I first met Leander Lyons at the Baroc open mic on a Tuesday night probably three years ago. He is an American musician from Schodack Landing, New York, but living in Paris, and the night of that open mic there was a little bit of chaos in terms of who exactly was running the open mic. Leander suddenly, it seemed, decided he was – although he said he had been asked to do so at least temporarily until the real MC returned. But what started as a hijacking, turned into a regular gig for Leander, who ran the open mic for a few months, maybe a year, I can’t remember. But since then, Leander moved on to other horizons, played gigs here and there, and then put together a group called “Into the Moon.” So when I found myself in the neighborhood of the Baroc last night and found myself face-to-face with Ollie of the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic as we had been attracted to the same sandwich shop on the Boulevard de la Villette, and then I found myself face to face with Thomas Arlo, another American who frequently plays at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance and I found they were both going to Leander’s show at the Baroc – I decided to order a sandwich and follow them.
If that is not one of the most convoluted lead paragraphs you have ever read on this blog, then I don’t know what is – although I know I have done some doozers before. Anyway, so I went to the Baroc and found Leander and his band, “Into the Moon,” with notably, Mirabelle Gilis on violin and Ceyhun Kaya on soprano sax and clarinette, I became immediately entranced by the music. Leander has progressed in his world, and this band shows some of the evidence of his progression and travels, so places like Istanbul. He said he had not played at the Baroc for perhaps two years.
Anyway, I met up with several other friends there, and as I listened to the band I instantly thought of Istanbul. There was a gypsy sound, a middle eastern sound, a Turkish sound, to this music. It was fun, hopping, dancing, but also progressive in some places. In any case, the first thought that came to mind when I heard Ceyhun on his soprano sax was the memory of my friend Herbert Koschmieder, the German former kraut-rock musician now living in Istanbul and playing soprano sax with Turks in Turkish music. I also immediately thought of the amazing evening I had spent with Herbert and Safak at Safak’s Kooperatif in Istanbul, when we jammed together.
But I also rememebered that at one point not too far back, Leander had also met up with and played at the Kooperatif, with someone who used to work at the Baroc! So after their set, I spoke to them all, and it turned out that not only did they all know Safak, but Ceyhan also knew Herbert!!! So can the world get any smaller than that?!? Thanks to music, it most certainly can. But I’m looking forward to seeing how…..