Singer, Songwriter, Music Researcher & all that Jazz

Lucy is flying right now, while you read this. We cannot see her, but she is up there, somewhere in the big blue sky, diligently fulfilling her mission . You probably read about the space probe sent to a twelve-year journey to many asteroids, and yes, the name is a direct mention to the Beatles´s song.

Earlier on the blog, I shared my reflections with you on space missions. This time, instead of a holistic approach, I would like to address the topic from a different perspective. A very personal one, based on the benefits provided by those who never leave Earth: plants.

Growing up in a house, with a garden and a backyard, plants have always been around me. Although apartments have been my reality for quite a while, I always have a few plants at home. Ok, more than a few (it is not my fault, they multiply themselves, you know?)

Beyond aesthetics, I truly believe plants are, in may aspects, real diamonds (sorry, Lucy), and I am not even talking about the importance of the Amazon forest or the urge for more urban green areas. We do not have to go that far. Let me simply talk about my adorable little plants.

They saved my day many times already, and yet sometimes I forget to nurture them. Well, not last week! I bought this great organic plant compost and followed my usual ritual: jazz playing, cinnamon incense (strongly recommend the masala kind) in the air, a hot cup of tea and lots of time.

No rush, no mobile checking, no further worries. Just some quality time taking care of my plants. Ever tried? A miracle worker! To dive deep: Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through “The Secret Life of Plants

Meanwhile, Lucy keeps on flying high. Down here we keep on our usual mess, plenty of bad things, as we are quite aware of, but also full of wonders, as we frequently forget about.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Do you change your mood according to the weather? After a week of rainy days, I can say without hesitating: I do! It is hard to keep on the good mood, when nature is basically saying: “let me complete my cycle”.

As Fela Kuti repeated, water, you no get enemy. Not to mention that Gentle Rain is also the name of a very beautiful 1965 Bossa Nova composition by Luiz Bonfá, with lyrics by Matt Dubey. All good references, but maybe because of this melancholic atmosphere, I must confess I simply cannot work very well on rainy days.

My attention becomes fragile and my focus disappears. Not rarely I feel the urge to see old pictures and read again that certain line, on that certain page of that long forgotten book. I am not saying this state of mind it is all bad, not at all.

It can actually be a moment of incredible creativity, with ideas popping up, like little soap bubbles in the air, but as cute as this analogy may sound, if you do not write down or record notes on your ideas, chances are their fate will be the same of the cute little soap bubbles. My suggestion: if the muses visit you, enjoy it, but pay attention to the message. And take notes, please!

Sunny days, on the other hand, bring up that feeling of energy and power we need so much when writing new projects. The muses are gone and it is time to get the job done! After all, deadlines know no mercy, right?

Be seeing you!

G.F.

How do you like to get third part content, when you visit a website? I hate it, and that is why I don´t have the feature enabled on mine. “What about monetization?”, you might ask. Well, it is a concern, but I doubt that by annoying my dear visitors, I would make a considerable amount of money.

I am not saying it is not possible. It works for a lot of people, but it would probably not work for me. Trust is on the basis of the relationship between me and my audience and random third part content would feel like breaking this bond.

You might find my point hard to understand in those days, when sharing any kind of content on social media became the means of survival of many people around the world. Well, all I can say in my defence, before you consider me a total weirdo is that I am not against monetization per se. I am only uncomfortable with the idea of monetizing everything, all the time.

On the other hand, asking directly for help is no problem for me. I did it here already, remember? There are other ways for a music industry artist to generate income, still related to her/his musical universe. Merch, for instance. The idea of caring a piece of our favourite artist home is a gentle and practical way of expressing support (and getting a new mug, t-shirt, hoodie).

I would go even further and say that it is a step ahead of “just” listening to the music. It shows that you share the concept of the artist. I am not talking about personal values, but the artistic concept itself, which is something thin as air, but strong enough to connect us with a certain performer.

Hard to explain, but easy to understand, don´t you agree? Think about your favourite artists and you sure will.

Be seeing you!

G. F.

I was finally uploading my lyric videos (a long postponed chore), when the phone rang. It was my friend A.-M., what a nice surprise! Catching up after a long time, we joyfully jumped from one subject to another, and at a certain point of time, the recent political events in Brazil came to the conversation. Talking about politics with a friend? A fast road to disaster, right? Well, don´t judge us: even if you are not a newsaholic like myself, it is kind of impossible to ignore the disastrous governmental actions during the pandemic, since they interfere in our daily life.

A.-M. said she was kind of disappointed with some of her friends that turned out to be anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately not an usual complaint these (strange) days and even weirder here in Brazil, a country that has a vast and positive experience with vaccination. Implemented by our national health care system, immunization campaigns are usually well received by Brazilians. We trust vaccines and understand their importance in eradicating several diseases in the country. Most unfortunately, lately people seem to forget this long tradition, which used to make us Brazilians very proud. Strange days indeed.

To A.-M., I said that I do not have neither the time, nor the energy to deal with such situations. I am not saying it in a angry way, at all. I believe the word is: exhaustion. Therefore, I consciously decided to keep a safe distance from people who have problems understanding the basics about living in a society. Is it a lesson? Nope. A nugget of wisdom? Probably not. I would see it more as part of my moral principles. Or did they also turn cringe?

One more thing: today, according to the Catholic and Afro-Brazilian religion traditions, it is the day dedicated to the twin saints Cosme and Damian. Patron Saints of the children, in their honor on this day people distribute candies to kids. Now imagine you are a child, and once a year your family supports you on on the following agenda: 1. skipping school , 2. getting a bag to store candies, 3. meet your cousins and 4. run with them from door to door getting candies. Sounds like a dream? Welcome to my childhood. Viva São Cosme e São Damião!

Now tell me, how did you like my new page, exclusively for lyric videos? Suggestions most welcome!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

One of my very favourite albums of acclaimed Brazilian singer and composer Caetano Veloso is called Transa. Recorded in London, in 1971, during his exile due to the military dictatorship in Brazil, Transa was released in January on the following year.

The song It´s a long way was originally the first track on the B side of the vinyl, which used to be the place where you would find the “jewel of the crown”, and this one deserves all the honors. The lyrics are in English and in Portuguese, and they work both as a political and philosophical manifest. Its torturous refrain repeats:

It’s a long road
It’s a long road
It’s a long and winding road

It’s a long and winding road
It’s a long and winding road
It’s a long and winding, long and winding, long and winding, long and winding road
It’s a long road

It came to my mind when I read that events with the present audience are gradually coming back. I wonder how long and how winding will be your road back to normality.

Do you feel safe enough to return to all your former activities? Do you want to go back to them or are you planning a completely different post-pandemic life? Maybe you are going hybrid or maybe you will replace indefinitely some of your outdoor activities by online equivalents.

There are many possible combinations and each person will feel the comeback in a different way. I am sure that there are already plenty of people telling you what to do, but my suggestion (here we go…) would be: follow your own pace. You do not have to be as (un-)motivated as the person next door. For many reasons, each of us experienced the pandemic in a different way, therefore, everyone will have a different “starting point”. Many will need a gentle push here and there in order to keep walking and all of us can use some kindness, so follow the great Aretha Franklin and try a little tenderness, will you?

I wish you a safe return to this long and winding road.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

“It is difficult to continue being emperor in front of a doctor”. I never forgot this sentence, from the book “Memories of Hadrian”, by Margueritte Yourcenar. It is one of those lines that sum up a whole situation, and it has certainly a lot to do with my current state of body and soul, so to speak.

I am recovering from a terrible flu, still not feeling quite like myself. While trying to take back the control over my body – something pretty hard to do, if you think about it, I wonder that we don´t usually notice the amazing balance called health. Taking it for granted, as soon as we lose it, everything seems to be upside down, and we must confront the tremendous vulnerability of any human body.

It does not matter if you a are a pop-star, a monk, a hairdresser, a pet lover, an emperor: we are made of the same, very fragile stuff. The one dreams are made on, Shakespeare would add.

From time to time, the universe will take your hand, in a more or less gentle way (usually less) and show you a mirror: See? That´s what you are. Nothing more and nothing less. Or, as the British band Simply Red says in the song ‘Hillside Avenue’: “Your health is your life / Keeps you alive”.

Makes sense to me.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

As the month begins, I wonder how you´ve been experiencing this year. I believe for many people life is going on, as it used to be. A few little changes here, a few masks there and that´s it. I don´t know if I should envy or pity those people. The year is coming to its final quarter and I still feel like living in an eternal 2020. Of all the nice years I had available in the catalog!

It can be really exhausting living the same year twice. My friend E. asked me, if I am ok. I didn´t dare to reply him yet. Just trying to spare him the bitter truth: the best word to describe me now is functional. Not ok, but still functional.

From time to time I get to escape my repetitive reality by watching old sitcoms. It is not the first time I mention this show here, I know, but anyway, it works for me, so I here I go again: in the first episode of the last season of I dream of Jeannie, the iconic character played by Barbara Eden explains to her “Master” the reason why she cannot blink away the enchantment she has put on a spinet piano: “It´s easy enough to put the music in, but once it´s in, well, it has to play its way out”.

I wonder if the show writer was a jazz fan paying a subtle tribute to Louis Armstrong, who once said: “Musicians don´t retire. They stop when there is no music in them.” Don´t you also love such quotes? They are very easy to understand with the heart, although very hard to explain using words. Just like the most important things in life, and hope is one of them.

Ok, I know it is not easy to be hopeful all the time, but let´s give it a chance today. Let´s give hope a chance in this brand new month. Sounds too much for you? Then try it only for five minutes. A hopeful thought, a day. A hopeful thought today. Shall we?

Now tell me: I would love to know your relationship to music, in other words, when do you listen to music? When you wake up? By the end of the day? All the time?

Be seeing you!

G. F.

Hello, there! How are things going? First of all, I would like to apologize for the long time since my last post. I´ve been quite busy, since the announcement of the semifinalists of the Rádio MEC Music Festival. One of the reasons is that the organizers asked for a promo video. A super complex production, aiming for the Oscar? No, not at all. Actually, they only asked for an innocent one minute mobile phone video, no post production elements needed. Something you would do in five, ten minutes max, right? For me, it takes the whole day and the final result hardly pleases me, so I repeat and repeat…

Call me perfectionist, call me unskilled, but the fact is that I hate to make videos of myself and I often decline such invitations, but this time I had to face the challenge. I know how important it is to have a real person talking to you, when we you are asking people to vote for your song.

In this short video, I introduce myself and explain that I´m honored to be a semifinalist on the festival and that my song, Depois do Verão, is an ode to better days, that shall come to all of us. Oh, and in the background you can see a collage with the many versions of the art for the cover of my first album. Still didn´t vote for Depois do Verão? Click here and vote for me, dear citizen! 🙂

And last but not least, I would like to tell you that earlier this month, I got my International Jazz Day 2021 participation certificate. I must confess that I was a tiny little bit sad because my poster was not on the global artwork page (it is silly, I know, very silly), but it´s all gone now. Signed by the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, Mr. Herbie Hancock, that certificate made my day. Thank you very much and until next year, Herbie!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Hello, you! Did you miss me? In case you did not notice it, I took four weeks off. I really needed it and, believe me, you would not have liked my company last month. July was not easy, though it ended in a sweet way. But first things first.

As I was saying, there would be a lot to report in July, starting with the censorship to a jazz festival, that was denied by the Brazilian government the right to fundraising. The reason? A previous post showing alignment with democratic and anti-fascist movements. Does it sound weird to you? Welcome to the weird Brazilian reality since the 2018 election!

The story only has some sort of happy ending, because they are getting help from celebrities, and also organized a very interesting crowdfunding campaign. If you would like to know which festival I am talking about and how to take part in their movement, click here. You will find out more about their work and how to become a partner.

I would have more ups and downs to talk about, but let´s go to the highlight of the month. Drum roll, please! I am on the semifinal of the national music festival promoted by Rádio MEC (Brazilian public broadcasting). You can vote for my song Depois do Verão here. You can vote once a day up to August 23. And you know what? Every vote feels like a hug and I am very grateful for having yours. Thank you for caring! Depois do Verão: click here and vote now!

And now, mesdames et messieurs the most important event of the day: Mr. Tony Bennett is turning 95! This jazz legend, a giant person, and a reference to all of us is also a very generous soul. Hes using his B-day to promote wonderful causes, check it out!

I do not have words to express my gratitude, love and respect for the work Mr. Bennett develops in jazz and to the jazz community. I must confess that one of my dreams is recording a song with this great master, but while this glory day is yet to come, I have already something to tell you now: Mr. Bennett once liked one of my comments on Twitter. How about that, hu?

Here is the story: Mr. Bennett posted after having his first shot and I wrote a comment on the post, saying: “And the best is yet to come…. with the second dose!” (he is now fully vaccinated, viva!) Shortly later, he favorited it. He liked it!

I was happy like a child! I think this is how it feels when a star crosses our way. I mean, a real star, the kind that earns the fame and success of a lifetime dedicated to music. Come on, who wouldn´t freak out? It made my day.

That little lit heart is a small treasure I will cherish in mine forever. Happy birthday, Mr. Bennett!

Be seeing you,

G. F.

Hey there! How are things going? Chances are this is not the first Red Flower Press post you are reading, so I will take it for granted that you are aware I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It´s winter time for us now and usually that doesn´t mean much here, but not this time. Oh, no!

Although meteorology says the season will probably have higher average temperatures, we are now experiencing some pretty cold days, meaning temperatures around fourteen degrees Celsius, quite unusual here. I like the cold weather, specially when they come with sunny (though short) days and a bright blue sky, but I must confess that this home office winter made me very nostalgic.

The reason is very simple: usually, at this point of time, I am travelling somewhere for conferences and performances. Last year was already a shock, after all, most clubs were closed and many conferences were postponed, but since some activities are resumed this year, mostly privileging local audiences, I feel somehow left outside the “back to normal party”, so to speak.

1984 British rock band Queen released the hit “I want to break free”, with an anthological video clip. 2020 the Brazilian writer Luis Fernando Verissimo wrote that the pandemic would teach us to cherish normality. In 2021 both visions make sense to me: I certainly miss my old life, but I am also aware that it was not ideal and I do want to break free from some old patterns.

The big question now seems to be how to deal with the challenge of reinventing ourselves. How to establish a new normal, that is actually better than the old one? Learning something from the pandemic (how to avoid another one, for instance) includes leaving some things behind for good. It also means being more thankful for the small miracles of life (a huge, wonderful mystery in itself).

I know it is just a matter of time for resuming all activities I had before the pandemic. I know that, in a big scale, things are getting better (wishful thinking?). Yet today, I get a chill in my heart.

I guess winter in Rio can be ice cold after all.

Be seeing you!

G. F.