Wednesday – Phoenix

02006-08-12 | Music, Musings, Performance, Touring | 10 comments

In the morning I meet Matt in Scottsdale for coffee and a nice chat. Then he gives me a lift to the Celebrity Theater.

A couple of days ago I listened to THIS conversation Stuart Davis had with Helen Titchen Beeth. Stuart mentions that has been trying to teach his daughter a language he invented, but the toddler has figured out that nobody else speaks this language – hence it is not very useful and she gets bored within a few minutes… This is exactly why I have plans to take my son to Germany and Austria next Spring – because I want him to know that the “secret language” he and I speak is useful and is in fact spoken by 100+ million people on this planet. He will be able to translate for the Americans traveling with us and suddenly German won’t be dad’s crazy language…

This leads me to reflect on what we do talk about, in front of children and to the children. It is obvious: the subjects we talk most about must be the most important!! I mean, what is the ratio of our talking about planet earth, the matrix of life, nature, preservation, wilderness and our happiness to be alive – to all the crap that’s really not important in the long run…
During the performance I hear that Jon plays a new bassline for La Luna. Completely different and equally cool! After the show I get to try out a “fake Segway” in the parking lot. It sucks. I ask Matt whether he noticed the exquisite new “african” bassline Jon is driving the chorus of Santa Fe with, or the new bassline Jon developed for La Luna. Yes, he noticed and tells me that he enjoys discovering the changes from show to show. Everything is a work in progress. Stephen and I have worked on a piece I wrote for the next band-album: up close, and he changed the rhythm guitar to a rumba strum. I already recorded a Tangos version of the song which sounds quite different. Maybe it will become the title track. The Rumba version of the song might open the album and the Tangos will close it.


  1. marijose

    I recently met a young woman who grew up in Addis Ababa with her Polish mother and Ethiopian father. They spoke Polish and Amharic at home, and they all speak English. I watched her switch seamlessly between Polish and Amharic when she spoke with her parents. It’s doubtful she had much of a chance to speak Polish when she was a child with anyone except her mother and her visiting relatives. She told me that she is very thankful for the way in which she was raised being exposed to the different languages.

    Chuckling re. talking to children about the happiness to be alive…I couldn’t agree with you more and I strive to help my children see that the glass is really half full, but was recently accused during one of our conversations of “always having something positive to say!”

  2. Rhegan

    I have spoken Maori to my daughter from the time she lay in my womb.
    When she entered this world, the first words she heard came from a karakia (Chant) my mother said, as she welcomed this little taonga (treasure). I feel that in order to retain this beautiful language, it must be spoken every day. We shouldn’t forget where we come from.
    My great-grandfather came to New Zealand, from Finland, but I know nothing about Scandinavian culture, nor do I speak the language. Maybe that is something I will do in years to come. It’s good to know, you want your son to learn, German. My daughter and I have an un-breakable bond and our language and culture will never die.

  3. Boris

    No idea what you say about that German language there…… :)

    Man, I still consider it as the most beautiful language on earth, although I know and have heard and have discussed with foreign friends that it must have a rather hard sound for those not capable of speaking/understanding it. I do love languages + am lucky to communicate in a few and would love to live abroad for the rest of my life but I wouldn’t change my mother tongue for a thing……..

  4. Gudrun

    I’m pleased above that your son grows up bilingual. This is like a big treasure, just as learning an instrument during the childhood. He will appreciate it not before being an adult. Also he will be surprised about the different dialects from town to town in both countries.
    I hope his german is much better than my english….

  5. Carol

    How wonderful, not only to understand and speak more than one language, but to be able to think in more than one language. I have a friend that helps me to get part of what it must feel like, opening wide the world like that. Maybe I’d be able to communicate adequately if I had such fruit within me.

  6. Rhegan

    I forgot to mention, that my daughter watches Dora the explorer every morning, and that one day as I was cleaning her room, she stood in the doorway with her arms stretched out, so I couldn’t pass. “Hold on Mama,”she said. “What is the Spanish word for open?” she asked.
    I couldn’t tell her, but said, “I can say it in Maori, Huakina.” She just laughed at me, with a “Don’t you know Spanish, Mama?”
    Sometimes, People ask me, “What nationality are you?” I reply with “I’m a Kiwi (New Zealander).” Then they say, “But your daughter has an accent, and bamanos isn’t Kiwi.”
    As long as she is still able to understand and speak Maori, I’m fine with her wanting to embrace another language.

  7. diran

    I’m from Turkey ,but I’m Armenian .I speak both languages ,my wife from
    Argentina ,she is Armenian too.She also speaks Armenian and Turkish ,Spanish. Because her parents immgrated to Argentina from Turkey in sixties.
    We are enjoying two different culture like food, music life style etc..etc.
    We had a baby girl six months ago.She will experience two different culture
    and languages.It will be fun to teach her our back-ground.I can’t wait to share with HER.

  8. Anna

    Half of my family only speak German (I don’t really know this branch of the family).
    Currently I am trying to teach myself Spanish, but not getting very far on my own. :-\
    Today one of the body builders at the gym recommended a language school in Sydney, he is moving to Spain to do his MBA. I’ll have to call the School…

  9. Mirta

    “fake Segway”???? I did not know they had knock-offs already.

  10. Jackie Dassler

    We came to the US in ’72 from Brussels, Belgium and although my parents encouraged us to learn our new culture and language in order to fit in; they also required that we continue to speak French at home so that we would not forget our native language. It was great having a secret language to share with my sister in school. Unfortunately for my children; my ex-husband’s family did not like my idea of trying to teach the girls French so I did not push the issue. They thought it would be too confusing, so now my children only know a few key words and phrases. It makes me sad.



  1. Ottmar Liebert » Blog Archive » Place and Name - [...] I have been thinking a lot about this earlier post of mine, specifically the line It is obvious: the…

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