Posted tagged ‘David LaMotte’

Hair Changing 101

November 23, 2009

It’s been some time since I’ve checked in, and much has happened in the meantime.  I’ve finished the second semester of my Masters program, Mason turned one, I’ve made trips to Newcastle and Canberra for Rotary, friends have visited from the U.S. and New Zealand, and yesterday Deanna had her thirty-fifth birthday, just to name a few. Crowding all of that our of our minds at the moment, though, is our upcoming adventure in India. We leave tomorrow, and I have much to say about that, but first, a bit of silliness that we need to cover in order to move on (in order to avoid quite a few “huh?!?!” comments later).

After over twenty years with long hair (my entire adult life) I took radical steps last weekend: I shaved my head.

I had been chewing on the idea for at least a couple of years. Partly because I was losing the battle anyway and comb-overs just never did it for me.  I like the idea of embracing change when it comes (though I do better with it at some times than others), so it seemed like the right course of action.

The particular timing, though, was due to the fact that I am leaving for India tomorrow to spend some time working with a Gandhian aid organization there, and though it is winter in India, the forecast low for tonight in the town we’ll be living in is 79 degrees.

More compellingly, we learned some interesting things about our lodging in recent email correspondences. We had been told that we will have a private room to share between myself, Deanna and Mason, and that we will have a private bathroom. Thinking about bathing our one-year-old, Deanna asked in a follow-up email whether the bathroom has a bath or a shower, and we learned that actually it has neither. It has a bucket and a mug. That is the normal way of bathing in India, apparently, and bathtubs are generally only seen in hotels. That’s fine with us, but it did provide a good reason to finally take the proverbial plunge.

My friend David Stuart makes documentaries, and he brought his camera and gear to my other friend Dave’s house where we did the deed. He shot this brief documentary (thanks David!).

Dave James, whose house we were at, is a semi-pro photographer, so things were well documented in stills as well (thanks Dave!).

We invited everyone at the party to have a go with the clippers, including 4-year-old Hani (with some spotting from Aunt Maree).

Several friends who heard I was going to do this expressed concern for how our one-year-old Mason would react, so we made sure that he saw what was going on and felt OK. The sound of the clippers seemed to scare him at first, but I stopped to hold him and laugh with him and let him know everything was OK throughout the process and he did just fine. He especially enjoyed patting my head when it was over. The next morning when he saw me he didn’t even look surprised. He reacted more or less like I had changed my shirt.

And on the whole, Mason’s reaction seems indicative of most of our friends’ and family’s, and my own for that matter:  I look a lot more like me than I expected to.  In short, it hasn’t been nearly as drastic as I thought it would be.

The whole thing happened rather spontaneously, so I didn’t have much time to organize a big fundraiser, but we did put the word out on Facebook that people could bid for my hair on Facebook. The money went to the non-profit that Deanna and I founded to support school and library projects in Guatemala, PEG Partners, and the hair went to an organization called “Wigs for Kids,” which provides free wigs to children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy or other illness. We raised about $900, which in Guatemala pays for about three-quarters of an annual school teacher’s salary. Not bad for a few hours’ fun on line.

I’ve been really enjoying the new style, not to mention the very short showers. In the end, I guess the change is really representative of so many other good changes in my life lately. Much to celebrate.

As I write these words we have 21.5 hours to go until we leave, turning the page to another chapter which promises to be exciting, challenging and powerful. Being finished with my second semester of the masters program, I’m in the groove for writing, so I look forward to keeping this spot up to date as things unfold in India. Thanks for staying in touch.



Eunice Shriver

August 11, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver died yesterday.

To call the Kennedy family influential is kind of like calling Coca-Cola a pretty big company, and Ms. Shriver was born into that. She didn’t have choices in whether she had that power or not, she simply did. What she was free to choose was where to point that power, and most agree that she chose well in founding Special Olympics. The New York Times quoted a 1993 Newsweek article in their obituary linked above:

When the full judgment of the Kennedy legacy is made — including J.F.K.’s Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress, Robert Kennedy’s passion for civil rights and Ted Kennedy’s efforts on health care, workplace reform and refugees — the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential.

This is a video of a song I wrote for the Special Olympics a few years back, with a respectful nod to Mrs. Shriver.

Police Covers

June 25, 2009

On my most recent record, Change, I covered a song by the Police, Walking In Your Footsteps. I was just alerted to a cover song blog that featured that track in a collection of Police covers, and another that features Police and Sting covers by folk artists specifically (that site didn’t feature my track, but did recommend it). I thought I’d point you to these blogs in case you happen to be a Police/Sting fan like me, and might find these takes on their songs interesting.

One Last Article

December 10, 2008

This nice article came out a this weekend in Blue Ridge Now. That may be my last press for a while. I guess I’m officially retired now. 😉

Words and Music

November 28, 2008

A couple of things have popped up from unexpected sources that I thought folks might like to be aware of. The ‘words’ part has to do with a couple of articles; one is in the Mountain Xpress, Asheville’s indie newspaper. It’s written by Jason Bugg, who called to interview me a couple of weeks ago. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with him and we had a great conversation, though he was candid about the fact that my music isn’t really up his alley— he’s more into punk rock. A Change Is Going to Come.

The second is in the Asheville Citizen-Times, by Carol Rifkin, a fine musician herself. It’s an interview format, : LaMotte Bids Farewell to Music, Mountains

And I got a note from my buddy Gray Brooks, who took me on a tour of the national Obama campaign headquarters. He was working at the time as campaign staff and I was in Chicago to do a couple of shows, so we caught up at a coffeehouse and then toured the offices. I gave the production people there a copy of the instrumental mixes of Change and permission to use them, and it turns out they did use one in a video. This Obama promotional video uses the instrumental version of Your Smile as the soundtrack.

Tomorrow is the last concert, so my heart is pretty full. I’ll look forward to seeing some of you there, and I’ll be grateful to the rest of you too. It’s been a good ride.

Guate trip I

October 20, 2008
Da Guate

It’s always good to be here, and renewing, even at a time like this when my heart is pulled strongly toward the US. With my dad in the hospital and my baby boy getting ready to make his grand appearance, there’s a lot to feel and think about these days. Hugs and songs from Guatemalan children, though, go a long way toward reminding me why I’m here.

Thanks, by the way, for the good wishes regarding Dad. He’s scheduled for bypass surgery on Tuesday, so this is a time of waiting, mostly.

The main purpose of this trip to Guatemala is to introduce my friend John Smith to the work we’re doing here. John’s one of the few people I know who actually does more shows in a given year than I do, and I think he’ll do a great job spreading the word about PEG while I head off on my fellowship.

Da Guate

John and some children in Chacaya

John spends a lot of time in Ireland but hasn’t really need anywhere like Guatemala before. We’ve spent the first couple of days checking in on two projects where PEG has made some contributions, and buying some school supplies for a third project where PEG has been integral.

We touched down a half-hour late in Guatemala and were greeted by a Mayan man named Nicolas in a Chinese-built mini-mini-van with a spider web crack in the windshield. Nicolas navigated the darkness, the potholes, the perros and late night middle-of-the-street soccer games for four hours, talking US politics for most of the way (he’s excited about the idea of a US president who knows something first-hand about poverty and how most of the world lives, and seems to really care about it).

A little after 11 (1AM on the east coast) Nicolas and his micro-van delivered us to the Posada de Santiago at Lago Atítlan, where we’ll base for the next four nights. The folks at the Posada had left some food to be heated up when we arrived, so we ate ravenously and gratefully fell into our beds, listening to the rain and an occasional avocado landing on the roof.

Da Guate

We headed down to the dock on Friday morning and caught a boat across the inlet to Chacaya, where PEG recently helped build a new school. Our original intent last summer was to build the building, but as it turned out a larger organization with deeper pockets showed up and built a gorgeous facility while we were still chewing on plans and gathering funds.

Da Guate

The folks from Chacaya got in touch with some concern to let us know they had this opportunity, and I was happy to reassure them that we weren’t the least bit worried about turf and were thrilled that the kids were going to have a good school building.

The land they had bought with assistance from Sharing the Dream is very steep, though, and as it turned out they needed to build a strong retaining wall to make sure their beautiful new school didn’t wash down into the lake. We agreed to take on the retaining wall, and after gathering a few bids and talking through the details, it was built this summer with money from PEG.

More specifically, that money was raised for PEG by Jason Haney and Eric Keen, who cycled all the way across Canada last summer as a fundraiser. They covered 4000 miles in 37 days and raised $12,000 in the process. The retaining wall required about two-thirds of that, so along with celebrating the new wall and the new building, John and I met with two men from the parents’ committee that runs the school to talk about what their current needs are and how best to spend the rest of the money that the cyclists raised.

The parents’ committee is going to talk it over and gather some information, then be in touch with us to present ideas. It looks like one likely scenario is to buy some desks, of which they are certainly in need (kids are sitting on the floor in some classes because there aren’t enough seats). Another possibility is to work on erosion problems on the side of the school where the road comes up (using the term ‘road’ rather loosely).

Da Guate

I shot this picture of a girl in the village. It centers me to think that with an education she may be able to expand her options beyond this kind of work.

Da Guate

This was John’s first glimpse of a project we’re working on, and he found it deeply moving and encouraging. The parents’ committee has worked with three different organizations to make this school a reality, and it is powerful to see the result.

That was day one, and a solid start. More adventures tomorrow.

Da Guate


September 17, 2008

My long-time friend Kenny Legendre in Germany has been working for months on a CD of other folks doing my songs. It’s called “Spun,” in reference to my CD “Spin,” and has now been released in Europe.

Most of the musicians are German and the songs include a German translation of my song Hard Earned Smile, with the rest in English, featuring varying degrees of German accents. Some of the folks on the record are musically unknown, while others are legendary in their various countries. Ulli Brand is the guitarist for the German band Farfarello, who’ve been wowing huge crowds for decades.

There are some international contributions as well, including three US-based musicians: David Wilcox, Beth Wood and Chris Rosser, while Liz Frencham hails from Australia.

Musically, the arrangements are wildly diverse, from a choir doing New Lullaby to the rock band Knopf doing Spin, Chris Rosser’s Middle Eastern musical influences to Liz Frencham‘s jazzy upright bass and vocal.

It’s deeply moving to me to know that my music has meant enough to these folks that they have put in the time and expense to learn and record these songs.

The CD is out in Germany now, and is only available in the US through CD Baby.

Profits from the CD will go to support the work I’ve been doing with schools in Guatemala through PEG. The tracks should be up on iTunes within a few weeks, too, but the CD’s ready for shipping from CD Baby now.