Sunday, January 16, 2005

I'm not sure what happened

Man it´s been wild. Friday was pretty sedate until the Suzano class. He gave a review of all the stuff we had studied and then some. He was just spewing forth info and I was right in front with my MD recorder running. I looked at him a couple of times and asked him to do variations and he just cut loose. The guy is immensely cool not to speak of immensely talented. The class rocked except for that same fat moron of who won´t stop playing. I´m no professional but my avice to anyone as a musician is to learn when not to play. If you´re not adding, you´re subtracting.

At the end, everyone got a little certificate and Suzano signed my pandeiro ``To Jacare`´. He actually remembered my name. The dude is really friendly. Goes out of his way to make evryone feel good.

After Suzano´s class I went to Bambas and played till about 1 Am when the cops came. Not sure what that was all about.

Saturday was a beautiful day and the feira on our street was in full swing. Every type of fruit and vegetable you can imagine and then some. All fresh from the farm and cheap. The fruit tastes different here. It´s not perfect. Has some bug bites. Tastes heavenly.

After that, there was `´Choro na Feira`` which is widely held to be the best choro roda in Rio. It happens every Saturday afternoon under a big grove of trees at the end of General Glicerio near Rua das Larangeiras. Fantastic. I said before that samba is not spoken in Austin. The same is not true of Choro. ANy of the crying monkeys could have played in this roda. Our guys in Austin compare very favorably to the guys here. I think that the choro fans here would be very impressed. My advice to Russ and Sergio is that you guys try to turn the lodge meeting into a roda in some outdoor place for summer. I think it would catch on big time.
After that it was time to prepare for Sarurday night. I mostly just lazed around and read for awhile, took and shower and headed out for samba. Dropped by the Amigos in Flamengo and it was pretty lame. So lame in fact the director was glad to see me and hurt when I left to go to Bambas.

At bambas, I had one of those transcendant musical moments. There was this guy about my age from Beija Flor (he had to hug me of course), ALex, the monster from Estacio and Sao Clemente, a third surdo and me. 3 caixas, one third. It was so locked that it sounded like a drum machine but breathing. It went on and on. Fantastic!!!. The quality of the bateria is very high. For some reason, all these great players from the bigger schools live around there and come down to the corner for Saturday night entertainment is they don´t have to go to the quadra.

Anyhow, after that went to Canarios and rocked until about 3 AM. Being in the bateria was like sticking your head in a jet engine. Man was it loud. Last night there seemed to be a lot of drunks around so many folks were playing through the breaks. It gets really tribal with these little balls of guys all getting togther and urging each other on. They forget to look at the director and play through the break. Needlees to say, this close to carnaval, that draws attention you really don´t want to have. One old guy in the directoria, was somehow convinced that I was part of the problem. He came and stood in front of me and watched me play for about a minute. He then smiled and gave me the thumbs up. Guess he decided not to humiliate me. Anyhow, it was really loud and then the Rei Momo and his queen showed up. All hell broke loose as they presented the flag. Conga lines broke out ( a sure sign that there were some gringo tourists present). It got wild. We played for about 2 hours without stopping just going from one samba to another. John Wheat would have been in heaven. Things kept getting louder and wilder until I finally decided that I had had enough fun for one day.

Today we Have rehearsal of the bloco, E do Pandeiro in Botafogo.

Tomorrow I go to the Morro of Vidigal(scene of a recent big gunfight between the police and drug dealers) to visit Davi dos Santos. I saw this kid grow up in Austin and now he lives here, sratches out a living and plays music. Look for his recording on the Brazilian Groove CD by Putamayo records.

Fui, j