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”.
In many countries we asked the German Goethe-Institut for help and sent them tons of emails but usually we never received an answer back. But then finally something happened! The German Goethe-Institut in Cartagena, Colombia got our message, loved our Sailing Conductors project and organized a musician day for us where lots of Cartagena’s musicians were invited. When we arrived in the courtyard of the institute there were already about 15 musicians waiting for us – awesome! But where were we going to start? Every single musicians quickly introduced himself in Spanish and a staff of the Goethe-Institut translated for us. It turned out that the first 5 musicians were a band: They call themselves “Caribe Tambo”. They had interesting looking musical instruments, some of them which we’d never seen before. Well, let’s do it then! They played a few traditional songs, written by themselves. These guys were so good that we also wanted to have them perform for, “Radiate”, a song that we recorded only a few weeks before in Trinidad and Tobago and that was still missing any kind of rhythm section. Colombia was the first country on our trip where we had to speak Spanish but unfortunately didn’t know how to. That’s why only after a long time we found out that “Caribe Tambo” already performed for our lovely colleagues from the “Playing for Change” project. Impressive – these guys are serious professionals!
Jack was part of the project from the first second we met. The South African saw us for the first time in Trinidad and Tobago while he was standing on the docks watching “Marianne” getting towed into the harbour of Chaguaramas after her two week journey from French Guyana without wind and a broken engine. He saw our logo on the bow as we were towed past him – our sailing guitar – and thought to himself: “Ah, these guys pretty much look like musicians. I play guitar myself, so I’ll go and knock on their ship’s side later.” He knocked and shortly after we met each other for a beer in the harbour café to tell him about our Sailing Conductors project. We showed him our “Travelling Man” video and ten seconds into the track Jack was in. He was the first person I’d ever seen to start crying after a few seconds. With tears still in his eyes we fixed a time for the next day to record Jack’s new song “Radiate” in an old military base on a nearby mountain. He had just written this song on his own Atlantic crossing on a sailboat from Cape Town to Brazil.