The satirical paper’s headline cut to the chase: “Person Who Bought Something He Really Needed on Black Friday Intrigues Scientists”. Of all the fashions recently imported from the USA, Black Friday is the one that most feeds the consumer monster that lives inside each one of us. First restricted to one day, in Brazil the concept was extended to the entire month of November, with special emphasis on the last Friday, when consumer tension levels reach their highest peaks.

Even if you managed to escape all the “super offers”, it is very likely that the personal item you really needed to buy anyway, ended up in your virtual shopping cart. And then, my friend, before you knew it, a thing or two that perhaps you might need someday have also found their way to it, you know, just to round up the bill (it would be a shame to miss the free shipping after all).

I think there are a lot of elements involved in this equation, and advertising handles them all very well. Greed, timing and, above all, willingness to take part in a collective movement certainly play an important role in this hugely successful formula, to the point that now even banks (!) have started announcing Black Friday deals. Unfortunately they didn’t include really useful things like a mortgage reduction for example, but so what? The important thing is to take part in this party, isn’t it?

Musicians tend to take advantage of the date announcing discounts on the price of their catalogs and merch, and I believe that if you do your homework well, there is a real possibility of extra earnings. And this is precisely my problem with taking advantage of the consumerist delusion for my own cause.

Every year, the last week of November comes too fast for me. I suspect it has to do with the shock of the realization that the end of the year is just around the corner, waiting for us and there is nothing we can do about it. Anyway, I understand you, dear reader, and I know that just like me, you appreciate doing things at your own pace. I also know that this year hasn’t been easy and you need a little help getting ready for 2022.

So, here is my kind of Black Friday, actually Cyber Monday deal: for thirty days you can use the coupon LASTCHANCE for an incredible 65% off on the price of The Touring Jazz Musician – A Guide to Jazz Festivals Worldwide.

The guide has a list of jazz fests that accept entries made directly by artists. It can be consulted by event date, name or country, and the best part is that you get all updated editions of The Touring Jazz Musician – A Guide to Jazz Festivals Worldwide for free!

If you are an independent jazz musician who knows the value of a tool that saves your time, you will not miss this opportunity. Click here to use your coupon.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Deadlines. How to deal with them? If you ever looked anxiously to the calendar every hour, counting the remaining days until that very important deadline, you know what I mean.

I understand deadlines are part of life in society and I am ready to deal with them. Quick and painless is my usual style, although sometimes I also play the long and suffering mode. Either way, I am not afraid of them. Why? Because I know that the real deal starts right after you have pressed that “send” button.

Waiting for the result of a project is not easy. You did your part, putting all your heart and soul in it (not to talk about a huge amount of time), you double checked all the boxes, uploaded all requested files and now what? You exercise your mental balance and self-control: you wait.

Plenty of songs, from different genres deal with the variety of feelings we experience while waiting for someone or for something. Probably a playlist, with your top ten themes has already started in your head, but what is the thing about waiting?

First of all, it is a word with a lot of meanings. From longing to someone to arrive, to hoping for something to happen, waiting has to do with accepting that there is a limit to our actions. Sometimes, the move is not ours and there is nothing we can do about it. Or is there?

My trick to deal with the torments of waiting is fulfilling it with a meaningful action, instead of simply killing time. It can be a simple thing, such as: taking a shower, doing the laundry, cooking or actively listening to music, whatever makes sense to you.

Once immersed in a new, engaging activity, your perception of time changes completely and the feeling of emptiness brought by the waiting is suddenly gone.

Be seeing you!

G. F.

How do you like to learn new things? I love it! At least, this is what I conclude every time I conquer the procrastination monster and start floating through the garden of delights, also known as: “things I did not know about, but now I do”. Learning is like exercising: if you do not like it, it is probably because you never gave yourself the chance. Actually, our body is programmed to like both.

Falling in love with the subject you are learning about and turning your interest into something that can be shared with others is the basic principle of research, and I am glad to remember this feeling while collect information for a new project in music.

Do you also sometimes wonder about how different your life would be, if you had taken a different step in the past? Sooner or later, we find ourselves at this point on the road, questioning some (maybe all) of our previous choices. No shame on that. Just try not to get lost on it, for it is a tricky road. It can easily lead you to nowhere, so whenever you find yourself in a “coulda, woulda, shoulda” situation, the best thing to do is to fight back using a good argument.

Here is mine: becoming a researcher was one of the most valuable and useful achievements in my life. Researching is learning and learning opens your mind. I could say it using a lot of fancy words, explaining how the process of discovering new things increases brain synapses in a way that learning the next thing is a little bit easier, and the process repeats itself every time you experience new situations. Every time you go outside your box, so to speak. Instead, let´s have it short and straight: learning new stuff makes you more intelligent.

A very intelligent man was born on this day, in 1898. He saw the twentieth century rising, overcame tremendous adversities on his childhood and teenage years and managed to build himself a solid reputation as a lawyer and briefly as a politician. He was an amazing guy and he happened to be my dad. I had him around for a short time, but somehow he has always been quite present in my life. His name was Oséas and I tell more about him here, if you are interested.

I would like to wish him a Happy Birthday and tell him how grateful and honored I am for having him as my father. I know he will get the message. Love always find a way.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Do you know when you have a full scheduled day, but destiny keeps testing your will, by putting a million little problems on you way? Welcome to my week! From medical appointments to groceries delivery, this week I had to exercise my patience and tolerance for other human beings on a daily basis. Not always successfully, but the really important thing is trying, right?

Here is my trick, when things go wrong: repeat to yourself “it is all Maya”. Again, now breathing: it is all Maya. Felling better already? Sure you are aware of the concept, but just in case, let´s refresh: according to Hinduism and Buddhism, the world we live in is a mere illusion created by gods and demons. Maya is the name of this illusion, by which the universe becomes manifest (did anyone say “Matrix”?).

Write that down, kids: everything you hear, see, smell, taste and touch is nothing but Maya. It does not matter how expensive it was, it does not matter how many “views” and “likes” you were able to pile. Still Maya.

I wonder how this concept could blow the minds of so many people, in a way they cannot even imagine, if they would bother to care. Maya can be a cozy place. However, I doubt it can be enjoyed permanently, unless you double the bet and drown in your own illusions.

It works for a lot of folks, sadly (or not) I does not work for me. I dare to say it does not work for anyone who wants to be considered an artist, for art use our senses to question reality, to doubt what is taken for granted, offering a different perception of the world. That book you love, that song you play, when you are felling sad, that painting that makes your imagination fly, they all use your senses to take you beyond them.

Art defies Maya.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

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.