Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Proletariat fan bases of the world unite!

I just found out about a New York based company called FanBridge that helps you manage your email & mobile lists and increase your fan base. They offer some interesting tools like analytics so you can find out who's opening your messages, who's clicking links, etc., and see who your most and least active fans are so you can tailor messages for them. You can also schedule text messages to be sent automatically to your fans to remind them of upcoming shows.

Plans start at $9/month, which lets you send up to 1,000 emails a month as well as unlimited texts. Though I personally won't be signing up right now since I'm only gigging once every two months or so, there's definitely a lot of great information on their site about growing your fan base as well as some good tips on their blog. Check it out!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Adriana Calcanhoto

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting a young Brazilian named Artur, who introduced me to the music of Adriana Calcanhoto. She happens to be from Porto Alegre, like Elis Regina. What do they do down there to get such nice voices?

Here is a video of her singing a Roberto Carlos song.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

California Brazil Camp 2008

This summer Miguel and I had the chance to immerse ourselves—I’m talking deep, Baptismal immersion—into the musical soul of Brazil. We didn’t go to Brazil, though. Actually, there’s no place like this anywhere in Brazil… or the world. Only in this very special campsite nestled in the shade of ancient Redwoods in Cazaderos, California. What is it? BRAZIL CAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I struggle to explain this mystical place. For someone who is as in love with Brazilian music and culture as I am, it was the next best thing (maybe even better than) going to Brazil. There are none of the illusion-crushing realities of Brazil’s social troubles—only beautiful Brazilian energy, the country’s best musicians as accessible as your favorite relatives, generous and patient in sharing their knowledge with anyone with the desire to learn. For the 200 or so American Brazilophiles who show up each week of camp, it’s like dying and going to heaven!

Imagine… you dance and play music from 8:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the morning! I never regretted more my body’s necessity for rest. Caixa rolls, tamborim accents, surdos keeping time… all day long these sounds blend with the wind and the birds. There were Choro ensembles led by the legendary Mike Marshall and Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro (below). Baterias for beginners and advanced players led by the likes of Jorge Alabe. Michael Spiro’s Bata Ketu class, which combined Afro-Cuban rhythms and Brazilian rhythms into a mind-blowing sonic shower of syncopation! My personal favorite was the Advanced Guitar ensemble with Chico Pinheiro (above right)… adjectives can’t even approach this guitarist from Sao Paulo who has played with everyone, including my musical heroine, Rosa Passos! At night, there were bonfires next to the jazz tent and underneath a trillion stars. It was hard to pull yourself away to check out the pagode jam sessions, where there was dancing and Bola was inevitably cooking delicious barbequed meat and vegetables.

Ja sinto MUITAS saudades do Brazil Camp! Geral tem que ir em 2009!!!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Banda Larga and Bandinha

Gilberto Gil is beautiful! One of Brazil’s great songwriters and cultural icons, macrobiotic, yogi, poet, revolutionary imprisoned and exiled under the military dictatorship in the ‘70s… Now he is cultural minister within Lula’s very progressive, inspired administration. To meet him in person was a privilege beyond measure!

Ann Arbor, MI was the first stop on Gil’s US tour with his group Banda Larga (or, “Broadband”). His flight from Spain was delayed, and so he showed up at the Ann Arbor public library about half an hour into the panel discussion on digital technology and new paradigms for intellectual copyright (or “copyleft”). Gil says that laws that should exist to facilitate artist compensation are too often focused primarily on stifling the free exchange of content among fans. He's a strong advocate of Creative Commons, a nonprofit that provides new copyright language that millions of artists are using to register their works with some (as opposed to “all”) rights reserved.

Listening to Gil’s “digital age” concert in Michigan and the next day in Chicago, I started to draw a Tiny Band/Banda Larga connection.  Tiny Band wouldn’t exist without the internet… great sites like Loronix and Um Que Tenha have provided an endless supply of musical material for our repertoire. When I think of how quickly we’ve developed this musicality in Brazilian styles, I can’t help but be amazed. Never in history was it possible that music-lovers a hemisphere away could delve so deeply into the musical heritage of another culture… without even leaving home!

Then I think of Youtube. Mercedes was the first to make her mark there, and by now we’ve all done our share of performing for the icam. How many transglobal musical collaborations have resulted, with people we’ve never even met in person!

In my mind, the warm, inviting nature of Brazilian musical culture in general, speaks to a universal impulse towards meaningful human connection. Tiny Band is part of the cultural force of artists that are humanizing technology through spontaneous transmission of our musical values—fun, inclusiveness, genre-bending, sharing. And in this age, where differences can be divisive, and technology can isolate us, that's pretty cool.

Brazilian music, more than any other music I know of, lends itself to an interplay that satisfies insiders AND outsiders (i.e. those who know the repertoire and those who don’t, those who play instruments and those who don’t, virtuosic musicians and beginners). If Tiny Band ever manufactured a tchotsky, I'd make it an egg shaker. A symbol of musical inclusiveness, it's the most immediate way for non-musicians to begin to participate and feel the rhythms of this music. Then everyone could join Tiny Band!

By the way, I have a new website. Check it out!!!!! It has some of my original music for free download. Licensed through Creative Commons, of course!

Here are some additional links to check out:

Gilberto Gil Hears the Future, Some Rights Reserved (NY Times)

From Legal Commons to Social Commons: Brazil and the Cultural Industry in the 21st Century


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Marylee met Gilberto Gil!!!  Holy shit, right?!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another good one...

I recently watched this excellent DVD series on Brazilian history and culture, featuring Chico Buarque and Tom Ze, among others. It's based on the book by one of Brazil's preeminent intellectuals, Darcy Ribeiro, which took his whole life to complete, and which he finished just before his death about 10 years ago. Am reading the book now... it's delicious! The book and DVD explore all regions of Brazil and the indio-afro-euro-gringo cultural mash-ups that are uniquely Brazilian... often rooted in tragedy, but always persevering and adapting. He says Brazil's greatest asset is cultural... how much the rest of the world has to learn from Brazil about embracing cultural diversity. But we knew that...

Monday, May 12, 2008


This is the funniest thing I've seen all year.  Courtesy of Tiny Band's pal Elizabeth.