? In the city of Jazz? A few hours later it was still raining and we were completely soaked and ready to give up. Then finally – at first we only heard her voice, we looked at each other and turned around. Behind the next street corner stood Kia, picked her banjo and sang. And what a voice! She has a voice that can’t be described, something between country and blues but just good. Of course she wanted to participate in our project and logically we recorded her the next day on the riverside right next to the Mississippi. Sometimes you can also call us the “Lucky Conductors”.
We were on our way across the United States with Jack Mantis and our new American school bus to record musicians all over the East Coast. Jack’s song “Radiate” which we started when we first met each other a year and a half ago, slowly received a soul while adding more and more instruments to it. Jack had an idea and couldn’t stop thinking about it: We were in America and he wanted to have the thoughts and feelings of a Native American for the song to make it perfect. It wasn’t easy but in New York we finally found our man. And we didn’t know how but Tiokasin did something to “Radiate” we would have never dreamed about – just wow.
And again we met an old friend of Jack’s – Julie Scott lives in The Hague in the Netherlands with her husband and has known Jack and all his band members for many years. Of course for us no road was too long (especially not in Holland) and so we quickly made our way to The Hague from Amsterdam and we knew right away after Julie’s first singing warm-up exercises: The trip was definitely worth it. So worth it! Because Julie was the second person after Jack Mantis who had wet eyes after showing her our Travelling Man video. And when she started singing, I suddenly had wet eyes. What an emotional day!
Ellen is a friend of Hannes’ from Germany. And if you haven’t made it to join the boat in Australia, or Thailand, or India, or South Africa, or Brazil, or the United States… then you’ll at least make it to Amsterdam and its beautiful Grachten!
For many years Dom has been playing in a band together with Jack Mantis in South Africa. At the moment he lives somewhere in Europe but most of the time he tours around the world with his keyboard. When we were in France he obviously couldn’t help it but join the boat for some time and accompanied a few of our songs on his piano on the dock right next to “Marianne”. Ah, it was just amazing to have Dom with us. He only had to listen to a song quickly and then played the perfect backing the second time he heard the track. The world needs more musicians like him!
Seemsoe is Jack Mantis best friend. Both ran into each other many years ago in the graffiti scene in South Africa and have been inseparable ever since. Which isn’t easy all the time because Jack is from South Africa and Seemsoe is German. So it takes quite a while sometimes until they can paint a picture together again. After Seems had heard the one and other story about the Sailing Conductors he came for a visit whenever he could – so he flew to New York to join our legendary American school bus and then meet us again in Boulogne sur Mer in France a few months later. And then finally with his favourite instrument, a Korg synthesizer. Because Seemsoe is not only good at painting!
Martin is a friend of Moniek’s whose contact we got through friends. We were on tour with our school bus across the States and our first stop was New Orleans where we parked our school bus in a big park because we could’t find a parking spot anywhere else in the city. New Orleans is famous for its music and there are truly so many musicians in this city that after a short time even our small table in the park was surrounded by musicians with all kind of instruments – violins everywhere, our cello and someone even rolled in a double bass out of nowhere. Martin had arrived with the biggest instrument of all and also wanted to join the park band!
Moniek is originally from the Netherlands but she’d been living in New Orleans for some time, playing lots of music and teaching violin. We were on tour with our new school bus and finding a parking spot was never easy with that thing (not even in America), that’s why we arranged a meeting with Moniek in a park where we wanted to have a bbq together and where the school bus had more than enough space. New Orleans is famous for its music and there are truly so many musicians in this city that after a short time even our small table in the park was surrounded by musicians with all kind of instruments – violins everywhere, our cello and someone even rolled in a double bass out of nowhere. We were in paradise!
The next morning it rained heavily and we met Moniek and her friend Martin in a beautiful New Orleans style hippie kitchen and only with a small headache because of the night before we recorded a beautiful string section for “Radiate”. When Moniek offered us a better parking spot (including a free shower!) we were not only the happiest Conductors in New Orleans, no, to put the cgerry on the cake Moniek even performed a few of her own traditional songs for us on her violin!
We got Will’s contact from Annie, a friend from San Francisco. We picked him up from his place, he didn’t live far away from Longbeach in Los Angeles. He quickly grabed his bass and we were already on our way to the beach. Of course the beach was crowded with people on roller skates (yes, roller skates, not in-line skates!), kids with ice-cream in their hands and beautiful girls in bikinis. Luckily the noise doesn’t matter when you record bass. That’s why we just stayed in the same café in which we had our first coffee in the morning, Will listened to a few songs on the laptop and started to rock. A little while later when it started to get really hot, we sat down in the warm white sand on the beautiful beach in the shade of a huge palm tree and Will played one of his own compositions for us on his guitar. What a relaxed morning!
For the first time on our travels we were sailing on another sailboat! Hopefully “Marianne” wasn’t too jealous but we just really had to know how it felt to be on a 50-foot sailboat, almost twice as big as ours. Gio was our neighbour in the Montego Bay Marina. He lives on his beautiful boat and makes movies about people and the world under water. His project is called Project Moana (http://www.projectmoana.com) and he was on his way again to shoot a few scenes with local divers in Oracabessa Bay. If we wanted to join? Sure we did! Gio had been to Oracabessa Bay a few times already and knew a few people there and also a few musicians of course – the same evening we met up with Inilek Wilmot on the beach. He works in the local fish sanctuary, is mad about surfing and who a real surfer is also knows how to play guitar. The next day he performed two of his own songs with this amazing Jamaican slang and there was also no way we were leaving Inilek out of, “Radiate”.