Random experiences …exciting, dangerous, sublime, scary, embarrassing, weird and wonderful that I have been fortunate to have had during my lifetime…so far!
Having the attention of all the leaders of the Western world when I performed at the G7 conference in 1981. Sitting for half an hour at the dinner table between Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and President Ronald Reagan, across from Margaret Thatcher, and holding hands under the table with Pierre.
Being conducted by John Williams (of Star Wars fame) playing the Albinoni Adagio and Vivaldi with the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Being smuggled into the LA Courthouse to play a private concert for the sequestered O.J. Simpson jury and getting a standing ovation.
Playing classical guitar at a glitzy party in Monte Carlo at 4 a.m. aboard Adnan Khashoggi’s luxury yacht, Nabila, that had just been christened that day.
Several years later, being given the use of Nabila in Capri with my friend, renowned Canadian architect Arthur Erikson.
Surviving a hurricane in the Atlantic aboard an old Greek ocean liner, the S.S. Columbia when I was eight.
Sleeping in Mick Jagger’s bed with my fiancée at the time, Joel, on the island of Mustique and jumping up and down on his huge trampoline.
Skimming across the ocean at 5a.m. with the legendary Comandante Zero (the head of the Salvadorean “Sandinistas” whom I had met in the first class airport lounge in Dallas, Texas) in a small Costa Rican fishing boat, and later idling as hundreds of dolphins played around us. Spending the night in his rustic beach house.
The day after playing a guitar concert in Kathmandu,Nepal, stalking on hands and knees with my mother in the middle of the night through the jungles in order to see a tiger, and riding elephants at Tiger Tops National Park.
Being taken by my Boeing engineer friend and guitar fan into Air Force One, the president’s private jet in Seattle and sitting in the pilot’s seat until a security guard seized my camera.
Getting lost in the twists and turns of the Istanbul Bazaar in Turkey and unexpectedly coming face to face with my parents.
Enjoying the happiest day of my life, a 1992 lavish Beverly Hills style wedding to John B. Simon at the Regent Beverly Hills Hotel and playing classical guitar in my wedding dress for the over 200 guests.
Spending 2 hours speaking Spanish with Fidel Castro telling me stories on one steamy night in Havana.
Canoeing for 2 weeks up the Missinaibi River and playing a guitar concert for the Cree natives in Moose Factory, James Bay.
Skinny dipping and canoeing with my boyfriend of eight years, Pierre Trudeau, at his country estate at Harrington Lake, Quebec. Sneaking past the press in a dark wig in order to meet up without being recognized, and being smuggled out of Sussex Drive one morning under a pile of coats.
Recording the music to the film “A Walk in the Clouds” with one of my film composer idols Maurice Jarre (Lawrence of Arabia/Doctor Zhivago) conducting me.
Almost having a mid-air collision over Hong Kong after the CP Air pilots had invited me to join them in the cockpit as we left Bangkok.
Helping David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) learn my guitar piece “Persona” at his country estate in England, with producer Michael Kamen.
Recording with Roger Whittaker singing my “Christmas Dreams” song in Reno, Nevada.
Being searched and having our VW bus torn apart by the border guards in Laredo Texas, after living a year in Mexico.
Hiking in the woods on Salt Spring Island with my dear friends the renowned artist Robert Bateman and his vivacious photographer wife Birgit.
Riding a horse with my sister to the gathering of pilgrims by the river outside of San Miguel De Allende and staying up all night on Noche Buena
Recording an LP with Country Music legend, guitarist Chet Atkins at his home in Nashville.
Scuba diving through the coral reefs of Cozumel surrounded by brightly coloured parrot fish.
Having Julio Iglesias sing his entire sound check for me alone in a Miami Beach hotel.
Running down 30 flights in a Tokyo hotel during a night time earthquake.
Sitting in the darkened studio with Robert Redford, a guitar fan, feeling the callouses on my fingertips and waxing poetic about music as the sound track to “Quiz Show” was being scored.
Making a music video in the garden with my precious shaded silver American shorthair cat, Muffin.
Walking along the Great Wall of China carrying my classical guitar with my mother, Eileen.
Surviving a cyclone off the coast of New Zealand aboard the Seaborne Pride.
Climbing down into the subterranean passages in the city of Guanajuato and seeing the famous mummies long before they were all encased in glass, gathering teeth from the floor.
Playing in the Cairo Opera House, Egypt, and being hailed as “The new Segovia.”
Giving a guitar concert in the world’s most southerly concert hall in Invercargill, New Zealand.
Playing guitar in India along with amazing Sitar and Tabla players.
Dining in Palm Beach’s romantic Brazilian Court with Lord Conrad Black, known for his immense vocabulary and acerbic wit, as he recounted his trials and tribulations at the hands of the U.S. prison system.
Playing at the opening of Deepak Chopra’s Wellness Center in California and disco dancing with him and Demi Moore.
Disco dancing with Rod Stewart, who was wearing a kilt, at a Malibu Xmas party.
Corresponding with Dudley Moore, Richard Branson and writer Isabel Allende.
Having dinner along with about 50 WPO members at the home of Madame Anwar Sadat in Cairo.
Sitting four seats away from Michael Jackson at the TJ Martel Foundation dinner in NY.
Hanging out one afternoon with Neil Diamond the day after his Toronto concert.
Being given private classical guitar lessons by Maestro Andres Segovia, Alexandre Lagoya, Narcisco Yepes and Alirio Diaz.
Playing huge arenas all over North America as “opening act” for Gordon LightfootPlaying in the Kremlin on New Years eve, the very evening that the Soviet Union officially broke up, and watching the most spectacular fireworks I have ever seen.
Being hired to perform at Charlton Heston’s wedding anniversary in Los Angeles as he was a fan of my music.
Exploring the cavernous salt mine city below the city of Krakov, Poland.
Eating spicy stir frys at midnight in the winding back streets of Singapore and drinking Singapore Slings in Raffles Hotel where Somerset Maugham wrote his famous stories.
Taking a midnight rickshaw ride with my mother around Calcutta’s red light district, and floating along the Ganges in a wooden boat, being taken to a polo match in New Delhi by the Maharaja of Udaipur.
Filming my music videos in San Miguel de Allende, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Acapulco,Venice, Madrid, Costa Rica, Great Captain’s Island, Connecticut and Toronto.
Going though the Panama Canal at night, exploring Devil’s Island, cruising along the Amazon and flying over Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, on a Canadian military plane.
Busking in Nice as a student and then taking the Orient Express to Paris.
Getting a private tour of the infamous Belleview Hospital in downtown Kingston, Jamaica while searching for a long lost friend
Having a private tour of Miguelito Malos’s collection of pre-Colombian art before he destroyed his entire collection and committed suicide.
Living alone for 2 months in a French Chateau…Le Chateau de Montgermont that belonged to the Dubonnet family.
Getting an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Toronto, my Alma Mater and giving the convocation speech.
Shooting military rifles at Camp Borden, Ontario.
Having a choir of delightful Cuban children sing me “Guantanamera” on the grass outside the National Theatre in Havana.
Playing at the hospice of Mother Teresa in Calcutta and later under a full moon in the courtyard for the Sisters of Charity.
Dancing till dawn with Billy Guinness and the Portanovas in the disco at their fantasy house Arabesque in Las Brisas, Acapulco, Mexico.
Sharing a concert with Peter Ustinov who gave me silent giggles as he made crazy animal sounds from the wings while I was playing.
Teaching piano and Spanish to a 10 year old girl in Paris to pay for my “chambre de bonne” on the eighth floor on Avenue Velasquez in the Parc Monceau.
Dancing with Anthony Edwards who played Sebastian in “Brideshead Revisited” after he came to my UCLA Royce Hall concert.
Performing ten sold out shows in Germany with Tracy Chapman the week the Berlin Wall came down.
Helping to raise millions of dollars for various charities over the years e.g. performing at the Kennedy Center for The American Cancer Society.
Sitting with producer Mike Nichols and chatting with Henry Kissinger aboard the Air France Concorde flying at Mach 11.
Landing in a blizzard in Nuuk, Greenland, in a Canadian military jet. Barely making it to the concert stage!
Getting tossed around in a violent thunderstorm over San Jose and having the Cessna pilot start praying for God to save us.
Losing an engine on the Concorde in mid Atlantic and having an emergency landing in New York.
Having dinner in L.A. at the home of astronaut Buzz Aldrin who has walked on the moon,and coffee with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who sang on my song, “ Canada My Canada”.
Chatting with great actor Jeremy Irons at the Metropolitan Opera in New York
Sitting waiting for a plane in Heathrow Airport with Maggie Smith who said people kept thinking she was Vanessa Redgrave. Staying in Morro Bay, California, at the home of fitness guru Jack Lalanne and his wife Elaine.
Being flown over the Gulf Islands by Tony Only and landing with lots of bumps in a field in his old Polish plane that eventually caused his death.
Hanging out with famous Haida carver Bill Reid while he carved his massive sculpture for the Vancouver Airport in a studio in False Creek.
Twice having tea at a Beverly Hills hotel with Leonard Cohen discussing music and the poetry of Garcia Lorca.
Playing on Garcia Lorca’s Spanish guitar in his house in Granada at the invitation of his grand niece.
Learning to Skeet shoot at the rural estate of Power Corporation’s CEO Paul Desmarais in Quebec and sitting around a campfire watching the workers sing folksongs accompanied by spoons played on their knees.
Meeting the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in Paris a year before he died and having him draw me a flower in my book of his poetry.
Walking around Pablo Neruda’s house in Isla Negra, on the Chilean coast.
Visiting Frederic Chopin's house on the island of Mallorca. Seeing the homes of Albinoni while filming a music video of his famous “Adagio” in Venice.
Collecting shells and exploring caves with my parents and sister Vivien in Bilbao, in northern Spain.
Camping in Arkansas amongst trees dripping with Spanish moss and escaping from some very dubious men.
Avoiding being raped in a locked room in Paris by fabricating a story and then clinging onto a French policeman until the would-be assailant fled.
Walking along the beaches of Malibu and Jupiter with my dear friend Olivia Newton-John and her various dogs.
Eating kippers on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, with my girlfriend Dale.
Partaking a spiritual retreat in the Berkshires with New Age guru Andrew Cohen and in Orlando, Florida, giving a foot massage to one of my favourite Gurus, Dr.Wayne Dyer.
Meeting Woody Allen at a James Bond premiere in New York.
Being taken out to Michaels restaurant in Santa Monica by Dudley Moore who picked me up in his Rolls Royce and talked to me for hours about music.
Chatting with Saudi Prince Bandar at the lavish apartment of Adnan Khassogi in New York and having him try to fix the sound system so he could play my LP.
Eating “tangine” with our hands while sitting on the carpeted floor in the home of one of the Bluemen in the desert of Morocco.
Hiding in Roger Moore’s car during the filming of “Moonraker” at the Chateau de Vaux Le Vicomte and Roger driving me through the French countryside in his Rolls Royce with “Concierto de Aranjuez” playing full blast.
Walking through the Palace of Aranjuez, Spain where the bells play Rodrigo’s “Adagio” and exploring the exquisite Moorish style Alhambra in Granada.
Shooting my “Best Of” album cover with renowned photographer Robert Vavra in the fields of Andalucia, Spain, with a herd of wild horses who came to listen to me play guitar, but made my heart pound.
Getting a private tour of the battlements of Malta by one of the Knights of Malta.
Spending an idyllic week in Boqueron, Puerto Rico, with the local fishermen after escaping from a classical guitar festival in San Juan.
Recording the waves on a beautiful romantic beach in the British Virgin Islands to use as sound effects for my “Seven Journeys” CD.
Wandering around Buenos Aires with my husband at the time, Jack Simon, and taking a tango lesson at midnight.
Walking in the fog around Grand Bank, Newfoundland, and eating lobster in the tiny French fishing communities of San Pierre and Miquelon.
Watching penguins nesting in the rocks in Ushuaia in Patagonia at the southern tip of Argentina.
Playing at the Istanbul Music Festival in 100 degree temperature onstage and being whisked around the city by my guide, Typhoon.
Watching Margot Fonteyn and my ballet idol Rudolph Nureyev on stage and then being invited into his dressing room, and years later having dinner with him and friends Bill and Monica Stevens.
Meeting Manos Hadjidakis the renowned composer of “Never on Sunday” at his house in Athens.
Being photographed and sleeping in the house of famed photographer Roloff Beny in Rome.
Evacuating our Malibu house in the middle of the night during a terrible wildfire.
Winning the Canadian National Music competition in Trois-Rivieres , Quebec, winning five Juno Awards and five Guitar Player magazine Polls.
Dancing the role of The Queen of Hearts in my ballet school’s production of “La Boutique Fantasque”.
Representing Canada in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the Cultural Capitol of Europe festival and playing aboard an icebreaker at “Canada Week”, in Bemuda.
Having my concert hall catch on fire in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Being fed far too many sherries with Jose Ramirez and family after buying his prize guitar in Madrid.
Having the NHK TV station whisk me around Tokyo filming a TV special, and watching instrument makers of shamisens…and to my horror learning they used the skins of dogs and cats. Playing with the Tokyo Philharmonic.
Walking around the fortifications of Dubrovnik with Srdjan Givoje and having a thunderstorm encounter with Djelo Jusic, Croatia’s most revered classical composer.
Spending 13 hours locked in the dressing room with Dynasty star Linda Evans in Glasgow, Scotland, and sharing the stage with Sir Andrew Davis for a Royal Command Performance.
Starting to play “Oh Canada” on Catherine the Great’s piano in the Kremlin and lying on her bed when the guards weren't looking.
Riding in a Troika over the snow in Moscow and being taken on a horse drawn carriage ride through the snowy woods in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada.
Riding a camel across the sand dunes in Morocco and another camel across the silent desert to the pyramids one night in Giza, Egypt.
Taking a riverboat up the Nile to Aswan and listening to a beautiful choir of Nubian children.
Giving a private concert for the King and Queen of Spain, playing on my new Yamaha guitar and hoping they would not ask the name of the luthier!
Receiving a fan letter from President Jimmy Carter and taking photos with President Ronald Reagan.
Playing at “Jamfest” then spending an afternoon at the beach with Pierre Trudeau and his three boys in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Seeing Mount Everest high up in the Himalayas after giving a concert in Nepal.
Being rescued by a family of Hutterites during a violent thunderstorm in Alberta.
Meeting the world renowned plastic surgeon Ivo Pitanguy one late night after my concert in Rio de Janeiro after he had sewn back the foot of the Canadian consul, John Bell, after a propeller accident.
Being conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, and recording with the English Chamber Orchestra while making my “Baroque Favorites” album in London.
Watching a polo match (complete with elephants dressed in gold finery) in the Royal box as guest of HRH the Maharana of Udaipur in New Delhi, India.
Sipping hot drinks in one noisy, canon-smoke filled evening with the legendary composer Henri Mancini and his wife Ginny as they re-enacted for the World President’s Organization, the noisy Battle of Waterloo in a field in Belgium, and later listening to a classical concert in their Bel Air home.
Crashing to the cement floor in my Palm Beach Florida garage, breaking my shoulder and knee and spending a month in hospital, after being airlifted in a Lear Jet back to Toronto.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Playing the classical guitar.
2. What is your greatest fear?
A Nuclear war destroying the earth
3. What living or dead person do you most admire?
Ludwig Van Beethoven for his genius at having composed the most inspiring music the world has known in spite of his crippling ailments, particularly his deafness.
4. What is the characteristic you most dislike in yourself?
That I’m not always neat and tidy.
5. What is the characteristic you most dislike in others?
6. What are you excessive about in your life?
Nothing, but love traveling
7. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
8. When do you lie?
Rarely but occasionally to protect my privacy.
9. Where would you like to live?
Somewhere I can be close to water and natural beauty
10. Which talent would you like most to have?
I’d love to have a great singing voice and be a better tango dancer.
11. What is your favorite distraction?
(how do you relax?)
Walking, bicycling, yoga, watching good films, having tea with friends.
12. What challenges you the most?
Finding time each day to do all the things I want to do.
13. What gives you the most satisfaction?
14. What do you regard as the lowest depth of despair?
Losing someone you love.
15. What is your most obvious characteristic?
I’m a dreamer and a romantic.
16. When and where were you happiest?
When I first moved to California and fell in love.
17. What is your most treasured possession?
The teddy bear my parents gave me when I was 3. Mosey still sits in my bedroom and I named my record company after him.
18. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Introducing classical guitar to millions of people around the world.
19. If you had to come back as a person or animal what would it be?
A beautiful white bird flying over the ocean.
20. If the Gods decided for you, based on your karma, what do you think they’d have you come back as?
A free spirit
21. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
22. What is the top thing on your lifetime to do list?
Find my soul mate.
23. What makes you feel safe and secure?
24. What award would you most like to receive and why?
A Lifetime Achievment Juno Award
25. If you could have another career what would it be?
A great tenor
26. What profession would you hate to be in?
A vivisectionist torturing animals in laboratories.
27. What is your favorite word?
Amor, amore, l’amor, love
28. What are your favorite sounds?
classical guitar, a cat’s purr, birdsong, a mountain stream, crickets, a symphony orchestra.
29. What is your favorite food?
Tropical fruits, every type known to man
30. What words do you live by?
What is your motto?
The words of my English grammar school: "Aim high"
31. What is it that you most dislike?
32. What is it that you most like?
33. What was your ambition?
To make beautiful music and see the world.
34. What do you look forward to when you go to work?
Writing an original melody, the intense concentration of a performance, then meeting my audience afterwards
35. What do you look forward to when you go home?
A nice cup of English tea.
36. Who or what influenced you to choose your profession?
My mother took me to a concert by a famous classical guitarist Julian Bream and at that moment I decided I wanted to make it my life.
37. Who is your hero living or dead and why?
How about a heroine?
Frida Kalho for pursuing her passion for art and living a rich and fulfilling life in spite of terrible pain and a philandering husband.
38. What is your present state of mind?
A mix of emotions.
39. What would you never do?
Intentionally harm a person or an animal
40. Was there a "fork in road" experience that changed your life direction?
My decision to study music instead of English literature at the university.
Due to the many requests for personal information here is some Liona Boyd info that we hope will be helpful and of interest. With Liona's help we have compiled this list.
London, England / Toronto, Canada / San Miguel de Allende, Mexico / Paris, France / San Francisco, USA / Vancouver, Canada / Beverly Hills CA / Miami FL /New Canaan Connecticut, Santa Monica CA,Palm Beach,FL.
HOBBIES AND PASTIMES
Singing and playing guitar, walking on the beach / hiking in the hills / practicing Spanish and French and watching foreign films /oil painting / traveling / cruising / dancing / writing poetry / attending classical and popular concerts / watching documentaries, keeping contact with friends and family around the world
* Concert at the Los Angeles Courthouse for the sequestered jury members of the O. J. Simpson trial.
* A concert for the Cree natives in Moose Factory, Northern Ontario, after paddling a canoe for two weeks up the Missinabi River to get there
* Concert in Mother Theresa's Hospice in Calcutta, India
* Performance at a private party in the Kremlin on New Year's Eve
* Recital aboard a Canadian Navy icebreaker in Bermuda
* Private concert at Windsor Castle for the British Royal Family.
Venice / Florence, San Miguel de Allende / Paris / Rome / Prague, Vienna, Buenos Aires / Rio de Janeiro/ Hong Kong / Bangkok / Vancouver / Toronto / Los Angeles/ San Francisco/Dubrovnik
FAVORITE CLASSICAL COMPOSERS
Beethoven/ Bach /Debussy/ Mozart/Tarrega / Albeniz / De Falla/ Granados/ Chopin / Vivaldi / Mahler
FAVORITE FILM COMPOSERS
Ennio Morricone / Maurice Jarre / John Barry / James Horner / Gabriel Yared
Lawrence of Arabia / Dr. Zhivago / The English Patient / Gone with the Wind / Room with a View / A Man and Woman / Gigi / Indochine / Don Juan de Marco / Casablanca / Westside Story / Evita / The Age of Innocence / The Man who Cried / Frida / Ladies in Lavendar /Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Julio Iglesias / Sarah Brightman/Nana Mouskouri / Enya / Leonard Cohen / Placido Domingo / Joan Baez / Gordon Lightfoot / Sting / The Rolling Stones / Georges Moustaki / Julian Bream / Yo-Yo Ma / Pepe Romero / Christopher Parkening / LA Guitar Quartet/ The Tenors
Shakespeare / Lawrence Durrell / Isabel Allende / Michael Ondaatje / T.E. Lawrence / Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Garcia Lorca / Pablo Neruda / Octavio Paz / Antonio Machado / Longfellow / Tennyson
Renoir / Monet / Picasso / Henry Moore / Frieda Kahlo
FAMILY AND PERSONAL FACTS
* Liona has one younger sister Vivien, and one younger brother, Damien.
* Her only "child" had white fur, green eyes, and said, "Meow". (A shaded silver American short-hair, named "Muffin"). She had to leave him with her husband when she divorced but had visiting rights until he passed at almost twenty.
* Liona's parents lived in Toronto, Canada, and her grand-parents lived in Spain and England.
* Height 5'7" / Weight 115 pounds / Has had long hair all her life.
* Engaged for eight years to Joel Bell / lived with then married John B. Simon 1991-2004
* Full name—Liona Maria Carolynne Boyd
English, Spanish, French
Dr Wayne Dyer/Deepak Chopra/ Brian and Ana Maria Clement, Oprah Winfrey/Prince Philip / Robert Redford / Jane Goodall / Guadaloupe Arizpe de la Vega/ Doctor Andrew Weil /Richard Branson / Peter Ustinov / Robert Bateman / Yehudi Menuhin/ David Suzuki / Dr Neal Barnard/ Ray Kurzweil
* Included in The Twelve Sexiest Canadian Women (The Great Canadian Book of Lists). Shania Twain is Number 1; Liona Number 8.
* Liona's first guitar is displayed in the Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, Canada.
* Liona's gold concert shoes are displayed in the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada
* Liona was named Artist of the Year and Honorary Mayor of the city of San Antonio
* 2010 made Honorary Patron of the National Youth Orchestra
Mosquitoes / blackfly / large spiders / religious extremism / cruelty to animals or humans
Fresh fruit/ organic salads / sunflower sprouts/ freshly baked whole wheat bread / virgin pina coladas / English tea / cappuccinos / dark chocolate /lifetime vegetarian but occasionally eats fish/ can make great organic blueberry and raspberry pancakes!
German Vazquez Rubio guitars, Cherry-wood music stand hand-carved especially for Liona by Edwin Vollmer of Salt Spring Island, her father's paintings and sculptures, 5 Juno Awards, childhood bears Mosey and Tonka after which her label Moston Music is named.
White / cream / turquoise / gold / pink /purple
Bugambilia, yellow roses / Birds of Paradise / Daffodils / Cala Lilies / Poppies
Vent Vert by Pierre Balmain
Moon child (Cancer)
- Liona won a prize for “Best Story” when she was seven in Adamsrill Infant’s School, London, England.
- The first instrument she played was the treble recorder.
* Her first performance was the talent competition on-board the ocean liner sailing from England to Canada. She and her sister Vivien played a recorder duet, "The Blue Bells of Scotland." They did not win. Later Liona took both first and second prizes in the art competition on the next ocean liner when returning for the second time to Canada.
* Her first guitar was a Christmas present from her parents at age thirteen. (It had been purchased in Spain as a souvenir when Liona was seven.) Her first guitar concert was presented by the Toronto Guitar Society four years later.