Thanks to my little daughter, I’m excited to be picking up my “axe” again, this time in the form of a baby Taylor and a uke, to play a kids’ concert here in Germany for Earth Day! I’m doing a mix of English and German songs. If you happen to be in the Nuremberg area, come out!
Saturday, April 22
Earth Day Show
*call to reserve tickets, it will sell out.
I have been very quietly off-the-grid this past year working on a new project here in Germany. Well, a couple of projects :) One has to do with music, but not the working-in-the-studio, standing-on-the-stage kind. It seems to be the perfect bridge to my next chapter in life.
But first, news #1: I’m pregnant! Which has made me shift how I approach to performing and making music. Let’s just say trying to play guitar with this belly has been funny, but the ukulele has been a nice compromise :) It’s been a wonderful way to “tune in” to the next chapter of my life. I’m ready for it.
News #2: I’m launching a new music and travel blog. I’ve learned so much about the world over the past few years, from all the traveling and researching what I’m passionate about- sound therapy to music endangerment to interviewing world musicians. All things outside what I have learned from being a recording artist. It’s really exciting. I am creating a platform that gives a different perspective on travel, as well as encourage non-musicians and families to bring music into their daily life through tutorials and easy info.
News #3: We are planning on coming back to the States for a good 6 months int the Fall and then doing a Round-the-World trip through next year, with the babe! Expect bilingual lullabies and plenty of travel inspiration.
I will fill you in when the new site is fully launched! Till then, Tschüss, Auf Wiedersehen, und viele Grüsse,
Hi Traveler friends,
I have chosen to give a small part of the album proceeds so far for Traveler’s Songbook to a program from Uganda that I love. Days for Girls makes sustainable hygiene kits and menstruation pads that girls can use for 2-3 years. With this donation (from the albums you bought:) we are sponsoring hygiene kits and training for a classroom of 30 girls. Alright!
Girls are not encouraged when they first get their period. Many girls don’t make it to school at all, are left at home or worse locked in a room to “sit on cardboard.” Some use sticks, leaves and stones so they can attend school.
We know that:
-Most girls who drop out of school drop out in the first year of menstruation.
-The poverty cycle can be broken when girls stay in school.
-The provision of safe feminine hygiene solutions directly decreases dropout rates for girls that have reached menstruation.
So why would I choose to give a donation to Days for Girls?
-the program is based in Uganda where I was fortunate enough to traveled through last year and see a bit how the country ticks. I wanted to give to a program that would have direct impact on a girl’s ability to go to school. Having her own pad (with super cute colorful designs!) will give a girl self-confidence and feeling safe in her skin. Safe enough to go to school and yes, change her destiny.
-the idea is sustainable and carries forward. Girls are not only empowered to go to school and get an education, but are teaching sewing and pad-making to other girls in the community.
-the founder of Days for Girls is so dang PASSIONATE about the program (check out her TED X Talk here, I wept!) I know my donation is going to someone who’s going to put her heart and soul into making it amazing. They’ve impacted 100,000 girls so far.
Days for Girls is solving a simple, yet HUGE problem that nobody ever asks! What are these girls doing for pads?
Well, I feel good. Do you feel good? I feel good.
Photo Credit: Seattle Post
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?
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,
Here is the 3rd video release… this one was filmed in filmed in Yemen (both on Socotra “the other Galapagos” and it’s capital, Sana’a with mud architecture dating back to the 11th century). Yemen is not considered “safe to travel in” & were even Al Quada air strikes in the countryside so I was initially freaked out to go, but once we got there I was (like always) met with lovely smiles and lots of “Welcome”s and realized that the world is like this wherever we go- safe and dangerous, simultaneously.
In the video there’s a political rally, endemic Dragon’s Blood trees, men eating Qat and a camel churning olive oil…
The song lyrically is about letting go to make change, which I wrote in response to the cultural differences, mostly the role of women there. It was my first time experiencing only fully-covered women, which inspired a whole range of emotions & observations!
Last summer we traveled through Russia- Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Golden Ring in the west to the uncharted territory of Siberia’s Kamchatka in the far east. Also, Vladywostock where the Transsiberian Railroad begins. It was pretty frickin badass. We drove an old military Kamaz military vehicle through the badlands of Kamchatka, up black volcano rock camped amidst molten lava fields. There were bears. It was insane.
My female traveling compadre was aptly named “Katharina”, so being the daydreamer of the group I combined the experience with Russia’s famous tsarina, Catherine the Great, into lyrics, which was turned into the song you are listening to. We added balalaika back in Germany- there is a solid Russian culture given the geographical closeness, so it was no problem finding a balalaika player for the job.
More stories and near death experiences can be found here!
Just a heads up that Traveler’s Songbook will be up in iTunes next Tuesday the 25th.
I wrote “Youth Revolts” around the Eritrea experience because of all the children there who left a giant imprint on my heart. The song is about the playfulness of being young, falling in love and having your heart broken, just to look back on it tenderly as we get older. We met so many vibrant kids in Eritrea, their simple joy, and the relationship of family, I wanted to capture that joy in the song’s production.
Eritrea is a tapestry on the Horn of Africa- it reveals its colorful swathes among the dry highlands of Asmara and cascades down 2500 meters through sweltering desert and nomadic Rashaida tribes, ending at the Red Sea and bedfellow to the Middle East.
Our guides Alem and Joseph were definitely my long lost Eritrean uncles. Alem was one of the cleverest men I’ve met, and told us countless stories including his imprisonment by the Ethiopian government for crossing the border. Joseph asked me if I was a Christian or a Muslim (they practice both devoutly in Eritrea). He was fasting for Lent and missed every meal with us, which was too bad because the Berbere-spiced veggie stews are out of this world.
I fell into deep love with Tigrignan music, a mixture of Arabic, Afrobeat, and Sudanese blues that filled our car as we made the pilgrimage to weekly camel market in the city of Keren. Camels are a huge resource here (Eritrea notoriously rejects foreign aid, and basic amenities like cars and wifi are hard to come by… it is not unlike Cuba in its enigmaticness.) The camel is definitely my newest favorite animal. But you have to be careful around a camel, they can get surly!
We were lucky to partake in a coffee ceremony (Eritrea and Ethiopia are considered the birthplace of coffee) and I ate enough Injera that there’s no excuse… I need to learn how to make sourdough bread.
Eritrea was the last country to gain independence in Africa. It was embroiled in a 30-year war with Ethiopia which had left the country struggling to stand on its own and forge its path to self-determination. While the capital Asmara is metropolitan and showcases remnants of Italy’s colonial reign, the rest of the country is sweeping cliffs, scorching earth and mesmerizing faces etched into a lost world.
Here are photos of some of the people who snatched my heart. I can’t wait to go back.
Hey Everyone, here is the first video installment of a series for my upcoming LP release for “Traveler’s Songbook”. Youth Revolts was written in, inspired by and filmed in the gorgeous northeast African country of Eritrea, in one of the most remote camel markets in the world. Check it out!
Next week I will start rolling out videos for the LP I wrote and recorded here in Germany, “The Traveler’s Songbook.” The full record will be released later in the month.
Each song draws on the cultural fabric of countries I visited on many of my travels over the past few years, and am excited to share some of the sounds and visuals that makes this world so astounding.
I had the pleasure of working with Rich Jacques of Right the Stars in Los Angeles, we wrote and recorded a song called “Don’t Let Me Go to Sleep.” included in his album released today! Check it out, and for our song, it’s track 9 (in iTunes)
“This mesmerizing collaboration with Jeff Trott and Samantha Stollenwerck, takes the modern Americana those artists are known for and transforms it into an ethereal, pulsing electronic mantra to stay awake in the moment.”
Germany Friends, I am set to play Bardentreffen Festival in Nürnberg on August 2nd. Bardentreffen is one of Europe’s biggest world music festivals, and I am so thrilled to be a part of it. I’ve been working on music that has influences from around the world, and am excited to bring it to the stage, this summer!
Saturday, August 2nd @ 6:45 PM
LorenzerPlatz Buhne, Lorenzer Platz
Please click here for the Bardentreffen website.