Many of you signed up on this list over a decade ago, when I was a wide-eyed little sprite playing my baby blue Stratocaster in the clubs of San Francisco. You came along with me for my albums, my tours, and down to Los Angeles. You bought my CDs and tee-shirts and wrote on my forums (where there were forums!) Most of all, you became my friends.
A few years ago I took a break from the LA melee to travel and a see a bit of the world. I had always wanted to backpack (well, more likely fanny pack:) and a few Thanksgivings ago was invited on a trip to Antarctica (yes, Antarctica!). This was my chance.
It was there on a boat south of Tierra Del Fuego, amidst the polar ice shelves and leopard seals that I met my future husband, Michael, a German travel photographer and teacher. He had me at “Guten Tag”:) We decided to continue the journey around the world.
We backpacked through 30 countries together, from the Philippines to Indonesia to South Korea. I moved to Germany that year and we continued to travel- through more remote countries, Kurdistan, eastern Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, even Yemen, and my perspective of the world broadened considerably, seeing firsthand the role of women in the world, the scale of poverty and global health.
Along the way I experienced music, people, history and stories that I wanted to bring into my music. That is when the idea for the Song Map came to be, I was writing songs and lyrics in all of these unique locations, why not incorporate indigenous instruments, histories and cultural influences in the songs themselves? I know I made pop music, but couldn’t there be a merge somewhere?
Once back in Germany I set out to recreate this in the studio. I found a producer here and we went to work (yes, speaking only German!). We put balalaika, djembe, brazilian samba drum patterns, Portuguese guitar, violin, soprano saxophone, accordion, melodicas, lutes and a range of other instruments to make this travel-themed concept come to fruition.
From Brazil to Eritrea to Russia to California, each song relates lyrically or musically to a story or a place. And though I could never attempt to recreate a Yemeni homayni, I tried in my own way to celebrate this amazing world we live in.
The end product is Traveler’s Songbook, released today!
I just wanted to say thank you. For all of your support of my music back in the days, for coming to the shows, listening to the music and being a part of my life. If this email gets to you, I hope this new album takes you on an enjoyable little trip around the world.
Have a great Thanksgiving, stay warm, and as they say over here in Germany, “Alles Gute!”
Love& fanny packs,