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!!!!!



art2liv4 said...

I bet there were people from Eugene there; we've got 3 or 4 Brazilian music bands, including a large batucada, Samba Ja. Shelley Winship (a founding mother of Accordions Anonymous)was a member of Samba Ja before she moved to New Mexico, and also spoke of the camp as magical. I'm glad you went!

Ico Oliveira said...

I just wanted to say that, if there's such love to brazilian culture and also music the so called "illusion-crushing realities" wouldn't be a problem.. it's part of who we are and what formed our culture. The Bossa Nove may have come from a somewhat high level elite, but samba, choro and almost all other brazilian music styles came from the people who made the country what it is now.

With downsides and cons of course, but beautiful in nature, people and culture.

To sum it up, I just want to say that, if you really like brazilian culture and music there won't ever be antything near to actually comming here and listen the music from the core, the heart.

Brazil Camp might be great, but still, it's not Brazil.

PS: This may sound like a rant, but I admire you a lot.

Anonymous said...

Well, first of all, congratulations! You do very good brazilian music... I know there´s some people over the world who like Brazil, but I´ve never got in touch with such efforts, like musicians sites, records, etc... It´s good for us to see we can globalize our beautiful contry, the people´s poetry within samba, bossa nova...

Well, about what Oliveira said above, I agree with him... It´s part of the culture of a country, and, of course, of it´s music, the way people live, specially the poor people, wich is the large majority in Brazil and I think that´s the same everywhere. That´s the real Brazil, and only if you get to know it, you´ll see brazilian music, literature, language, vistual arts in its deep true meaning.

But... well, we cannot be daydreammers... there´s a lot of urban violence in brazil. It doesn´t happens everywhere and everytime, but yes it happens. In this background, the foreigner is almost defenceless. I myself was robbed twice here in my city, and it happens to a lot of people. Poverty is also spread out through the streets of our biggest cities, and all of them have "favelas".

It´s real Brazil, but it doesn´t mean it isn´t shocking. It´s shocking for us, brazilians. It might be even more shocking to the "gringos" who love our culture.

So Brazil Camp is not Brasil. But I imagine what a beautiful atmosphere to be in contact with great brazilian musicians, magical moments reality cannot offer.

オテモヤン said...


Anonymous said...

parabens pelo blog... Adoro ouvir extrangeiros cantando musica brasileira. Parece sentir a nossa alegria. Vocês são d+.