The song “Ladano” written by Veronica Tapia, performed by Stan Climie (bass clarinet), Laurie Radford (electronics)
RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
It looks easy to say, and it is! LA-DA-NO. Emphasis on the middle DA. That’s it! That’s all!
Yet, as a kid, I knew that if I ever wanted to be a famous rock star, I’d have to change my name. I considered “Michael Ladd” as a good stage name. See, the problem is that most of my life, people haven’t been able to pronounce my last name. Would Peter Criss be famous today if he went by his real name Peter Criscoula? Would Gene Simmons still be the Demon today, if he stuck with the name Chaim Witz? I don’t know, but it’s hard to imagine the 1960’s with Robert Zimmerman instead of Bob Dylan, right? “Michael Balzary” is harder to say than “Flea”…and would Declan McManus had a shot at the charts if he didn’t change his name to Elvis Costello?
The ironic thing is, my grandfather changed his last name’s spelling in the early 1900’s to “Ladano” so that Canadians would be able to pronounce it easier. I’m sure he would have been disappointed in my 2nd grade teacher who must have thought I was related to Lando Calrissian, since she pronounced it “LaLando”.
Sometimes my sister, also a musician, will be referred to simply as “Lando”, to which she would really like to respond, “You’ve got a lot of guts coming here…after what you pulled.”
She has stubbornly refused to change her name even after marriage. In fact she has a song called “Ladano”.
Here are some more of the best variations of my last name that I have seen and heard:
- “Ladana” (in my dad’s first email address set up by Bell!)
And finally, my favourite:
That last one was on an official cheque from a major bank!
My last name is traditionally supposed to be spelled Laudano. I’ve traced my family back five generations to Amalfi, Italy in the mid-1800’s. Our side of the family left Amalfi for Sicily, opening up a shop there in Porto Empedocle. The Laudanos then left for America in the early 1900’s and changed the spelling on purpose after arrival. I think my grandfather would be disappointed to see the many mutilations of our name, despite him simplifying it to Ladano!
There are many Laudanos still out there, some in Ontario, Canada and others in New Hampshire. One thing we all have in common: Whether it is spelled Ladano or Laudano, we’re all family and we call each other “Cousin”. (Turns out the Laudanos are actually a musical family with an extensive history of musicians!) One recent “cousin” I have met is Luigi, who came here from Amalfi Italy, where the Laudanos also originated. He is a very popular server from the highly recommended local restaurant Borealis (“Think Global, Eat Local”). Luigi married into the Laudano family, so now we call ourselves “cousins”! Getting to know those Laudanos has been a lot of fun for us.
I wonder if my cousins have had their name as mangled as mine?!*
* In a strange twist, one of my former online handles used to get mangled, too. “Geddy”. I used to use the name “Geddy” on message boards about 20 years ago. The majority of people misspelled it “Getty”. I’m not kidding.