Angelina Eichorst on behalf of Lieve Fransen
Dearest Noah, dearest Lieve,
let me, on behalf of Lieve, warmly welcome you all today. We are grateful for you being here with Noah, being here for Lieve in particular, sharing our feelings of sadness and pain yet also helping us,
each in his or her way, through the process of transformation of Noah’s soul, transcending from sadness into re-birth.The person who best understands what meaning life has for Noah, is Lieve. She asked me to share with you his vision,
which he expresses so clearly through his music but is not easy to express in
words. The way Noah saw and experienced the essence of life was unique, indeed accurate and brilliant.
Ever since he started recording music, his message was centered around his relation to this Place Called Earth, placed ‘between two eternities’. Noah sees Earth as a place to use everybody’s gifts of< creativity, everybody’s vibrations to search for the patterns of eternity and use the proper instruments to connect with the ‘it’. His music, throughout his career, not only inspires, entertains and comforts many people, it also carries the clear message for all the re-connect with our soul.
Lieve told me yesterday evening that when they were in France and a friend wanted to take photos for his website and next album, Noah asked him: ‘Try to take a photo of my soul’. Noah believed that only our soul is everlasting. All else, all that is perceived, is ever-changing and is interpreted in many individual unique ways. He knew that only when living from the soul, can we experience our true nature – Everlastingness. Making music was and always will be Noah’s strongest manifestation of the soul’s nature.
Knowing this we will understand Noah’s strong connection with the world’s ancient civilizations, who had understood long before us that our soul is everlasting. The Egyptians used to celebrate the transcendence of life on earth to the hereafter and through their celebrations, books of the dead, their paintings and their stories in stone, they have been kept alive until this very day. For us you are truly alive Noah and you will be
with us, you, Lieve, your family, your friends, your fans.
Each of us has been influenced by you, both individually and collectively, and today we are one united family.
Many of you have contributed to make this a very special celebration, and again we thank all those who have shared in the preparations, with the music, with their personal thoughts, through email, facebook, by sending flowers.
Lieve and Noah feel both very strongly about this united family.
Together we can now find the way to transcend from the pain of departure, through listening to the music of Noah’s soul.
Whatever you want your death to be,
let first your life be exactly the same
because death is not separate from life,
it is not an end to life, but only a change.
Life continues, has continued, will always continue.
But forms become useless, old, more a burden than a joy;
it is better to give life a new, fresh form.
Death is a blessing, it is not a curse.’
When Noah had built the ark and brought all the animals in, he escaped just for a moment from the attention of the Lord.
That’s the reason why the holy book doesn’t mention the story I’m about to tell…
Noah, during that moment of divine inattention, took a large breath and hid all human music in his soul.
The music was what mankind invented after the disaster of the expulsion out of paradise, to escape from death, to deal with pain and sorrow, to celebrate live and love..
God didn’t think of music. There was no music in his mind.
Noah saved what God had forgotten. By doing so he saved the most beautiful emotion of human kind.
Noah Howard was a man of that tradition.
His most important album, still a monument in Jazz , was Black Ark.
Noah had the music in his soul. And this had a deep sense and meaning to him. Like Robert Kaplan said: “Noah is the preacher – this was his nickname in jazz – his idea of the importance of the vibrations of sound as the “it” behind all of the universe was both accurate and brilliant.“
“A love supreme.” Every day ”a love supreme.”
And his soul was deeply Afro American. Very difficult to make a picture of.
The best we can do for Noah is to listen with all our senses to his music. There he is still alive, forever.
I am here on request of our dear Lieve to tell you about the family man Noah and the last 10 days of his live we spent together.
Noah said ‘hello’ to me while leaving the house for what tuned out to be his last walk. Afterwards we found out that he had been on his way to put the garbage out, a day too soon and a street too far. Noah
was a man who was doing his fair share of the household chores.
My dear cousin Noah,
It was a pleasure to spend holidays with you.
On December 31 of the last year we had an intimate New Years Eve party with you, Lieve, Nora and Guido in our house in Hatrival. After Midnight we danced on the swinging music of your native town and also on the funeral music played by Armstrong.
You told us that was the way to deal with death, the New Orleans way. We had fun, and continued dancing with umbrellas. It was fabulous. We never could have guessed that only a few months later we’d be listening to that same music as a goodbye to you. Didn’t he ramble?
That’s how we started this year together, cousin: celebrating the victory of light over darkness, the victory of life over death, celebrating life…what a wonderful world.
But the Ardennes in the winter were really to cold for you.
The holy week we spent together in Tarifa. We went to the several Semana Santa processions in Tarifa, and Jerez. There we were guided by Paloma and Mauritz.
Su ultima composición fue para tí, Paloma.
We were very impressed by the music played by the brass bands preceding the procession floats. It was quite an experience to hear your version of that music a few days ago…This strange, obsessive music had inspired you in the same way as you absorbed so many other musical raditions.
What an experience ! With Noah in Spain. Olé.
But the wind in Tarifa was too heavy for you.
Since August 20th we were once more together in the house of Filip and Rosine in Saint Quentin. And there the climate suited you well: always sunny, always warm. There you felt at home. And again it was a delight to be with you.
This wasn’t a place to die, Noah.
You were composing and working with Lieve on your book with the evident title “Music in my soul”. Your stories. Your vision on your life. Lieve told us that you didn’t know yet how to end the book. You
were full of new projects, had concerts planned for the next weeks in Malta and in the Netherlands, wanted to travel again to exciting destinations.
What can we say: You closed the book in a brutal way. This was not what we had agreed on. You left us alone without the first witness.
You asked me to take the picture for the cover of your book. One evening in Saint-Quentin we did a first photo session, sitting around the table. I tried to take a picture of you and your soul. It was a
very funny and absolutely hilarious experience. The pictures came out in the same way. Funny but not serious enough for a cover.
The photographer was wrong. The soul of Noah can only be approached through his music, his soul cannot be caught.
“A love supreme”. Every day ”a love supreme”.
Noah loved the presence of friends and family.
He was so proud about Lieve. Doctor L. Mambo, the lady, his Lady: Mrs. HOWARD.
There is a picture of them in the embassy of Belgium in Madrid. He wore the same clothes as on his fabulous last concert of July 16th. They looked, so said his good friend Prince Mansour, like the ambassador of India and his American wife. He was beaming.
He loved you so much Lieve. It was fine to see this. Love of thirty years in good and bad days. And he was thankfully. And he expressed his gratitude on his way in the unforgettable music he made for you.
A love supreme.
He was also very concerned about Opa, his comrade, and full of admiration for those who are taking such good care off him.
With very few left of his own family, he was very attached to the new family he found in Belgium.
Spending holidays with Noah wasn’t always a simple matter.
In the daytime he refused to enter in the swimming pool. In a starlit night he told us he went in the water under the protection and supervision of his Lady. What an experience.
Lieve was the only one who could convince him to do completely absurd things as hiking just for fun, an European invention as far as he was concerned. But on the other hand he was very proud that he walked with Lieve and Greet from the house of Philippe and Rosine to the village and back, including a necessary stop at a local café of course. The three of four kilometers became a great experience. It looked as if he had just climbed the Mont Blanc.
The Monday before the fatal Wednesday Noah played in the Roman church of Bar les Cevennes where we were visiting Marijke Van Hemeldonck. It was a very short performance. It were his last notes. The sound was perfect. He was perfect. The man in the blue shirt.
Now we realise what a privilege it was to be with him on that moment. This sound and the image of Bar will stay forever in our memory.
The day before the fatal Wednesday Noah paid us a drink in Uzès. We sat on the place de la Republique just in the late sun: Noah Catherine Dirk Greet and I. The perfect aperitif and Noah was in an excellent mood.
Then we went home to eat the mussels that Lieve had prepared. His last meal was very Belgian.
It was a quiet and fine evening. We looked to the pictures of Bar and Noah was satisfied of the results.
The day after early in the morning Noah left the house for his last walk like I said before. We said just hello good morning. When we found him he was already in a deep coma..
During the last days and night Lieve sat at his bedside. He looked so peaceful. He who hated hospitals and doctors, with one big exception of course, the love of his life Doctor L. Mambo.
Lieve told him about the beautiful things in their live. She sang his songs and was reminding him of the Ocean at night , Wadi Rum, Africa. They were very unified. In peace, and than he left us.
We will miss you Noah. We will continue, listening to your music. We will take care of your Lady.
My dear cousin and soul brother, we had a good time with you. “Laissez le bon temps rouler” like you said, in your best French.
This was your time and now brother, like they sing in New Orleans “Fly away”.
You fulfilled your duty.
Hope you like the party.
Strange to throw one without you, strange to speak about you in the past tense. Like many of your friends I suppose, I do not understand, accept or let in your passing away.
You had many friends, in different places on earth and from very different backgrounds. It is a daunting task to speak on behalf of all of them, even if that is the reason I am standing here.
I can only speak about my own relationship to you, trusting it represents at least partly what others have experienced and felt.
Even if you have left your body here behind with us, I know that you are somewhere here around us.
But you are not only around; you have also become a part of me that is how it works with friends. You do not need to be around to know how a buddy feels and thinks about a lot of things.
And why I was in a relation to that.
You were a person with many facets, music was of course your main way of expression, but apart of the musician there was the wider person Noah.
We met through the music, because I chose you to allow me to develop that in myself. Something made that you chose me as well, but I will ask you later what that was.
I do know what we shared, loved, enjoyed and sometimes disliked. The passion for everything, which is true, interesting and enriching.
And of course it had to be fun.
You were human with a drive for creation, love for good food, good taste in general, colours and magic but also, if you do not mind saying this as a man, you were a very kind and sweet man who really cared
about others and connected to them.
You connected to people regardless culture, class or profession. Although coming from the music scene, from New Orleans in the US of A, you came to Europe after passing through Africa ending up after Paris in Gent and Tervuren. You felt remarkably well at ease in diplomatic circles, in Tervuren Suburbia and the people who go with that, but you zoomed of also easily to joints I ‘d never come.
You and Lieve became here in Tervuren part of our family and circle of friends, what you would call the extended family, the tribe, and vice versa.
Because of this capacity of universal human contact you and Lieve have friends all over the world. And they all have communicated that they cannot believe it you have gone, they miss you and the special person they feel you were.
They all feel that when being with you it was a special moment, they remember.
For me you were the manager of a thin line between reality and some other worlds. Sometimes we got indeed lost in outer space but that did not mind, it was good to be in a place where I otherwise would not come. A mental holiday.
We talked politics, religion – anything -, but always with interest, curiosity, passion and always looking for the fun in it.
We, all your friends will remember you for all that, your smile, warm deep voice and sense of humour, hospitality, glass of wine, fun, joy, your kindness, but above all your capacity to connect, or as Duncan writes:
Noah shared his love of music with me and I shared my love of sailing with him. We sailed the Bahamas together and we found a synergy of spirit in the freedom, the sunrises and sunsets, the tranquility
and harmony with nature. I treasure the fact that I have the memories and had the chance to share this time with a great first mate. We sure will miss that booming laugh and early morning chats.
Noah, you will always be a part of me and I trust of all your friends who will continue to listen to your music, remember the cherished moments with you and connect with each other, as friends of friends become friends.
I trust your spirit, your soul and its musical expression will continue to inspire and connect them.
May your transformation transform us.
Paloma Villarreal and Maurits Mulder
It has been too short. We, Maurits, my love, and myself, first met Noah last winter, not that long ago. But sometimes, and not often, you find people you do not need to spend much time with to feel connected. That happened to me with Noah.
We had a laugh together. I barely remember what we talked about but whatever it was it was fun.
The first time we met it was at the Ambassadors lovely house in Madrid. Just one minute after we met and we were laughing.
I love his sense of humour and his curiosity for everything, he wowed about so many things. He was sensitive to beauty and open to new landscapes, new people, … and new ideas. He always wanted to know a little bit more of the new things I was able to share with him. He looked at the world with the eyes of the artist.
The only moment I did not see him in that wow attitude it was when he was on stage. There he converted into the professional musician he was, controlling everything and focused on delivering to the audience his best. But after the concert he relaxed again and was willing to share those moments with his friends signing his pictures, open and close to all of them.
‘The Lady with the Keys’… that’s how he called me. I called him ‘Noita’. Noah, Noita, a sweet way to express tenderness in my language.
The last song he was composing was ‘Paloma the Lady from Madrid’. And he could not finish it. I am a little bit angry with you because of that, Noah.
We have not had the possibility of sharing more time together but the time I spent with Noah is unforgettable.
Paloma Villarreal and Maurits Mulder