Deanna no Brasil (Deanna in Brazil): Part 2 of 3.

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.

With bassist Alexandre Vieira after the UFBA workshop.

•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.

With Hamilton de Holanda.


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Deanna no Brasil: The first three weeks!

Greetings from Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil! 

As I write in my beachfront studio, I am looking out on water, sand, sky, clouds, and five Brazilian boys who are doing flips on the beach! It is a little strange sometimes to realize that people on the beach and in the water can see me inside the studio…but seeing boats and horses go by in the water is pretty cool.

(In case you missed it, I’m here until early June doing research for my Nossa Senhora Suite, which you can read about- and contribute to- HERE)!

View from the keyboard in my studio.

Today marks exactly three weeks since I arrived here in Itaparica. It takes a good two hours to get into Salvador, the main city, because it’s necessary to take a taxi or van to get to a lancha (small passenger boat) or a larger ferry boat to board to cross the bay. Sometimes the lancha doesn’t run when the tide is too low or when the water is too turbulent. I’ve gotten accustomed to breathing deeply when the waves are choppy.

One of the passenger boats that crosses the bay between Itaparica and Salvador.

Even with the long trek, I’ve gotten into the city five times so far. The first time was to hear Gilberto Gil and Letieres Leite’s Orquestra Rumpilezz at the Teatro Castro Alves. This was the highlight of my trip thus far. The next weekend, I sat in at a jam session at the Museum of Modern Art, known as Jam no MAM. The last time I sat in here was eight years ago! During the entire session, dancers next to the stage interpret the music with movement! Marcelo Thomaz from Sacatar shot a video with clips of me playing, which you can see HERE.


Click to watch video of Deanna playing at Jam no MAM in Salvador, Bahia.

Last night I went to a candomblé ceremony in Misericórdia, the next town over from Itaparica. I was told that usually photos or videos aren’t allowed, so I didn’t bring my recorder. However, after arriving, I was told that photos were OK- in fact, someone was filming the entire ceremony (see photos below). I plan on incorporating some candomblé rhythms into part of the Nossa Senhora Suite, at least in the movement for Iemanjá, the orixá of the seas. Continue reading

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Deanna in Bahia, Brazil!

Happy Easter, Passover, and spring!

In exactly one week, I’ll be flying to Brazil to spend eight weeks at the Sacatar Institute in Itaparica, Bahia. I’ve been preparing for this trip for months and it’s finally almost here.  And I’ve had the idea for my new Brazilian project, the Nossa Senhora Suite, for over ten years! My time in Bahia will be spent in visiting churches and candomblé terreiros and in meeting with women who are devotees of Nossa Senhora or Iemanjá.

If some of these words are unfamiliar to you- and they probably are- visit my New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) page to learn what they mean.

At Sacatar, I’ll be in community with five other selected artists from Brazil, the Sudan, the UK, and the US. Their disciplines include literature, performance art, video/photography, and visual art. Read a press release about the 2018 Sacatar Residency Fellows here.

There are two ways that you can support me in the beginnings of my Nossa Senhora Suite adventure. One is to simply follow- and share- my blog, where I’ll post photos and updates of my Brazil trip. The other is to make a tax-deductible contribution through NYFA to help me cover the upcoming costs of paying musicians for rehearsals, recording, and releasing the Nossa Senhora Suite as my seventh album. While this is a long-term project, there is also a long-term plan: the suite will be premiered in 2019 in NYC at Union Theological Seminary’s James Chapel, with an anticipated album release date of 2020.

I’ve received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to actually pay myself for the time I spend composing the music (which will begin to happen while I’m in Brazil). Your contribution will help me to continue the project after I return home in June. For different monetary amounts, you can receive various perks (see the buttons below), ranging from pre-orders of the album to having me compose an original song for you! Learn more about the Nossa Senhora Suite here at my NYFA page.


$12: Digital download of the Nossa Senhora Suite 


$25: Pre-order a signed Nossa Senhora Suite CD 

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