02009-07-30 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

1. Judey Sawyer Says: July 30th, 2009 at 04:53
Please know how much it means to see you perform live without the distraction of cameras clicking away and to respectfully speak to you after a performance.

I think that the Newport Beach experience may have been an isolated case. In any case I would not avoid all audiences because of what happened there. I am taking it one place at a time. And thanks for your comment regarding photography.

2. Matt Callahan Says: July 30th, 2009 at 08:21
OK. Is there any chance you might change the settings on your Flickr account so the camera information is visible? Sure it’s fun to guess which one you’re using but….

Would it suffice to add a tag with the make and model to photos? I think if I allow the EXIF data to show it will show on every public photo as well, and I don’t want to do that. And you can add tags with your guess and I will correct them if they are wrong. :-)

3. Judey Sawyer Says: July 30th, 2009 at 08:58
This question is on a completely different subject as Ottmar was kind enough to leave the door open for any question, so here goes. There is a beautiful track on the new CD from Target called “Dreaming” which reminds me of some of the tracks on In The Arms of Love, particularly one called “The Music Box: Dreaming Next 2 U”. What was your inspiration for both of these achingly beautiful songs?

The track Dreaming on the compilation for Target shares the melody with Dreaming on the Starlight Train from In the Arms of Love. Jon recorded new bass and keyboard parts and I added the new electric guitar solo. Sometimes a song just wants to be reconsidered. Well, one inspiration for the In the Arms of Love album was that I didn’t like any of the lullabies I heard. I didn’t like the music I heard in a spa or when I get the occasional massage, and I didn’t like the lullabies for children I heard. The idea was to create something that was relaxing, but with just the right amount of interesting elements, something that would appeal to children and adults. I have also heard from friends that it calmed down their hyper puppy, which they promptly named “Luna”. :-)

4. Victor Hornback Says: July 30th, 2009 at 10:33
Would you ever consider teaching a music clinic (say to discuss either technique or your writing process)?

Have you tried the Lucile’s location in Denver and if so does it live up the the Boulder experience? ;)

Part 1: Only if no cellphones or cameras of any kind were present. :-)
No, seriously… yes, no, maybe… I think I wrote in the Diary a year or two ago about arranging a weekend in Santa Fe for interested people, complete with a visit to my studio, guitar lessons, a hike up the mountains around Santa Fe. The logistics just became too complicated and since we operate with a minimal staff there just was no time to organize something like that. Maybe at some point. I think it could be fun and interesting.

Part 2: I forgot that there is one. Will check it out and report back! Thanks for the reminder.

5. Kaz Says: July 30th, 2009 at 22:20
Question: 2007-07-29: Hello Friends! Ottmar, do you foresee crossing the northern border to Canada anytime soon? I still vividly remember one of your concerts where you got us all up and dancing in front of the stage! Unforgettable!

That’s unfortunately a very complex issue, Kaz.
1. We used to sell a lot of CDs in Canada. This is of course true for the U.S. as well, but the Canadian CD sales underwrote in part our touring there. Without those sales, touring in Canada is much less lucrative and the amount of paperwork required by Canada for touring and tax is unreal. I am not suggesting that Canada requires more paperwork from us than the U.S. would require from a Canadian act, but it is a hell of a lot of work and with reduced returns it is hard to make it work.

2. My agent works with local promoters or performing arts centers, who make us an offer for playing their venue. Going to Canada for just one show is generally not a good idea, because of the paperwork and the cost, and at least several dates have to be lined up. (((there a few more reasons, but those require a lot of backstory and I am not willing to go into that right now)))

That said, I know we have a lot of fans in Canada and the best suggestion I can make is that they should contact their favorite performing arts center or theater or festival (((Montreal Jazz Festival!))) and ask the management to make us an offer. Hopefully we can line up a few concerts and make it work as I have always enjoyed performing in Canada and think the audiences are fantastic.

6. Naheed Says: July 31st, 2009 at 13:49
which technique on picado and arpegio exercises do you practice for your tone? Is this something you can share or post a video?

I use a three finger tremolo, both as free-stroke (((smoother))) and rest-stroke (((more powerful – I use this during solos))). I usually start with the ringfinger pulling up, a-m-i-a-m-i etc… Most of the time my tremolo is a series of triplets, as I prefer a smooth tremolo over the galloping sound many Flamenco and Classic players seem to prefer.

My picado is generally just i and m with an occassional run also using a (((i=index, m=middle, a-ring))). I have a couple of simple excercises I do to warm my hands up. When I get home I will video/record myself playing those. I do practice those excercises without he thumb resting on a string, which I call floating thumb-technique. It allows the thumb to become more independent and ready to strike when needed. I use my own music to practice arpeggios. For example, The River and Up Close (The Scent of Light) both include tricky arpeggios that make for very good practce.

Tone is an ellusive thing. In my case I started working on my tone early on, which means more than thirty years ago. In the past few years I started moving my right hand a lot more, instead of using one position above the soundhole or closer to the bridge. I find that certain notes on different strings sound better when attacked from a very specific location. To my ear, some sound best attacked near the bride, while others want to be struck above the soundhole, closer to the neck. I find that there is no end to the refinement one can discover over years as one becomes more familiar with an instrument. An endless journal, we might say.


  1. Victor

    Ottmar, in regard to what Victor Horback asked, I wonder if it would work for you to offer a day in the life of Ottmar the artist where you would just share how you relate to the world and share pieces of your journey in a small group and reflect on meditation, art, the process of creating your music, and of course a guitar lesson. My hunch is that if you were to figure out what you and those helping would need to cover cost wise I bet there are a few who would really be interested. Selfishly I know I would and I really think there would be some others. Kind of a mini retreat for those who really are into your music and language. Well I hope you consider it again.

  2. Kaz

    Answers; 2009-07-30 – Thx Ottmar! The ‘Montreal Jazz Festival’ it is!! I will definitely do my part. Meanwhile, we’ll be coming down 2 c u in the beautiful USA! Listening always!


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