#396: Ladano


The song “Ladano” written by Veronica Tapia, performed by Stan Climie (bass clarinet), Laurie Radford (electronics)

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#396: Ladano

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:

  • “Ledano”
  • “Ladana” (in my dad’s first email address set up by Bell!)
  • “Ladno”
  • “Landon”
  • “Landano”
  • “Landono”
  • “Landoni”
  • “Laudon”
  • “Ladino”
  • “Ladeeno”
  • “Ladhani”
  • “Ladayno”

And finally, my favourite:

  • “Radono”

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?!*

BASS 2

* 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. 

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39 comments

  1. Very good write and I share your pain on this one. My surname is LeFevre and the number of misspellings and mispronunciations are endless. In the US my surname is pronounced “La -Fever” making it sound like some sort of disease. That is why when I came to the UK, I used the proper French pronunciation of the name.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for sharing a piece of family history, Mike. It’s pretty incredible what folks can misspell. Heck, I’ve had folk misspell my first name (James). More than once I’ve had to correct ‘Jane’. Seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man, I know what you mean! Having an Italian maiden name myself, I know how people can mispronounce! Canale. It’s a pretty last name, but no one got the memo that the e at the end is said like ee, so they’ll say “can ale”. No no no. Canalee (with emphasis on the na). Graduation from a major university, intros to speak at weddings…all of them got it wrong.

    Then I got married, and had to make a decision – should I hyphen? Should I change? My husband was against keeping my maiden name for continuity. I decided to change it. Now, my name has three “S” in it, and everyone remembers it, and barely anyone screws it up. But it is also is reminiscent of other words – semester, sinister…amazingly, no one makes fun or points that out too often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always found your name easy, but then I’m Italian Scottish too!

      I used to think your name was a cool alias, because I’d see emails from Sarca Sim. So I figured, “Cool. SHe likes videos games. That’s probably her name in the Sims or something because it sounds cool. Sarca Sim. Sarcasm.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, thanks! It’s all for fun. I like it because I made up the name, yet it’s not too random because it’s derived from my real names. It was created when I started blogging at WordPress, actually. I didn’t want to have my real name out there because of work-related reasons. So, I thought I’d stay under the radar for a bit. Those that are friends with me on FB know who I am. I surprised James and Scott when I friended them – I had to say, “Hey this is Sarca!” But, I realize I can’t be Sarca all the time. My husband never gets it right, and just calls me by my real name on podcasts and whatnot. The jig was up with Aaron (before any one else knew my real name) this past fall…I had to tell him my real name when he mailed me coffee so Can Post wouldn’t eff up.

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      1. Ha, Its real! Theres is a bunch of Slayens in Toronto too. But then since High School everyone just calls me Slayer…some don’t even know my name is Mike…Funny cuz growing up it never seemed cool to me..I always thought I should change it…

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  4. My surname sometimes gets misspelled, or misunderstood. On my honeymoon in Mexico though, the staff were acting as if we were rock stars. I didn’t understand why. They loved our name though. The girls at the desk would giggle and smile when they said our name. Possibly because apparently our surname is very close to a Spanish slang word which means ‘to have sex”.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m with you, man. But for me it was always on my first name. It is Aaron. I got Erin so often, and would ask Do I look like a girl to you? I also got Arron, Aron, Aarin, and just about every other permutation you can imagine.

    Even my last name, in SW ON, people mess it up. Stewart. Not difficult. Ha. I get Stuart a lot, and others too. I dunno. People just don’t listen.

    When we were naming our kids, it had to be names we figured people wouldn’t mangle. For example, naming your daughter Cristine (without the h), that poor kids gonna spend her whole life spelling her name for people. No thanks! And we still get Issac instead of Isaac, and Sophia instead of Sophie. Ah well. Guess we should have named our boy Bob, and our girl Jane. BOABY!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well of course I agree, but that’s because I have been spelling my name since I learned how to write it (a few years ago). But people definitely mess it up all the time. I’ve grown used to it.

        Not that I’m religious all that much, but Aaron was Moses’ older brother, and Isaac, of course, was Abraham’s son. Since Christianity is generally fairly prevalent in our neighbourhood, it always amazes me when people get them wrong. Ah well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I get this too.
    “Hello can I speak to Mr. Nelson”
    “No, its Neeson.”
    “Sorry Mr. Heaton”
    “No, its Neeson. Neeson, like the actor.”
    “Sorry about that Mr. Gleeson.”
    “No…,oh, just forget it. James Gleeson speaking”

    Also, everyone who knows me a bit casually at work will think my name is Liam. Everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. yeah man my name is the most epic of failed pronunciation

    “quarterpeter, core-tep-eter, korteeepeeeter”

    I laugh always. Nobody gets it right. I think people just aren’t used to Dutch names like mine. And of all things it translates to “short peter.” LMAO

    Like

      1. and here’s the funniest part. In the Netherlands we were just Korte. Moved to Germany then added the Peter. Eventually came to the US in the 1800s. Dutch by way of Germany. And we know THOSE countries don’t have the best history lololol

        Liked by 1 person

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