Suddenly my life had taken the turn to adventure. I didn’t even have
a Passport! The only places outside of the Mainland States that I had
ventured to were Hawaii and Alaska.
Loved Hawaii and could Live there, but Alaska? only wanted to visit.
My time was now laid out… I had 6 weeks to get my act together,
before I left for Rio for a month.
He had set the deadline as February 14th… his Birthday…and so
it was ordained.
I had things to pack and put in storage, for I was staying with one
of my daughters at the time, the one who had secured my ticket….
I had to ensure that my animals were safe and loved for the time,
the Passport App was mailed, and I began making money in earnest.
I am an artist, and have always been fond of a Bohemian life, living
day to day and on Trust. It has always worked, although there are
drawbacks, to be sure. Still, my freedom has always come first!
I was happy to learn that US dollars were doubled in Brasil, so that
made everything seem a little easier!
As I was impatiently awaiting the leave, while simultaneously and
quietly freaking out, I continued my ongoing studies of Brasil.
Through the past nearly 20 years since I first met Alcir, the Music has
largely been my passport to the culture, and it allowed me to share in
much of the passion, concern, and vibrations if you will, of Brasil,
and particularly Rio.
I settled on Jobim as my groundwater. The Carioca accent, the deep
warm voice, full of passionate joy and melancholic nuance.
He was the one to bring Brasil to the US, and his melodies are almost
cliche now…. but no, never trite.
It’s odd, because still a lot of Americans (and I hesitate using that
misnomer, as Alcir would laugh his deep and heartful laugh and
remind me…. “don’ call them Americans! We’re American too!!) …
A lot of the US knows the songs if you hum them, but have no idea
of who he is. They still play “Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars”,
“Meditation”, and of course “Girl from Ipanema” as background…!
As soon as it gets romantic or sexy seductive in a film, here comes
one of the familiars, and I’ve often heard them in the supermarket
(the elevator equivalent these days).
So…. since 1985 it’s been my mission to know just what Brasil was
about, hear the language, feel the voices, and get into the mindset.
Beyond that, it was that incredible Guanabara Bay, with Pao d’Azucar,
the islands, the views of Rio with the Concrete Christ, arms spread
and embracing that dear, ancient city, that mesmerized me.
The populace is as varied as the US in some ways… a mixture of the
Indigenous, the conquering Portuguese, and the Africans they brought
in as slaves. Fascinating mixtures that creates this race of people
where each face is completely different from the next.
I was intriqued to see that one or the other had lead in the genetic
makeup, with nuance of the others in the back-ground. Because I’d
lived in Hawaii and saw the same phenomenon, this only continued
the anthropological studies I had begun long ago.
The Indigenous contributed their fierce, wild, free spirit, along with
wonderful instruments and sounds that had worked their way into the
fusion jazz of today…. an area where Brasil excelled with their contribution.
Many of their sounds mimic and include the forest of their origin.
African rhythms are the basis of much that comes out of Brasil, and
the influence in new Jazz directions is obvious. As well, as in many
other Latin countries, the Africans brought their ancient religion,
there called Macumba and Candomble, as well as Capoeira, the
martial arts practice that will blow your mind!
And lastly, there are the many representatives of so many other
countries who have moved there, run away there, or just somehow
found themselves there… particularly the Japanese and the Germans.
Interestingly enough to me, Everyone speaks Portuguese, which
must be a very unifying happenstance. But it always provided a
little laugh for me, to see blue eyed Arians and Japanese speaking
Portuguese, and likely with their own accents.
And then the Portuguese.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve felt that they are the Gypsies, the ones
who were out there so many centuries ago, meeting, mixing, mating
and gathering other cultures. They seem to have brought back many
subtle flavors to mix in, along with the Latin soul and Catholic
mythology that is still so prevalent today.
And I must add here that it has been my experience that the
Portuguese have a superiority complex, and I was to know that
better as I truly met the Real Alcir.
So there I was. Filling my senses with as much of Brasil that I could.
Learning some Portuguese, understanding the Carioca accent and
style, (Rio has it’s own regional dialect)… and realizing Rio was
Ancient in so many ways, and with so much history, and learning
more and more about Alcir, and who he Really was, and had become.