Do you know the sound of a black hole? NASA does. The agency has recently released an audio recording of a black hole and the first thing I thought was: Wait a minute! What happened to all that talk about space being a vacuum and therefore being no medium for sound?

Whenever I find the news to be disturbing, I try to get more information about it. This is what I have found so far about the sounding black hole: according to NASA, “the popular misconception that there is no sound in space originates with the fact that most of space is essentially a vacuum, providing no medium for sound waves to propagate through.”

Misconception? Wait a…ok, ok, let´s read their statement further: “A galaxy cluster, on the other hand, has copious amounts of gas that envelop the hundreds or even thousands of galaxies within it, providing a medium for the sound waves to travel.”

Gas is the medium. Got it or…. have I? Actually, I still had a lot of questions, such as: how come the travelling sound waves became audible by human ears? And, most important of all: how do they sound?

Again, a little research can do wonders for you: the process of data sonification consists in re-synthesizing the sound waves and scaling them up in order to make it possible for human ears to hear them. According to NASA, “another way to put this is that they are being heard 144 quadrillions and 288 quadrillion times higher than their original frequency.”

Anything involving quadrillions is simply too much for my mind to imagine, but the whole process is so fascinating! Music is indeed everywhere.

I couldn’t help wondering that all this talk about how this “new thing” sounds is quite similar to describing a new genre. People will get it sooner or later. Just give them time to process it.

And, as for my last question, click here and find out how this music without music sounds.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Last Sunday I went to a birthday party and the most amazing thing happened: I met a former elementary/high school colleague! The birthday kid was a common friend of ours, but we both ignored it for years. Meeting V. was awesome, but the really amazing thing comes now: she recognized me from my voice.

V. talked about me in the most affectionate way. She described me in my teen years in such a lovely way, it made me feel more than flattered, but the fact that she remembered my voice made me feel unique. In the last episode of Quaranjazz, my series of interviews produced during the hard time of the pandemic I talked about this aspect of the voice: it connects us to a a very intimate zone of ourselves.

It can be very hard to hide emotions from your voice and even more to fake them. Depending on your talent, you may fool people saying things you do not mean, but can you do it without changing the pitch pattern of your voice? I strongly doubt it.

Being able to contemplate my early self through the eyes of V. felt like hopping on a time machine. It starts as a great adventure, but you never know whether the trip down to memory lane will be nice or very unpleasant. Did I change? What have I become? Am I now the kind of person that little me would like to be around? (the playlist inside my head starts playing Amy Winehouse: I cheated myself, like I knew I would...”)

The time machine made a detour from V. and brought back to my memory a cute short story about my birth, told by my godmother, the first one to see me through the nursery room window. Her comment to my mother was: “It´s a girl and her mouth is huge!”

Back home, I hopped off of the time machine and I was glad to realize that I still recognize myself: I am a girl, with a unique voice and a huge mouth to let it out.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Victime de la mode is one of the most famous songs from the album Qui sème le vent récolte le tempo, by the French rapper of Senegalese and Chadian origin MC Solaar, but surely the title also fits someone you know.

I never had neither the money, nor the inclination to be a fashion victim. My motto has always been: “do the most with the least”, meaning: handling well a limited wardrobe, and this applies to what I wear on stage, as well. Since the pandemic made us un-learn how to dress (don´t know what I am talking about? Lucky you!), I had to to exercise my special skills as never before.

In fact, I owe my little super power to my dear late aunt, who was a seamstress. She taught us from an early age to pay attention to the fit of the fabrics, the cut of the clothes and the details of making, even when buying fast fashion pieces. And once you´ve learned how to buy well, it is much easier to create several looks wearing the same dress.

It is amazing what you can do with the help of a few accessories! The choice of colors is also very important and it can make a lot of difference in the final result. I talked about my many reasons for wearing only black on stage in this podcast episode, but among the most important ones is the fact that this color allows you to recycle dresses better than any other.

As I get things done for my Jazzday 2022 event, I think that every return is like a premiere. You know what you´ve got do, but the butterflies in the stomach seem more intense than ever, the production details to handle seem more numerous than usual, and even the choice of a combination of accessories for my little black dress seems particularly difficult. Despite all that, it feels great to be back!

Talking about elegant women, Sammy Stein is an awesome writer and jazz lover and I´m sure you are going to love her website and her blog: The Jazz Report. I had the pleasure of collaborating with an article on the birth places of Bossa Nova. Enjoy your reading.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

My great-grandmother was the daughter of a native Brazilian woman with a farm worker. She told my grandmother that when the news of the abolition of slavery in Brazil arrived, black folks threw their work tools in the air, and started singing and dancing. My great-grandmother, who was a little girl back then, got scared and went to hide under the bed.

This is one of my favorite family stories and today, when Brazil celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day it has a even bigger meaning to me. The date recalls struggle of the native Brazilians. Struggle for existence, struggle for representation, struggle for the maintenance of acquired rights. The list is long, and, as you can see, the struggles are many and always very arduous, but perhaps the most difficult of all is to break the structural prejudice resulting from the idea that the indigenous peoples were lazy and they should be grateful for being “saved” by the European invaders.

Much more ingrained in our minds than we would like to admit, in Brazil this prejudice can be noticed, for example, in the open pride shown by people who claim to be descendants of European families. While the most partial, remote kinship relationship with a European is celebrated and even used as a justification for unflattering attitudes (“I speak very loudly because I am the eighth generation of Italians born in Brazil”), there is a complete lack of interest in the search for traces of the heritage of indigenous peoples, present in the overwhelming majority of the Brazilian population.

Well, on this April 19th I would like to draw attention to my indigenous ancestors. I have very little information about them, but I am committed to not letting their memories die. I am a link in a long chain of miscegenation and today I would like to proudly say that there is a whole lot of indigenous blood in my veins. As Brazilian singer and composer Djavan says in the song Cara de Índio: “Despite my clothes, I am also indigenous”.

Come on, great-grandmother, you can get out from under the bed now!

April 19: Dia dos Povos Indígenas. Day of Indigenous Peoples.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

p.s. another song on the topic I like very much is Curumim Chama Cunhatã by Jorge Ben (Baby Consuelo´s version of it is also great!)

My friend J.P. likes to know what I think about things. From a slap on the Oscars Award to international politics, he cares to hear my point of view and I certainly appreciate it. For this reason, even perfectly aware of the risks implied, I allow myself to be very sincere with him.

When he asked me about elements to consider when choosing a career, the first thing I mentioned to him was the importance of passion. People usually say that you have to like what you do, in order to become good on it, but I would go even further and say that “liking” it, is just the beginning.

If you plan on doing something for the long term, you need to be passionate about what you do. How passionate? To the point of dedicating an incredible amount of hours of your day, of your life, to it and still have a twinkle in your eye when you talk about it with someone else.

Don’t be a fool: there will always be disappointment, disillusionment and a lot of tears along the way. Will that stop you? No, because you will still know it is part of a game worth playing. How will you know that? You will simply know, trust me, or better, don´t trust me, trust yourself.

Be passionate about what you do, but don´t forget that the word passion carries both sides: the drama and the thrill, high and low, yin and yang. Be passionate about what you do and you will be in tune with the continuous flow of life.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

It is amazing how some dates are engraved in our affective memories. May 5th, for example. It is linked to a very special date for me, my grandmother’s birthday. I’ve already talked about my mother’s mother here and how her faith in education managed to change the destiny of her children. However, as time passes I feel more and more connected to my grandmother not because of what she did for the family, but because I understand what she stopped doing precisely because of the family.

In other words, I admire her for the woman she was.

It may seem obvious, but if you take a look at the social media bios and see how many people define themselves as “mother of…”., “father of…”, you will see it is not that obvious at all. Besides, as much as I fail to understand such personality definitions based on motherhood or fatherhood, these are at least voluntary definitions, I believe. The same cannot be said for what happened to women in relation to marriage and motherhood in the early twentieth century.

Before being a choice, raising a family was an obligation and while men usually managed to keep some outdoors habits, the limits imposed on the life of a married woman with children would be much stricter. My grandmother was a very intelligent woman and I would loved to have chatted with her about many things.

What were her dreams as a girl? Her first love? Her favourite dress? I’d like to have asked her a lot of questions, though I know she wouldn’t have had all the answers. I wish we could have had at least the chance to look for some answers together. I wish many things, but that’s okay, for I know that every time I succeed, she is with me on the way.

“And what about time?”, you may be asking yourself. Well, as Caetano Veloso would say: Time is as weak as water. Happy birthday, Granny!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Que será, Será is a 1956 song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It was part of the movie The Man Who Knew Too Much[, and a immediate success. Among its many versions, the one, by singer and actress Doris Day is considered a classic.

The song talks about fate and uncertainties of life and the answer to the question “how it will be”, repeated all through the song is only one:

Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

As I opened my fortune cookie, these verses popped up on my mind. It said: “It is never too late to start it all over again”. Fortune cookie hits the bull’s-eye again! It is amazing how they never fail! This is exactly how I feel now: starting it all over again.

Remember the set list odyssey? Well, my friend, it was only the beginning. Ready for the new challenge? Looking for the right musicians. And how many failed along the way… And before you think I am being picky, let me remind you that I am not even talking about musical skills, oh no! I am actually talking about a behavior that you be in compliance with what is expected in the twenty-first century. Sounds too vague?

In one example: I have already cancelled (yes, that´s right c-a-n-c-e-l-l-e-d) a gig because during rehearsals it became clear that the musician I was working with was tremendously patronizing, which is always something unpleasant to handle and far worse if you are the boss. Got the picture? Anyway, let us drop this part and jump straight to strictly music related matters.

The right musicians to work with are the ones, who are not only interested in the gig (and we all are, nothing wrong about that), but also in taking part of the project in a deeper way, buying the idea and improving it. Musicians that are able to respect my vision, and yet leave their own signature” are the right ones for me.

And talking about talented musicians who have a signature, I would like to end with a special note to my dear friend V. and say that the sensitive souls are the ones who suffer most, but they also bear the power of turning pain into beauty. I am sure you are going to find a way to turn those rainy days into bright, starry nights.

Be seeing you!

G. F.

p.s.: more songs about fortune telling?

Superstition, (Stevie Wonder.)

Bijuterias, (Aldir Blanc/João Bosco)

Finding a new place to live is a extenuating, sometimes very painful process. You have to check a lot of places before finding the right one and there is a good amount of frustration involved. On the other hand, it is also a tremendous opportunity to learn about people, to hear about their stories and to understand the multiple meanings of the word “home”. Personally, I find it a lot like building up the set list for a concert.

I already mentioned here how I truly believe in the power of learning and you can learn quite a lot by listening to what other people have to say. The same is true about songs. Give them the chance and the time to grow on you and they will tell you so much! That is why I always find it hard to shorten a set list, but as with people, sometimes you have to curate.

After a lot of time and dedication, you get to that small group of songs that expresses the concept of the concert, in other words, what it is about. Then you realize that some of them don’t talk to each other, so you have to make choices again. And again. And again. It might as well be true that for every moment of life there is a matching song, the one that hits the spot, but it is certainly not easy to find it.

In order to deal with the task in a easier way, I developed a simple 3-steps-method, which consists in brainstorming, peer-reviewing and final treatment. The brainstorming part is always a lot of fun, but it is also very tricky, for some of the songs in the first list are “just songs that I like” and not the ones that I really need to fit the idea of the concert.

The second step could also be called “reality bites”, for it consists in presenting the list to the lead musician, the one that will be responsible for the arrangements. It is when you can check if your storytelling works. It can be a positive experience or you can realize that your first list needs a lot of changes. Though a bit less fun than the first step, the second one is responsible for building up the spine of the show, so to speak and it always involve losses (songs being cut off) and gains (suggestions being added).

And as for the set list final treatment, all I can say is that you have to trust your choices and stick to your timetable. Just like in life there are magical moments in which we meet the right person at the right times, the perfect set list is all about finding the right theme and placing in the right position. If you thought about movie editing, you got the idea.

There will always be room for improvement, but once the storytelling works, declare that part of the mission accomplished and start rehearsing. As in life, the show must go on!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Disclaimer. This is a post written under the state of full anger.

Every year is the same. As soon as the dawn of the eigthth day of March arrives they come to light: the “happy Women´s Day” messages. So cute, so pink, so infuriating… It is probably just me, but I can´t help the uneasy feeling.

I try to keep a low profile and ignore the group messages, but people contact me in private messages. The best reply I can do in this cases is sending a smiley emoji. I know their intention is good, but what happened to this important, necessary and combative date is a real shame.

Somehow Women´s Day is now presented with some sort of “Disney princess filter”, which covers all the political meaning and historical importance of it. And women are buying the version. Why? It might be that the “princess filter” is blurring our perception, but, sisters, roses and candies? Come on!

Pretending that Women´s Day is a spin-off of Valentine´s Day is outrageous, to say the least, and I won´t even bother to explain the obvious.

I told you I was angry.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

My mother always made sure we took good care of our teeth and as far I can remember, I was never scared of going to the dentist. On the contrary! As a matter of fact, dental offices are part of my affective memory.

So, when my dentist told me he would retire, I felt as if I had finished a book or just watched the final episode of a beloved tv series. Kind of lost, kind of sad.

I knew I would have to jump the stages of grief and go for acceptance rightaway. For over fifteen years he was part of my story. Now he wanted to enjoy his grandchildren and be part of their story, totally understandable. And yet, what a pity!

“When are you closing the office?”, I asked him.

“I don´t know yet. First I have to find someone to get my chair and all the furniture here”

“So… do you wanna sell it?”

“No, not at all. I want to donate it. I just need to find a trustful person or institution.”

“Well, maybe I can help you on that…”

I told him about my last Christmas shopping adventure and put him in contact with the orphanage people. The following day, they arranged all the details for moving a complete dentist office. Hurray!

When I heard the message from my now ex-dentist saying that everything went all right, I started crying of joy immeaditely. What a decent ending for the office of a decent man!

I am still feeling a bit sad about his retirement, but you know what? It is true what they say: doing good really makes you feel better.

Be seeing you!

G.F.