nearly there

A morning to ponder and learn

It’s Sunday and there are various possibilities. The focus will be an event in the evening that will bring the community to see images, stories and music. To get there will as usual be a strange and curious process. As the day goes on I keep thinking and asking questions and preparing for a day on Monday when we will evaluate, reflect and look forward. What does this community think about itself? Will people sell their houses for the high prices and leave to live away from the river in a place where they have no connection? Who will be the first to break and will the state or the local government intervene to ensure that the wealthy get what they want? And how can a sustainable community project like this really create a future that will fight the power of money? This billboard values the stretch of riverbank where the community lives very highly.

It will be so interesting to see and also to map out where else this is happening in the world and how people in other places are dealing with the issues…

Evany arrives and we spend an hour exchanging pandeiro and samba skills for trumpet and penny whistle skills! I will need to continue this learnig in the UK and also develop my Portugese. I can now communicate well and just about chat to people. Then in comes in Elvis – one of Zequinhas sons who has had a very troubled life that ended 3 weeks ago with being totally set upon in the community and beaten up, early losing the sight of one eye. We have a great 40 minute improvisation round tunes and songs and a gentle plan is made to bring him into the evening show. Before lunch I sit with dan and we prepare slides for the evening. The 3 weeks is very well documented and includes this slide of me jumping to conduct.

Lunch at home today is beautiful bowl of Acai and shrimps prepared by wonderful cook Manoela.

You can feel the steam rising!

Parade, workshop, parade

The plan is to invite the mothers to come and play.. yet somehow we know it will be the kids who end up with us. 4 of us (Camilla, Matheus, Evany and me) go round the streets with a little band and knock on many doors to invite people to come and play and listen to the music later. Camilla is wonderful, singing and smiling and inviting people with such good humour. I play melodica and we duet with a simple Carimbo tune. It is a very strange little parade and gentle in a way… Back at the square we set up a circle of chairs, metal bowls, buckets and water bottles ready to play. Of course it is the kids who come out to play and in no time at all we have a group of 35 playing a load of scrap! Tricky to control at first but essentially rhythmic as soon as beat is found. We try out 3 beats and they all find their place. Can you imagine that in the UK… no no no. We then head of round the block on a second parade… very pied piper like except they are all leading and playing and dancing.. It is a truly great gaggle of humanity!

Community presentation

On the street outside the house we set up an amp, 2 radio mikes and a data show. It gets dark and slowly people gather until there must be 65 people of all ages gathered round. Unfortunately Zequinha has decided not to play and support the band so the young people are trying to work out how to proceed with their songs. There is a welcome, some images from Carolines trip to Port Allegre and then I do my world tour tunes, followed and integrated with a slide show that starts with a Morecambe sunset and ends with the Maraba equivalent. The Tanzanian songs work a treat and as I set up to play a tune with Elvis the TV arrive and it becomes quite chaotic as we prepare performances and interviews for them which in some way take away the focus for the end of the show. No matter. That is 2 TV appearances and 2 big press articles for the file!


Food and the ‘round’

After the show we gather as a group with 3 of the mothers and eat the food prepared in the day. The eating together and preparation of food is a theme that seems to be part of the project here and feels very good. People serve each other and extra food is taken out in bowls to families in their houses in the community. In this way many people eat tonight. After food there is a round of thanks and validations from the group – everyone speaks and shares their feelings. It is honest, poetic, heart warming and powerful. I reply and gift the project the melodica, whistles, books and shaky eggs! Also hand out the postcards of Morecambe to the mothers and Stages CD’s to the young people… Some people stay to clean up and then we head up the Orla for drinks and ongoing chat. We are ready to talk more seriously about the project and the depth of the conversation is very good even though we are so tired from the day.