Celebrating a Year

Archive for the ‘April’ Category

April 30, 2018

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Our stay in Rio, sadly, is approaching its end. Impossible to fit in everything in a mere two weeks, but today entwines us in some lovely parting events. We walk to meet Marcilio for lunch, trying to find yet another elusive used-CD store on our way, that turns out, inexplicably, to merely sell hardware. But though the fates thwart us, they bestow another blessing on our walk, as Paul calls ahead to me as I charge toward the restaurant, “Isn’t that Guinga?” I turn, and sure enough, it is. The brilliant composer/performer, one of our heroes, is just stopped on the street adjusting his earbuds, that he graciously removes and we exchange greetings. P. asks permission and takes my photo with the maestro, but I am too starstruck to think to return the favor. Check out some of his music here. We arrive at the restaurant happy and are soon drinking cerveza, eating great food, and swapping books, stories, and laughs with Marcilio, a fabulous bandolimist, arranger, and friend. We linger, knowing we won’t be together again for awhile, and happy just to be sitting here outdoors on this sunny afternoon. We finally say good-bye, and P. and I return home, emerging in the evening go to play in our final roda of the trip. I have played with this group a couple of times before, and this is one of the few unamplified rodas I know of here. It’s a relief to hear the instruments rather than the electronics, and although many of the usual players are missing (probably because tomorrow’s holiday gives a chance for a 4-day sunny week-end) the casual gathering yields some nice musical moments.

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May 1, 2018 at 3:36 pm

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April 29, 2018

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We get up early and take the bus and metro to the Sao Salvador roda, as we have promised the leader, Ana, we would. She has a copy of the 10-year-anniversary DVD compilation for me, and I wonder if ‘i might, per chance, be on it. We play tune after tune, and P. kindly snaps my photo as I get a chance to take the lead. My new little amp does a fine job, making me glad I traded in my old heavier one. We play for about 2 hours and then stop to enjoy a caipirinha with my friend Mariana, who meets there with her new boyfriend. This trip to Rio has been too short and too full of music, to fit in all my favorite traditions, and we couldn’t find a mutually free time for our chi-chi lunch catch-up, so we settle for a stand-up hour, happy to see all goes well for us both. P. gets a nice surprise when one of our now-favorite music vendors shows up with a 1977 LP of a favorite choro group for sale.Our collection of music-for-later continues to grow.

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May 1, 2018 at 3:10 pm

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April 28, 2018

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It’s music start-to-finish today. In the morning we head to Urca to visit the Escola Portatil da Musica, and watch their large student/faculty bandão, that P. has never heard, perform. We arrive early and observe a teaching roda in action for awhile. Students offer their melodies, or support those of their teachers, all playing by heart or by ear. Rather than wait an hour for bandão to start, we stroll to the nearby Praia Vermelha and grab some beach-food for lunch. When we return, bandão is just starting and P. is suitably impressed by the complexity of the arrangements and the quality of their playing. Afterwards I say hello to teachers from years past, and friends and former fellow-students, most now become professional musicians and teachers themselves. Things change alot in a decade, but happily these friendships don’t. In the afternoon, Romulo has arranged a party-roda in our honor with other friends and musicians I know well, ones whose paths we have not yet crossed on this trip. The music and the craft-brewed beer are good, as is the company, and we play and laugh and enjoy being together far into the night. It is great to have, in this city I truly love, so many circles of friends and music, who always welcome me back whenever I can arrange to return.

.

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May 1, 2018 at 2:56 pm

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April 27, 2018

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I need to see the ocean today. It is so beautiful here, but we have been preoccupied inland with music and other pursuits. So we head to Ipanema for lunch, and discover Tom Jobim strolling along the sea with his guitar. A visit to a bossa nova bookstore, a cerveza watching the waves at Copacabana, these are some of the missing pieces of the Rio puzzle that live in my memory always.

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May 1, 2018 at 2:23 pm

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April 26, 2018

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A pilgrimage of sorts today, as we take flowers to the grave of the Brazilian guitarist Raphael Rabello, on the 23rd anniversary of his tragic early death. Armed merely with a vague idea of where to go, we manage somehow to get a number for his plot, and a map that shows us approximately where to find it. However, since this is Brazil, the sections of the huge graveyard are not square, the numbers are not in order, and many of the names and numbers on gravestones have succumbed to the elements, leaving them unmarked. But we persevere, and finally P. discovers the spot. There is no name, no dates, but still his photo remains marking the marble tomb. I am glad to notice Cristo in the distance keeping watch. We leave flowers and pause for a few minutes to think of all he was, and all his music still is. And in the evening we go to hear a cool concert of Brazilian music at Casa do Choro, the institution his sister, Luciana Rabello, helped to found.

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May 1, 2018 at 2:16 pm

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week 498 ~ when the end is reached how are you to know

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when the end is reached how are you to know
that the obstacles are too great to move
ahead when do you finally admit you’ve
played your last card there’s nowhere left to go
how do you pack up heartbreak in a box
set it on a shelf walk into the arms
of disappointment once again alarms
sound but you carefully reset the locks
on the door of who you are so no one
can get past life’s once-breached defense system
no matter what intrigue accompanies them
your days of living dangerously are done
wrap self-pity in its cloak of darkness
walk away drop a match and torch the mess

 

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May 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm

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April 25, 2018

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I spend a quiet afternoon at the beautiful and shady Parque Lage, discovered during my Rio sojourn last year. The stately home and grounds, now a park open to the public free of charge, soothe the soul sitting in the shade of imperial palm trees. There’s even a storybook tower to wander past. Here and there groups of people are setting up for photo shoots. An engaged couple pose for portraits and videos– walking toward each other for a spontaneous kiss over and over to capture the “candid” moment. A pre-teen girl poses in different fashion outfits, dramatically staged– and I wonder if she is a child model. Leaf-cutting ants by the hundreds carry their bits of green along the crevices between stones as they cross the path with their booty, and I take a film to show my grandboy D, a lad intrigued by nature. On the way home I pass the name “Marielle” scratched into the park wall– a tribute to the young politician who represented hope for those in the impoverished favelas, sadly murdered a few weeks ago. In the evening I sit on our tiny balcony with a caipirinha, thinking about many things.

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May 1, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Posted in April