Karma Chameleon is one of the hits of the 1980´s UK new wave band Culture Club. Bandleader Boy George once said in an interview it was “about the terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing. (…) Basically, if you aren’t true, if you don’t act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice, that’s nature’s way of paying you back.”

The song came to my mind last week, when dear musician friend S. asked: “What is it, that makes you so passionate about Jazz?”. Good one, don´t you think? The kind of question that demands some time of reflection. My answer was: “It makes me feel at home”. I thought it was quite a clever one, somehow enigmatic, sincere without being obvious, but then I got greedy and added: “And a bit of Karma, as well.” Do you know the saying: There is no greater disaster than greed?

S. asked me to elaborate. Karma, jazz, home. Each one of these words represent a complex concept, but first of all, I shall clarify that I meant Karma not as fate, but rather as destiny, your mission, you know, the one thing that you got to do in order ‘to be true’. So far, so good? Great! Now read the title of the post again and I will explain the ‘feeling at home’ part.

Chances are you´ve recognized the first original verse of ‘Desafinado’ (Off Key), by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Newton Mendonça, worldly famous in the voice of João Gilberto. The lyrics begin with: ‘If you say my singing is off keymy love…’, a sentence that resonates to most comments to my singing style made during my childhood and teenage years. Unfortunately, I did not know this tune so well by then and therefore lost the opportunity of replying using another verse of it: ‘Isso é Bossa Nova, isso é muito natural’ (this is Bossa Nova, naturally).

I do remember quite well though, saying to playmates who claimed I was always “changing the songs” and “singing them wrong” that there was no point at all in simply imitating the singers. How old was I? Six, maybe seven. A little jazzy soul trying to explain that it don´t mean a thing, if you ain´t got that swing. Did they get me? Nope. Nor did many musicians who crossed my way during my learning years.

Sometimes it takes a while to find your way home but, once there, it all makes sense.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Hey, there! How is your February going so far? Weird? It could be worse, trust me.

If you ever been to or lived in Rio de Janeiro you know that February is deeply related to Carnaval, which is deeply related to dancing and singing in the streets, which is deeply related to being happy. Let me remind you that not even World War II had the power to interrupt the popular tradition. The perspective of a February without Carnaval is for me one of the most eloquent signs that things are far from being back on track. Since we have been dealing with the expression “new normal” for quite a while now, I would like to propose a reflection on what is “normal” to you.

As far as I remember, l have been called weird by family members. The reasons would vary: tastes, looks, opinions. Weird is my old normal, so to speak. One of the most frequently given reasons was the way I move my hands. Like Italians, Brazilians also speak with their hands, but apparently my gestures are too big, too wide, too much even for Latin standards. Of course I hated the comments and felt a bit ashamed for not fitting in, until I understood what was so peculiar about my gestures after all: they were perfect to fill the stage. No wonder they felt misplaced in mundane, domestic situations! Now try them during a performance and they seem meaningful and unique. In other words: weird in a nice way.

Changing the approach to things can be a very interesting, sometimes also very painful, but always rewarding exercise. Does it prevent you from still being called a weirdo? No. Do I gently smile each time I hear it? Yes, noblesse oblige, but let us be honest: who needs normal, when you can have grand?

Here is a practical example, so that you can make your own opinion about my stage gestures (feel free to subscribe to the channel!) https://youtu.be/tCfYWRK5VE4

Be seeing you!

G. F.

Hey, there! Good to see you again. I wanted to write you earlier (missed my previous post?), but my computer needed a week off and I had to cope with that decision. Suddenly without the possibility of keeping my vibrating home office routine, which includes checking the news every three minutes and eventually writing a comment on the latest post about the politics in Brazil, I decided to finally rendering myself to one of the top hits of the pandemic: home baking. And now you are probably thinking: oh, no, making bread at home is so 2020! An outdated quarantine activity, lost somewhere together with balcony concerts and Zoom birthday parties.

Ok, but come on, don´t you have the impression that we are all trapped in a loop of lockdowns? Yesterday is the new tomorrow, so bread it is! While waiting for the dough to rise, I finally took care of that small pile of old books and repaired their ripped covers (transparent duct tape, you are welcome) and even advanced a few pages in my long procrastinated reading. The heat wave in Rio de Janeiro has also helped to pass the time. Since its arrival, my greatest achievement has been keeping my body temperature below the flammable range and, trust me, it´s not an easy task.

The bread was delicious and so were the naps I took after lunch (once there was even a gentle breeze) and when the tech guy sent me a message saying that my notebook was fixed, my first thought was: already? It is sure great to be back and, no doubt, there is a limit for the work you can do nowadays without a computer but all things considered, it was a rather nice week. Mindfulness is bliss.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Hey there! Glad to see you again! So, where did we stop? Let´s see… QuaranJazz! By now you´ve probably heard the last episode of QuaranJazz, the podcast that I´ve produced during 2020 and learned a lot more about me. No idea what I´m talking about? Check out my previous post or visit my website. Or just hop on. Things will get clearer eventually. That´s my mantra for this year.

Our reflection for today is about cleaning up stuff. Virtual stuff, such mailing lists, for example. Do you have one? I do! Would you like to be part of it? Sign up here. You know, mailing lists are a very sensitive topic. Lots of people will try to convince you that they are outdated, but I say they are more relevant than ever. That´s where the gold is, in many senses. A unique set of people that willingly decided to keep in contact with you means so much more than an incidental “like” on a post that accidentally crossed a timeline. Not to mention that social network platforms are very nice, but we all know that they come and go.

I´ve always been proud of my mailing list, but now I am especially fond of it. After updating it name by name, comment by comment, I´ve realized that I have a higher number of super fans than I imagined, and what a nice surprise to see how frequently people engage with my content! Well, it is not actually a surprise, since the information was already available in the reports. I just haven´t given them the attention they deserved until now. Cleaning is healing.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

It´s January 15th and, according to myself, today is the deadline for starting to post regularly here, a long time item on my to do list, postponed to the limit, by the way, today. No more excuses! It´s been 40ºC in Rio for weeks, but you must keep your windows shut and curtains down most of the day because they´re repainting the building? No excuse! You don´t sleep well since 2018? No excuse! You feel hard to focus on writing, maybe because the world as we knew it, is basically coming to a, let´s say, new cycle and you´re not really sure that human beings will be part of it? No excuse! A New Year´s resolution must be taken seriously, even if some people say we´re in fact in 2020, season 2.

So, here I am and there you are and I assume that you expect something from me. A cheerful story or information everyone could use. A nice quote would do nicely, thank you. Make it double-motivational, please. And yet, I can´t think of a single topic, I don´t have a clue about what to tell you, despite my daily news overdose. Lockdown fatigue, fear, anger, a little bit of hope: welcome to my 2021 so far. Suddenly, a crazy idea comes to my mind: and what if you´re not expecting anything in particular, just a short, nice reading moment before you start working or whenever you want to take a break from it. Ok, this I can do. But if you are still uncertain and you´d rather know more about me, I´d recommend you to check out the last episode of my podcast QuaranJazz. Here´s the link: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/42657599

Stay home and safe, you all. Be seeing you!

Geisa F.