Sexta – feira da simpaticona!

Music, Personal

Sexta-feira, or ‘Sex’ as an abbreviation, means the 6th day of the week, Friday it is in Portuguese. I remember the confusion this word caused to my visitors when I was living in Portugal and they saw the ‘S’ word popping all of a sudden in the newspapers or TV weather programmes… This original name means that it is the sixth (sexta) day of a trade (feira), after the Jewish Sabbath (sabado). Actually from Monday till Friday the names of the week are referred in numbers, starting from Segunda-feira. To shorten this long description, on a daily basis you can rather hear/see in a spoken/written Portuguese: 2a – Monday, 3a – Tuesday, 4a – Wednesday, 5a – Thursday and 6a – Friday).

Anyway, hoje é sexta-feira de manhã, and I am preparing my short getaway to Ibiza to meet my lovely friends there. Looking forward not only to some entertainment, but also to reconnecting with nature and spending time at glorious beaches in the less-touristic parts of the island. This is why I keep listening this Jobim’s my all-time jazzy/bossanova/psychedelic fave about the beauty of Brazilian sertão, endangered nature and indigenous people.

However, as it is Friday in August 2014, I just cannot post this year’s revelation to Brazilian dancefloors, a funny track describing extremely nice type of a person at the party, aka simpaticona da boate. Basically, whatever you ask, simpaticona will give you!

Find below the original version (might be ‘too much’ imo) and intriguing DJ Marky’s remix.

Happy weekend (fds – fim de semana) is about to commence!

Wiki:

Sexta – feira (abbreviation ‘Sex’) – Friday

Hoje é sexta-feira de manhã – today is the Friday morning (lyrics taken from Jobim’s ‘Borzeguim’)

Sertão – rural inland area of Brazil

Simpaticona – (extremely) nice person

Boate – (Brazilian) party

Água de beber

Music, Travel

Yes, this post is dedicated to water, and the bossanova classic. But as a matter of fact, it is mostly about Brasilia, the capital of Brazil where I lived for a couple of months.

It was there where I learn for the first time, quite strikingly, how important is to water yourself properly. This fascinating yet quirky capital built in 1960s in the middle of planalto is famous for two remarkable seasons (and two mejor neighbourhoods only, anyway – shaped as wings of a plane). The humid one starts sometime in October and lasts until April and meanwhile, the word ‘chuva‘ disappears from the BSB vocab. Residents claim that even though the showers may be abrupt and heavy, this is when their city springs with the sheer beauty. I did not have a chance to see it though. Arrived in the beginning of July, thinking in terms of the European standard four seasons, I could not expect the winter to be represented by constant sunlight, 34 Celsius degrees and humidity dropping down sometimes below 15%. During my first days I realised it is not an exaggeration that one have to carry a bottle of water 24/7. I also discovered some of my faves: Água de coco, the coconut water which I misspelled awkwardly at the beginning, to my Brazilian friends’ amusement (see Wiki).

Fair enough, the cheerful bossanova classic had to come to my mind. Comparing love to water may not be so original, but is very sensual and is somewhat typical for various MPB artists. Surely tbc in some other occasion.

Wiki:

Água de beber – water to drink, a title of the bossanova classic written by Tom Jobim and sung by Astrud Gilberto

BSB – abbreviation for Brasilia

chuva – rain

coco – coconut

cocô – shit (yes, if you put an accent on the second ‘o’ when asking for the coconut water, you will make Brazilians laugh a lot)

planalto – plateau

Avenida Paulista

São Paulo Confessions

Music, Travel

A city which never sleeps and which could easily be a self-sufficient country itself with over 20 millions of residents and participation in about of 40% of the Brazilian GDP. A centre of the world for many, and the most important business location in LATAM. Love it and hate it at the same time, São Paulo has gained its fame as the ‘true capital’, where the most important economic and cultural events and processes take place and is literally bustling with the multicultural spirit. It is much different from what one would expect from a typical Brazilian postcard. Rather, one can expect anything and be sure this city will not leave you cold. From almost 2 million Japanese neighbourhood, making it the largest community outside of Japan, through exciting clubs and bars, to last remains of nature hidden somewhere in the concrete jungle (like Ibirapuera Park, for instance). Also, contrary to fantastically boring sunny climate typical for the most part of the coastline part of Brazil, São Paulo has a very changing weather and seeing the sun through the smog and skyscrapers may not be so easy.

The is no better LP which would illustrate the all-time changing urban soundscape of SP, recorded by the late Serbian-origin producer Suba – São Paulo Confessions. This producer came back in the late 80s and got sucked in by the city and the Brazilian culture. Tracks like ‘Samba do Gringo Paulista’ or ‘Tantos Desejos’ became electronic music classics and great material for remixes.

It is difficult to get to know Sampa within a few days, and I regret not having had more time to explore it. It literally takes hours to travel from one part of the city to another, not to mention commuting between the airports which are based in three very distant locations. However, it seems that neither a majority of residents of SP are not familiar with their city, spinning in a wheel of the crazy drive. Blinded by the lights on the famous Avenida Paulista, the urban excitement leads to artsy Vila Madalena and on and on… Getting out of the stimulating SP state of mind may be equally challenging.

Sambaloco – on the joyful side of drum’n’bass

Music, Travel

This time I would like to focus on the meaning that Brazilian artists had on the evolution of the drum and bass style. The discovery of the Brazilian d’n’b in my case coincided with the first clubbing experiences sometime around 2001. Based in the city half-way between Berlin and Warsaw, I remember these days were quite inspirational. There was an interesting drum’n’bass movement in the Polish capital, before the clubbing scene went mostly handbag, and it inspired some smaller cities like Poznań to create various underground places in the Old Town. It was also the year of releasing a very influential mix: DJ Marky’s Brazilian Job. I bet I heard it for the first time in the legendary Radiostacja alternative radio programme, in the late-night show ‘Drum and bass cały czas’ and it knocked me literally off my feet!

DJ Marky is already a living legend of the Brazilian electronic music, together with DJ Patife, Drumagick, and on a lighter note: Kaleidoscopio, to name very few who added an important value to what has already been discovered in the UK. The title of the post comes from a remarkable compilation which gave to the world some of the all-time relevant anthems like Fernanda Porto’s ‘Sambassim’ or ‘So Tinha de Ser com Voce’ remixes.

They firstly revolutionized the scene throughout Brazil, starting off in Sampa (aka SP, Sao Paulo), and later on in the UK (with DJ Marky’s residence at The End and recently in Fabric London). In the first decade of the 2000s Brazilian d’n’b became truly an exportation good.

Even if nowadays d’n’b became just a marginalised part of the ‘bass’ music, I still admire the unique style of combining the Brazilian classics with the energetic beats. The Brazilian d’n’b golden age was so powerful as if the music was to describe the high hopes spirits of those years. This spirit I found nowhere else, but in the North-Eastern region of the country, contrary to the statistics. Most of the cities in the region are still struggling with violence, uncontrolled urbanization processes and poverty, but each year the conditions are improving thanks to the economic development and the politics introduced in the era of the President Lula da Silva. To me, Brazilian d’n’b pictures the changes in the North-Eastern region, with some of the most impressive beaches, cuisine and weather for surfers on Earth, approximately 365 days of sun and wind per year and still, with some striking poverty and inequalities. In my humble opinion, Brazilian d’n’b, full of energy, yes-we-can attitude and creativity, should become a national musical product to share and promote the country, to top up with samba and bossanova.

Dando tempo, dando um jeito

Music, Personal, Travel

After giving this idea some time, some shape – there it is, a project of describing my personal journey through the soundscapes : sounds and landscapes from the Portuguese-speaking countries. A project derived from years of collecting memories and experiences of living and travelling in Portugal and Brazil, mixed with saudade –  impossible to translate state of longing to distant places and faces. Inspired by the people met on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean who helped me to realise that Portuguese is not only another language I speak, but also a state of mind closest to my heart/soul, balancing  somewhere between euphoria and melancholia.

When did it all start? I cannot trace back my first memories, but probably back in the day, it was Walter Salles movies, followed by Wim Wender’s ‘Lisbon Story’ when I became only curious about Portuguese language – both its version from Portugal, as from Brazil. First one having very Eastern European-like pronounciation, and the second one sounding like its lazy and soft family member.
Then, when I was 15, I tried free capoeira workshops in a modern dance summer school and fell in love with these sounds for good. I gave up the physical aspect of it after some months not being able to defend myself properly in roda against more flexible members but the curiosity to understand the Afrobrasilian culture was stronger than my muscles. I learned by heart our fighting chants and tried to find translations and learn my DIY Portuguese.
At the same time my musical gurus: Jazzanova, Gilles Peterson, Rainer Truby and 4 Hero, to name a few, presented various compilations with Brazilian 60s and 70s music and their creative remixes. At that time travelling, even to Portugal, was still quite a snobbish idea in Poland with no cheap airlines and no-Schengen. My curiosity even lead me to a crazy idea to pass the Baccalaureate from Portuguese as a foreign language, but no high school offered such classes at that time (!).

I had to wait until 2007 when I was admitted for the Erasmus exchange programme and when I passed my first summer in Portugal in the rural part of Beira Alta as a volunteer in the archaeological Roman village. Since then I decided to learn Portuguese for real and thanks to my first teacher, Dr Sylwia, who gratefully agreed to my participation in the classes for Spanish Philology students during the following 2 years. I have to acknowledge that it gave me a possibility to learn all the grammatical bases and meet, still in Poznan, equally interesting, future linguists and travelers! (Yes, I do hope you will read it).

Since 2009 I have been travelling and living abroad, in Portugal and Brazil included. Although nowadays I am based in Barcelona, I have to admit that my pursuit for the Portuguese sound has broadened my horizons towards the Westbound world and marked visibly my Southern personality. I truly believe in the future of the South-West direction not only in terms of the economic potential, but also cultural and social heritage, still unknown in the EU and the US.

The idea of this blog is very personal and subjective, as is for the most of the blogs (not?). I am not a linguistic specialist, nor a musical guru, even if there are a few who claim so, but I am passionate about those two topics and I would like to invite you for a journey through sounds and stories from the Lusofonia. I would like to say thanks to my inspirational and supportive friends, always eager to ask about my Lusoexperience, to listen to Lusomusic at and eventually, strongly encouraging me to create Lusofonetica where I could create my notebook to share.

I will try to translate the Portuguese meanings at the bottom of the posts, but if some meanings will remain unclear, I strongly invite you to ask. As well as to participate, comment, and criticize in this Lusospace!
To illustrate my concept, I attach you the recording from Elis Regina’s ‘Meio de campo’, where she describes humbly the creative process, without pretending to be the master of masters:

Prezado amigo Afonsinho
Eu continuo aqui mesmo
Aperfeiçoando o imperfeito
Dando tempo, dando um jeito
Desprezando a perfeição
Que a perfeição é uma meta
Defendida pelo goleiro
Que joga na seleção
E eu não sou Pelé, nem nada
Se muito for eu sou um Tostão
Fazer um gol nesta partida não é fácil, meu irmão
Entrou de bola, e tudo!

Lusofonetica, a soundscape from the joyful to the melancholic, or as we would rather say in Portuguese, entre alegria e saudade.

Wiki:

Lusofonia – a Portuguese noun to describe the Portuguese-speaking countries and territories

fonetica – phonetics

jeito – manner, way

saudade – longing, yearning

meio de campo – in the middle of the field

roda – ring, circle of people

capoeira – is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and is sometimes referred to as a game