Thursday, January 12, 2006

samba is heating up

12jan 06

Things are getting really good here. On the environmental front, the Brazilian Trifid called gigoga continues to wreak havoc. While trying to dodge it on a beach called Quebra Mar, swimmers noted a funny color in the water. There was rumor of toxic algae. The health department encouraged swimmers not to panic and came right out to do some tests. That's where the good news bad news begins. As it turns out, there were no toxic algae. The bad news is that the funny color was from raw sewage.

This whole raw sewage in the water thing kinda gives me the creeps.

Night before last I went to the Estacio technical rehearsal. They've redone their quadra and it's really nice. Also nice are the people in the area. They seem glad to have visitors. I immediately ran into about 6 or 8 guys I've known from other baterias. They took me over to a bar where I was introduced to the mestre and several other folks. I was made to feel completely at home.

The bateria of Estacio absolutely kicks!! The mester is very creative and very clear and the bateria well-rehearsed. The groove was heavy and tight.

Last night was round two at Sao Clemente technical rehearsal. The same group of friends were there and I fell right into it. Played my butt off for 3 hours. I'm guessing the tempo was in the 150 range, maybe a little faster. It was smoking. I can tell you that for sure. The guys in the bateria seemed to accept me without reservation and I had an absolute blast.

After it was over, the guys gave me a ride home. I have to tell you that this is what I have always dreamed of here. It has taken awhile to put together but it's finally happening for me, at least in this part of Rio.

In my opinion, the secret to being able to play and make friends here is in several things:

1. Learn to speak portuguese. Big door opener.

2. Learn to play caixa or maybe repenique. If you're from outside, you probably won't be playing surdo. Too much responsibility to give to an unknown.

3. Frequent blocos in your area. I met 100% of these guys in various blocos. It's much easier to play without pressure in the blocos and they get to see and hear you play. They will then vouch for you at the bigger schools. There is a lot of overlap in the baterias and before you know it, you'll know lots of people.

Anyhow, my right hand is swollen. I'm off to Suzano's class. j