House Concert in Erfurt

Last Friday we performed in Erfurt-Germany for our hosts Tanja and Tony. They welcomed us into their beautiful home that they share with their cute tortoise, Egon 🙂

Right when we arrived they greeted us with such kindness and we knew it would be an awesome experience. While setting up our instruments and eating some of their delicious appetizers, we were able to get properly acquainted with Tanja and Tony.

Their guests were very friendly and attentive. One of the guests brought her very cute dog, Alma, who checked on me while I was playing the Cajon, because she didn’t recognize this unusual sound.

What made the occasion extra special, was that we not only shared our music, but also got to make music with them. After the concert, we taught Tanja and her friend how to play some chords on the ukulele and the Blues-scale on the piano. We also had great conversation and got to know a bunch of wonderful people.

The next morning Tanja gave us an excellent tour through Erfurt. We were lucky because during that weekend they celebrated the Krämerbrückenfest. The whole city was filled with good food, medieval dressed actors, and music. Tanja showed us the best ice cream in town and they even had some vegan options which I loved! It was so nice to spend extra time with Tanja and look around Erfurt. In addition she was helpful with suggesting other local venues we could perform at. She would make a great booking-agent! 😉

Thank you Tanja and Tony for this amazing experience! We look forward to seeing you again 🙂

– L

House Concert in Rotterdam

We just had another wonderful house concert in Rotterdam!

Daniël and Oliver, whom Joe met in 2016 through Couchsurfing, organized a wonderful evening in their beautiful home.

We arrived one day early to spend some time with them, since they became our dear friends in the past three years. Oliver, who loves food and has his own food-blog, made an amazing dinner (vegetarian, just for me 🙂 )!

Roasted Cauliflower, Koussa Moutabbai (pan-roasted zucchini in tahini), a yoghurt-rice dish based on a recipe called Chick Barak, and a vegetable omelet. Super tasty!

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Plus the best dessert Joe ever had 🙂

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The next day – concert day – Oliver and Daniël needed to work in the morning and we had time to set up our instruments and sound check. It’s always exciting to wait for the audience and set up the room so that everyone will be able to see us and have the most pleasant experience.

Finally more and more people arrived. Daniël even posted the event on Couchsurfing, which is why a group of young travelers attended as well. By show time, the living room was packed.

We played two 40 minute sets consisting of our original songs and some covers. Everyone was attentive and engaged and we all had a blast!

You could really tell that our music touched the audience, which lead to super nice conversations about our songwriting and lyrics afterwards. Even the idea of writing our own musical came up.

Thank you Oliver and Daniël for your hospitality and for organizing this fun event! We had a wonderful time at your place and feel grateful to have you as friends!

Here’s a little clip of our experience:

– L

 

TED Talks – Environment

 

 

Lately I’ve been watching TED Talks. A topic that’s especially interesting to me is the environment because I’m always interested in new inventions and ideas to help the planet, as well as explanations of why and how we created the problems we are facing right now.
This is my personal collection that I will continually add to. I post the ones that are interesting to me or have opened my eyes in a certain area. Occasionally I might disagree with some of the talks but am still amazed by the idea, which is why they end up here.
The videos are in the order of when they’ve been released by TED.
I hope you enjoy!

– L

April 2019
Joanne Chory – How supercharged plants could slow climate change (13:48min)

 

November 2018
Greta Thunberg – The disarming case to act right now on climate change (11:12min)

 

June 2018
Noah Wilson-Rich – How you can help save the bees, one hive at a time (12:54min)

 

April 2018
Romain Lacombe – A personal air-quality tracker that lets you know what you’re breathing (5:35min)

 

March 2018
J. Marshall Shepherd – 3 kinds of bias that shape your worldview (12:21min)

 

November 2017
Amit Kalra – 3 creative ways to fix fashion’s waste problem (9:48min)

 

September 2017
Sean Davis – Can we solve global warming? Lessons from how we protected the ozone layer (9:49min)

 

Per Espen Stoknes – How to transform apocalypse fatigue into action on global warming (15min)

 

April 2017
Kristen Marhaver – Why I still have hope for coral reefs (7:14min)

 

September 2015
Melati and Isabel Wijsen – Our campaign to ban plastic bags in Bali (11min)

 

February 2013
Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao – Two young scientists break down plastics with bacteria (9:16min)

For more information on their work visit: https://www.biocellection.com

 

April 2010
Dianna Cohen – Tough truths about plastic pollution (5:10min)

 

February 2009
Charles Moore – Seas of plastic (7:16min)

To take action click here: https://algalita.org

 

Sylvia Earle – My wish: Protect our oceans (18:16min)

For more about Hope Spots click here: https://mission-blue.org/hope-spots/

New Music Video Out Now!

We just released our new music video! We’re super excited about it and hope you enjoy! :)))

Special thanks to Adams Music in Ittervoort-Netherlands for letting us film in their super cool facility!
Video Production by – J&L Productions
Audio Recorded by – Joe & Linda
Audio Mixed by – Mat Lejeune

 

I Love Rock ‘n‘ Roll

The last week we’ve been on tour with the band Altitudes&Attitude. Joe plays the drums on their Europe tour. For most of the time we’re even touring with Slash from Guns n’ Roses featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. It’s been an exciting week. Being in another city every day and seeing the life of a touring musician first hand. Of course Joe and I were traveling and sleeping in our van (Super comfortable!) and even though I wasn’t on stage performing I was an important part of the group because I helped setting up the drums and filmed all the backstage but also on-stage material.

I had been a bit confused at the first day of the tour which was basically the rehearsal day. After helping set up the drums and having filmed a few clips I felt like “the wife of the drummer” and not an artist myself anymore. That was very strange. I felt useless as a person since I had nothing to do while the band was making music. So I decided to leave the room. Luckily there was a little Café with huge windows, so I sat down with a coffee and enjoyed the sunshine on my skin. I felt better already. And then I decided to be more than what I felt I was in the rehearsal room. I wanted to be creative and work towards our goal to create our own music and play it all over the world. So I stole a napkin from the neighbor table and started to write and within a few minutes the whole napkin was full with lyrics (ironically about how I can’t write lyrics). This made me very happy. To create. And as much as it seems to be part of an artist to always doubt your abilities, these moments also show me how much I need to trust in myself and the creativity that literally wants to come out of me.
– When I prepared for the entrance test of the conservatory I created a greeting on my phone for myself (at that time I didn’t have a smartphone and that was something you could customize – how time changes). The greeting was “You really got the music in you!” This way my phone would remind me of how it was inevitable that I would study music. It would find its way out. One way or another. –
After the rehearsal day the tour really started and I helped wherever I could and started to love this whole way of living. Get up, drive into another city, eat, set up, sound check, discuss last details in the dressing room (What should I film? Should I make a picture in front of the audience? Is there a specific part in the song I should focus on bass/drums/guitar/singer? Etc…), play the gig, put all the gear back into the van, eat, go through video material, take as many food and drinks from the dressing room as possible (Best part! – It’s free!) and crash in the van tired and happy. Repeat next day. I loved that. Having a purpose and the purpose is to bring music to the people.

Another huge thing I realized at this tour is that I love Rock! I never thought about that but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. I was sitting in the audience room listening to the band sound checking and sometimes they would play AC/DC and Tom Sawyer by Rush (I first thought it’s a female singer, but Joe told me it’s actually a man! Oops…) to test the speaker and I was just blown away. I don’t know much about Rock music (even though my Dad is a huge fan) but every song they played was just awesome to me. I told Joe that we need to do Rock music. He was surprised but happy. He did so much Rock music in his career and I can learn so much from him. I told him to show me everything he knows about Rock. I started reading the Wikipedia article about Rock music to get a basic understanding of it but they’re so many different styles of Rock music. I found a radio channel that is playing Classic Rock all day and I’m addicted. Whenever possible I’m infusing that music into my ears.

It just all makes sense now. I always said even though I’m studying Opera singing that I like Pop music. But I was also often bored by Pop music because it was following patterns a lot and many songs where alike and the lyrics not very inspiring. I listened to Hip Hop but also couldn’t do that non stop. R&B, Soul, Jazz, Opera… I thought maybe I just need the diversity. I always thought that Rock is something for men with long hair on motorcycles. That’s why I never considered it could be my music. But since I’m listening to it I feel all the energy that lies in the music. I was standing in the Zenith in Paris watching Slash and the band on stage and said to Joe “I wanna do exactly this!”. It’s like Pop music but harder with all the musicianship in it. Musicians show their talent on each instrument and it is about exactly that. It’s about creating and being an artist, a musician, and NOT about playing the most comfortable melody so that the song gets the highest ranking in the charts. It’s not supposed to be smooth. It’s supposed to be rough and inspiring and make you think and make you move! It’s all I ever searched for in music!
All the times Opera directors where telling me I should do less on stage they where wrong. I was simply on the wrong stage. On stage as a Rock musician it’s exactly what you need. It’s pure energy. I remember when I was 10 singing along with “Highway to Hell” and crazily jumping around on the couch in our living room because I didn’t know where to put all that energy the song set free in me.
Also my interest in artists like David Bowie or Kate Bush makes sense now. I like “different”. I remember as a kid and teenager being fascinated by people with colorful hair (I loved fire red!), tattoos, colorful nails and edgy clothes. I loved this way of living. Not to care what others think about your appearance and just wearing all the things you like.
My image was always the blond, kind, neat Linda who does what she’s been told. I was the nice and lovely Opera singer. I fit into the image and then again I didn’t because something was bothering these Opera agents that they were always careful to hire me. I was different somehow and they didn’t know how. And I was so scared of doing something wrong (I had a great childhood, don’t know where that comes from) that I never stepped out of the line. I went the way of the least resistance which was doing Opera. That’s what I knew and what I was good at. I never needed to work hard for that. That’s also why I feel a bit scared now. Is it realistic for an almost 30 year old woman to start making Rock music? I just started playing the piano again (which is less common than the guitar in that kind of music, but if Freddie Mercury played the piano and wrote great Rock songs, so can I, right? 😉 ) and am not very familiar with even the most popular Rock bands (well, I heard most of their names but I have no idea which song belongs to whom). But here comes my joker: JOE! I trust his musicianship so much and he’s so talented and well versed with ANY style, that we can totally make Rock music. I’m excited to start working on our songs with him. For house concerts of course we need to have unplugged versions, but I’m absolute positive we can make great Rock records. Plus our different backgrounds will make our collaborations even more colorful because each of us brings in new elements. To mix this all together will create super interesting songs that are different and new. And I love different 🙂

 

– L

Our Holiday Concert Performance

Last Sunday we played at the Christmas Concert of the Frauenchor Erkrath in the Stadthalle Erkrath. While Linda has performed in this concert for almost 20 years, it was the first time we both participated together. In addition, it was Linda’s debut performance on the piano (read about her piano preparations in our Blog: Pt.I and Pt.II).

We’re super happy that it went so well and wanted to share two selections from our performance. We hope you enjoy!

– J&L

 

Re-Learning the Piano pt.II

One month ago I wrote about starting to play the piano again and I’d just like to sum up my progress.

It’s been very fruitful and fun for me. I practiced the exercises I’d attached to the other blog entry and started to be more precise and strict with myself. Now I’m using the metronome with basically every exercise to refine my timing and to make my scales more smooth. It’s important to me, that the finger change is not hearable while I play. Furthermore I discovered that I would always look at my left hand while I play scales. So I tried to look at my right hand instead and it appeared that I was making far more mistakes with my left hand. My eyes had become a security web. So I started to practice with looking at my right hand. But after a while my right hand would make mistakes if I had looked at my left hand again. So I decided to practice the scales with my eyes closed. So far I’m pretty “fluent” with C-Major and a-minor, G-Major and e-minor, F-Major and d-minor, and currently I’m trying to master D-Major and b-minor.

I also discovered that my ring finger and my middle finger are not bending back anymore. They stay in a nice round shape. Only my pinkies have problems with the round shape. It looks like they fall into some kind of cramp and need to be stiff with the tip bent in to press the key down. But I’m confident, that this will eventually vanish as well 🙂

There is an interval exercise that has been an extra good help for my muscles. I tried to keep my hands as still as possible so that the fingers are doing most of the work. In addition to practicing with the metronome, for this particular exercise I use a timer as well to make sure that each finger gets the same “work-out time”. I started with 30 seconds and now do 60 or even 90 seconds per finger. It seems like the “posture” of my fingers evolves on its own through that.

I remembered that I had some exercises from my piano teacher at the Conservatory and I was able to find them. This is like a next level. I’m attaching them for everyone who likes those kind of finger exercises. For me practicing is almost like meditating. I love it!

–  L

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