Bom dia (good morning)!
This is my second post from Bahia, Brazil, where I’ve been living since the beginning of April. I have one week left in my residency at the Sacatar Institute on the island of Itaparica, followed by one week in São Paulo, before I head back to New York.
Here are a few highlights from weeks four through eight:
•Giving a workshop at UFBA (Universidade Federal da Bahia) with forty students in attendance on a day when bus strikes and gasoline shortages were still in effect. And playing on a grand piano for the first time in my entire trip.
•Attending two duo shows with João Bosco and Hamilton de Holanda in their project, Eu Vou pro´Samba after standing in line for three and a half hours at 5:45 in the morning to get a ticket.
•Meeting pianist Teca Gondim and flutist Tota Portela and staying in their home (and eating vegan food!).
•Attending a two-hour Chico Buarque concert at Teatro Castro Alves.
Here are a couple of things that I would not like to repeat on future trips:
•Traveling from Salvador to Itaparica on a lancha (small passenger boat) where the water was so choppy and the boat was swaying so much for thirty minutes straight that people started putting on life preservers. Having to close my eyes and listen to Elis Regina’s Essa Mulher for the whole trip to calm myself as much as one can when one is gripping their bench and water is coming onto the boat.
•Stepping barefoot in land turtle poop.
•Being in a country that is having a drivers’ strike (buses, trucks, oil tankers) and massively inflated prices on gasoline so that travel is becoming very difficult for many.
I’ll be spending some time “gathering the graces” of the trip after I’m back home and will write more then. For now, I still have two weeks left: one here in Bahia, and one in São Paulo.
While in São Paulo, I’ll give a workshop for pianists on arranging and improvising with hymn tunes on June 9. Register here or by clicking on the photo below.
June 15: Choral premiere of “Oração da Viajante (The Traveler’s Prayer)” at PREMIERE|Project Festival in Newport Beach, CA
One day after I get home, I’ll fly to Newport Beach, California as one of seven composition fellows in the PREMIERE|Project Festival sponsored by Choral Arts Initiative (CAI). On Friday, June 15, CAI will premiere seven pieces (one from each of the fellows) at a public concert (purchase tickets here!).
In the last two weeks, I wrote the lyrics and music for a new choral piece, “Oração da Viajante,” that will be premiered on the concert. The words came out of my research observing how Mary/María/Our Lady/Nossa Senhora is venerated in Brazil, and my personal experience of traveling. Here is the beginning of the text in Portuguese with its English translation:
O Mãe querida, cheia de graça,
O blessed Mother, full of grace,
ajude esta viajante
help this traveler
quem, como você, é estrangeira longe do seu país.
who, like you, is a foreigner far from her country.
If you’d like to read the rest of the poem, send me an email to sign up for my monthly e-news, and I’ll forward my latest newsletter with the full text.
Stay tuned for another Brazil blog post next month (with more photos, since wifi should work well enough in NYC to upload pics from my phone!).