Sunday, January 15: The Red Flower Press completes two years of existence, and the story of this blog begins, oddly enough, with a podcast.

It all starts at the end of 2020 (yes, that year…). I had dedicated practically all of my time to producing QuaranJazz, a weekly podcast of interviews with musicians from around the world. I did not know at the exactly what I wanted with the podcast,at first.

Looking back to that timet, I think that we were all kind of lost. Anyway, Quaranjazz primary goal has always been to offer my fellow musicians the opportunity to talk about their projects, which had been abruptly cut due to the pandemic.

What did musicians do during social isolation? What were your fears and hopes? How did you take your projects forward and maintain contact with your audience? Honestly, I think of QuaranJazz as a musical portrait of that year of fear and loneliness.

Fortunately those days are over, but the podcast episodes remain as a document for posterity and yet another tool for understanding a very particular phase of our recent history. I am very proud of this project, created and developed in very precarious conditions, but with a lot of determination.

The following year vaccines began to be applied and the word quarantine, finally, ceased to be used in everyday life. QuaranJazz had completed its cycle and its mission and it was time to move on to new projects. I confess that until then I had never tried a blog, and it took me a long time to find a format that worked for me, both in the frequency of posts and in terms of content.

Content was quite an issue indeed, because after the tremendously introspective experience of QuaranJazz, I wanted to be able to talk about various things related to music, from reviews to personal stories, passing through career management tips, but the biggest challenge was finding the middle ground between information and reflection.

My intention is that you can go back and reread the texts, regardless of the period in which they were written and find something you can relate to. Like good old friends, we can stop and pick up the conversation at any time and it will always make sense, it will always feel good.

This is also how I feel about singing, and maybe that is the reason why I like so much writing to you every week.

My red flower and I sincerely thank you for the company.

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.

Como Nossos Pais (Like Our Parents) is a 1976 song by Brazilian singer and composer Belchior. It is one of the first songs of my repertoire and it has a special place in my affective memory.I sang it already many times, but there is one particular performance that I will never forget.

It was during college time. It was a Saturday night and my roommate J. had just broken up with her long time boyfriend. She wanted to go for a walk and I, sympathetically, went along. Many steps and lots of talk later, just when my friend’s morale was getting better, a man came out of the middle of nowhere and said: “Give me what you have!”

I think he showed us a knife hidden under his hoodie or maybe it was a gun, all I remember is that J. and I looked at each other, trying to figure out what to do. None of us had carried a handbag and smartphones were not yet a reality, so the thief took the only more or less valuable item at hand: my friend’s watch.

Needless to say, after those very scary seconds we totally forgot her break up. The mood for a walk was also gone, so we headed towards the main street and looked for a bus stop. Just ahead of us there was a cultural centre with a restaurant inside and they had live music on weekends. The place was kind of fancy, but it was an opportunity to have a drink (we really needed one) and grab a cab back home.

We got in and realised the singer was an acquaintance of ours. He talked to us during the break and invited me to sing a song. I remember I was in jeans and a t-shirt and it felt really weird to be dressed like that on stage, but what the heck? The night was weird already.

I sang Como Nossos Pais. Why this song? I do not remember if I chose it from the set list of the band, or if I suggested it during the break (weird night indeed). Anyway, its ruthless verses about lost dreams and the bitter reality suited the moment perfectly and I put all my heart and soul on them.

We played impromptu, but the result, surprisingly, was not bad at all. The house was full and there was a lot of applause. I remember seeing my friend clapping her hands enthusiastically (by then she had already had a drink or two, I shall add). Looking back to it, I believe the “magic performance” was a mix of beginner’s luck and the universe trying to balance things somehow.

We went back home with the feeling that, after all, it was a happy lucky day.

Today is J.´s birthday and I wish her many happy returns, plenty of amazing stories to tell.

Be seeing you!

G.F.