June 17, 2012
I wake up early and take a walk on one of the farm trails, and then play bandolim on my own front porch, enjoying the solitude. Paulo arrives to take me to his new house for a visit with his family. They are in the middle of renovations, but seem happy to be relocated. M., the oldest daughter, is taking her college entrance exams today, so I’ll miss her, but it’s great to see Patricia and the 3 younger children, including the newest, C., an adorable 1 1/2, who I meet for the first time. Wary at first, she soon is won over by peek-a-boo, and has fun pulling things out of my backpack. All too soon I am back on the bus to Rio, as I am playing in the Forte Copacabana roda, and it is an important one, for the “Rio +20,” the international sustainable development congress, so titled because it’s 20 years since the first congress, also held in Rio in 1992. Hilary will be attending, along with the new French president and the head of the UN. I take a taxi right from the bus station to the Forte, and as we approach there is a huge line to get in, and police barricades to keep traffic out. My ebullient taxista rolls down the window and shouts that he has a musician who is playing at the Forte, and so he gets to let me off close to the gate. We’re performing outdoors to a big crowd, and it is fun night of music. I’m in the empty seat 3rd from the right between Romulo and Charles, a new Canadian flutist friend. Afterwards we all go for pizza and beer and there ensues a 3-hour animated discussion about what is wrong with the roda (sound system, lack of organization) how to fix it, whether to move elsewhere. I’d forgotten how intense Brazilian conversation is– when I was first here I thought everyone was fighting, but I jump in every so often to make a comment, because I think this roda is culturally important and I don’t want it to disband. Somewhere after midnight we hug and head off in various directions, and Charles offers me a ride home. He’s doing his Master’s thesis on the politics of the roda, so this was a night of field research for him. He is interested in my experiences here and the articles on my webpage and will interview me at some point for my perspective. It’s late as I climb the 3 flights of stairs, back in Urca again.