Oi galera! Hi everyone! I’m in São Paulo for a couple of weeks, staying on the border of the Pinheiros and Vila Madelena neighborhoods. In one direction you have gated mansions and in the other it’s vibrantly bohemian, bursting with street art and homespun enterprises, and an absurd array of restaurants of all cuisines. Like Rio, it’s hilly, but the energy and atmosphere is very different, perhaps because there is no beach! and also because as a commercial center there is a greater international influence.
I played a nice choro gig at the invitation of the wonderful Trio Capitu, at JazzB. Besides that, I came with no agenda except to get to know some of the city and its culture.
Every concert I went to was high quality—too many to mention—but two outstanding ones were Alexandre Ribeiro and Swami Jr playing choro and originals at the SESC Ipiranga, and Yaniel Mato’s Mani Padme trio jazz originals and improvising in a profoundly connected way at the gorgeous Casa de Francisco. Those were both in the same night and involved a complicated choreography of Metrô, Uber, and getting lost on foot in a rather dangerous part of the Centro, where some months ago a lot of unlucky people and crack addicts were evicted from their living quarters and have taken to the streets. My friend (and accomplished clarinetist) Bia Stutz and I have had plenty of experience together getting lost in foreign cities (Munich, for instance) and with the help of a few friendly bar owners closing up shop, tudo deu certo. Then I discovered my new favorite cachaça (ironically with a German name, which indicates it’s from the south of Brazil): Weber Haus organic, aged (envelhecida) in barrels of amburana wood. It was the perfect chave de ouro on a lovely evening of music and friendship.
Other wonderful things that have happened:
A concert and vegetarian risotto both prepared by 7-string guitarist and composer Anderson Chizzolini, who lives in the interior of São Paulo and was invited by a community of artists including multi-instrumentalist Bruno Menegatti, who recently opened a theater called Zona Franca, in the Bixiga neighborhood (though the real estate agents call it Bela Vista). After the concert and before second helpings of risotto, some friends and I had a little roda de choro e forró, jamming in the theater space while toddlers and adults mingled and sipped wine.
Visiting the studio of luthiers Fabio Vanini and Adam Bahrami, and seeing their work on instruments—respectively—in the European and folkloric traditions.
Having a dance lesson from my lovely host Anna Turriani, who taught me how to be the “cavalheiro” in forró. Just the basics—and I sometimes get my feet mixed up—but this gives life more options! Also having the chance to be led by her once on the gafieira dance floor, which opened up another world of dance that I am eager to discover.
Practicing cello under the fruit trees in the garden (on the days that it was above 15C) with the company of a darling 8-month old German shepherd named Clementina.
Finding the subterranean shoemaker “Fascinante” (who intelligently places vitrines of his creations up on the street, bait for the likes of me). I bought two pairs of amazing shoes for the stage, which you’ll just have to wait to see for yourself in my next shows with Elis……

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