I recently mentioned here a hard decision I had to take concering fundraising. Long stor yshort: I had two projects approved for fundraising by the city, but had tremendous problems finding sponsors (although the amount of taxes destinated would return as publicity).

After the sadness phase, I adapted quite well to the idea that all the work I had done had not been in vain, because I had learned a lot and could apply for the next call, now with a better understanding of the whole process etc

Well, now comes the best part of the story: apparently the other competitors were having the same problem and on a beautiful afternoon when I was checking my e-mails, I saw more than 25 messages appear (!). They were part of a “reply to all” discussion, in which people complained quite vocally about the difficulty in fundraising.

It was a huge relief to see that I was not alone, but at the same time I was quite surprised by the high level of explicit criticism in those messages. Keeping doors open and not burning bridges is fundamental for any professional and a real question of survival for any artist who wants a healthy career, but I had the impression people were not quite aware of that.

I know that interactions in the virtual world tend to be more passionate than in the flesh and blood world, but it is always good to exercise a more diplomatic than incendiary attitude when dealing with those who can provide the means to get your projects out of the drawer. Great achievements are always the result of a lot of struggles and a lot of negotiation and such a formula, to be balanced, cannot be understood as a mere exchange of comments on a social network, in the heat of the moment.

It is necessary to pay attention not only to the content of what is said, but also to the form: ‘Is this the best way to express what I want to say?’, “Am I using non-violent communication?”, “Am I showing respect for my reader through clear, well-written sentences?”, “Am I addressing people responsibly and accordingly?” These are just a few questions to keep in mind when dealing with professional communication.

I know that artists in general and musicians in particular prefer more direct forms of communication, like the one that happens from the top of the stage, but sometimes you have to prepare the ground for the magic to happen.

Wishing you all a new cycle full of magic.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Yesterday was my birthday. I have already talked here about all the tension and the drama of having your birthday at the end of the year, but this time I would like to point out some solutions, or rather describe some lessons I have learned in this last passage of the sun through Sagittarius. What kind of lessons? The kind you can use in your career. Ready to write down some valuable tips? Follow me.

As years go by, it is clear to me that the key word is resilience. December is always a month of intense temperatures, whether it is cold or hot, depending on which half you live in on this little blue planet. For this reason, the difficulties start already in the organization. I dare say that organizing a birthday party in December is more difficult than organizing a small tour with a trio (for those who do not get the reference, organizing tours is always a lot of work).

Sounds a little sad? If you apply resilience it will sound more like consistency. A practical example? Test all possible models until you find one that works for you, just as it is necessary to test different combinations of musicians until you find the one that is ideal for your music.

The philosophy of chop wood, carry water needs time to be assimilated and, depending on your moment in life, it may even seem counterproductive, but time will teach you to realize the value of small, regular things for big results in the long term. In other words: you learn by doing, even if you do not realize it at first.

Another lesson I have learned, not necessarily linked to being born in December, is that the definition of an ideal celebration varies a lot from year to year and depends on many variables, exactly as it happens with the different projects that develop throughout a career.

Last, and certainly not least, I also learned that you always need to reserve some room for a champagne toast. And if you have a slice of cake to go with it, wow, you’re one happy, lucky birthday kid!

Be seeing you!

G.F.

When it comes to the birth of a musical genre, it is impossible to establish precise coordinates, such as date and place of birth. When talking about Bossa Nova, however, it is impossible to escape some key events.

I have written about places considered to be the birthplaces of Bossa Nova, and today I would like to celebrate the another landmark: the legendary concert at the Carnegie Hall in November 21, 1962, featuring young Brazilian stars making their US debuts.

Names such as Sérgio Mendes, João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim were introduced to an audience of three thousand listeners, among them five-stars artists, such as Tony Bennett and Miles Davis.

Despite several last-minute mishaps, including João Gilberto worried about the crease in his pants, and the sound problems that occurred during the concert, that night in 1962 a new musical genre was presented to a large opinion-forming audience and to a great vehicle, the New York Times.

Both, critics and audience, were immediately hooked by the new beat coming from Brazil, but as nothing comes from nothing, it must be said that ears and sensibilities had been prepared for that moment months in advance, by the release in April of Jazz Samba, by Getz and Charlie Byrd. The album introduced Tom Jobim in the single ‘Desafinado’ and it is a landmark in itself: it had more than a million copies sold, and achieved #1 on the chart of Billboard, paving the way for Bossa Nova outsid Brazil.

I recently heard that Bossa Nova is “elitist”. Nothing could be less true. Although several aspects have been left out of the official Bossa Nova historiography (race, gender and cultural appropriation issues come to mind), the importance of gender in the construction of various aspects of Brazilian identity is undeniable.

Bossa has in its DNA the ancestral African drums and redefines them in the light of the Copacabana sun. In her different moments, she walks through the many Brazilian contradictions and transforms them into brilliant music. There is something very beautiful about Brazil, as represented by Bossa and I am proud to remember and to be part of that tradition.

Viva a Bossa Nova!

More stories on the topic? Check this one about the hit Mas Que Nada, by Jorge Benjor or this one, about The Look of Love at 50.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Lente do Amor (Lens of Love) is a song by Gilberto Gil. It is not be among his most famous compositions, so chances are you nver heard of its clever lyrics, which go more or less like this in English:

(…) Through the lens of love
I see the color of pleasure, I see the face of pain
through the lens of love
I see the boat sail through the waters of evil and good
Show the doctor, face it,
Heal your wound
Transcend through the lens of love
Chant the mantric
Pay the karmic in the deal
Transcend, through the lens of love

Pretty ingenious, right? I love the idea of celebrating what goes right in life, while “paying the karmic”. Great works acquire new meanings every time we look at them, and maybe that’s why Lente do Amor comes to my mind right at this moment when, for various reasons, I had to abandon a project.

If you also work with projects, you know how difficult it is to get any idea off paper and turn it into a decent project. After that, there is a whole phase (which always seems endless) of gathering documents and signatures, followed by anxiety until the final result .

When the result is positive, it seems that the world is conspiring in our favor, that everything will work out, etc. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Life is full of such karmic moments and it is always difficult to overcome them. Well, this is where the unsurpassable Gilberto Gil method comes in: transcend, through the lens of love.

Through the lens of love, what has been conquered becomes clearer and even the painful path of returning to zero point, which we so often have to do, seems less arduous. Through the lens of love, it is also easier to exercise forgiveness, especially self-forgiveness, so necessary to heal those wounds that no one sees.

Giving up should never be the first choice and nobody wants to be called a quitter, whether in a personal relationship or a professional task, but what to do if there is no other way out? And how to know if there really is no other way?

My tip is to stop and think about all (or at least a good number) of possible outcomes of the two actions. By better understanding the impact of giving up or continuing, it will be much easier to make a decision. It is even worth drawing or using some kind of mind map, if that kind of tool works for you.

Once your considered decision is made, my last suggestion would be: play Gil and enjoy!

Be seeing you!

G.F.