In bike, ozstraylia, travelling, tunnnneeeee! on April 2, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I love Brazilian music, it is happy music, it is summer music, it is lazing around with the sun on your face music. And I’ve always felt an affinity to brazil since ’82 when i decided i was brazilian because my favourite player was eder, a gangly left winger, who scored a thunderous volley in one of the opening group matches, flicking the ball up with his right foot to power home with so much swerve and bend from his left that the keeper never even moved,

who wore those friendship/surfer bands around his wrist. Which i emulated with my looped rubberbands because i was from south london and didn’t even know that they could be purchased, so I made do and adapted what was around me, even at that young age I was like a ranger, improvising, adapting, and overcoming. As with all things heart related there was crying and tragedy, brazil so obviously the best team in that years world cup, lost 3-2 to the eventual winners Italy, when all they needed to do was draw. It could and has been said that, the ’82 team was the last of the swashbuckling brazilian teams, the last to be true heirs to jairzinho, pele, tostao, and the attack, attack, attack, you score two we’ll score three, teams that had reached their zenith with the ’70 squad. Anyway I cried my heart out when they lost, one of the defining momets of my childhood, alongside the doomed six year olds love affair with my uncles girlfriend in Barbados, was their loss, cementing the knowledge that in footbal as in life those that were the best don’t always triumph.

So I’ve been a fan of brazil since way back when and it’s one of the reasons why I’ll be going there on this journey, from listening to the husky tones of tom jobim on aquas de Marcos,

to joyce’s five minute long scat on aleida de ogum,

to the iconic celebration suite by airto,

just cemented this love.

But enough back story, joey whose a friend of a friend of mine, had returned to Sydney a couple of years back and we’d arranged to meet up when I hit town. Now I’m pleasantly surprised to find joeys a member of a Brazilian drum school and he and the band will be playing at bronte beach for the birthday of a friend. It’s just another chance for the drummers to practice and I’m delighted when joey invites me down. I get to ride to one of the public beaches, bronte is inbetween bondi and coogee beaches, I get to see how vicious these hills are, and I get to listen to some batucada! What more could you want for an afternoon.

2 bottles of cider, towel, Birkenstocks, swimming trunks, suncream and sunglasses, and I’m off down the road.

I won’t bore you with the ride, suffice to say it wasn’t that long, about half an hour, maybe longer and the hills out weren’t too bad, long lugs up a steady incline. The exit on the otherhand was a torment of straining thighs, push pull, push pull. Hands cramping as I pulled hard on the bars, ascending barely faster than walking pace, standing/stamping on the pedals, it doesn’t get any easier no matter how much I concentrate on my technique, it just gets harder, each breath, each turn of the crank. I had to take a fucking run up to get enough speed to attempt the damn thing in the first place, sometimes riding fixed sucks, sucks hard. Just when I think I can slow to a snail like crawl and sit back down and just grind it out, the hill keeps going, back out of the saddle, grit the teeth and will not be defeated, wheezing, head hot, grips slick with my sweat I get to the top and pedal ever so slowly along the flat, well relatively flat.

But I’ve gone to the end, well the middle and I’ve spent all that time building up the whole Brazilian thing to punt past it to the cycle out.

So anyway joey and the band are really good, really really good, just like a batucada band should be, two big drums, three smaller ones, some strange tambourines, a drum with a straw and a sponge to make that strange, sqwauking, squeeking sound and someone on the shaker, who eventually becomes me. But they are loud and rhythmic and as they bang out the sounds, people around the BBQ area poke their heads out and come and see what the noise is about. They stand and tap their feet, nod their heads, swing their hips a little before edging forward and joining the circle that we have formed. Obviously my time on the shaker was the high point of the impromptu performance, jam session. My shaking of the shaker held that shit together. Have I told you about my desire to be in a band and just play the triangle for one song. The band tours the world and I’m required for just one song, one motherfucking song, where I hit that triangle really goddamned hard and that’s it! I tour the world say to groupies “yeah I hit the triangle in that song, you know the one, the one with the really big triangle bit at the end, yeah I killed it tonight…. You wanna come up to my room?” That’s the dream, that’s the dream, and playing the shaker which requires a little more concentration than at first seems necessary is a step towards it.

But this afternoon I am the shaker, the shaker with the most, letting those grains, slide around in their container, an accomplement to the rest of the layers of percussion, which make it so rhythmic and exciting. I can’t smiling, its like I’ve been given a sweet when all of mine have hit the floor and are unedible. I’m part of the band, and for a little while, I listen and ask questions, and try to figure out how the beat builds, and when I should drop out as they change from one rhythm to the next. Its the most fun I’ve had in ages, and it makes me hunger to get to the beaches and clubs of brazil.

  1. wow…. Just wondered to see your work…..
    very rich and qualityful…..

    visit mine and plz plz plz post your comments….

    Thank you…

    I’ll be in touch with yours…..

  2. I’ve told you once, and I’ll do it again… man, yo should go to Brazil, don’t forget to try caipirinha once you’re there, I know this sounds silly but there’s nothing better than a caipirinha in a brazilian beach. Cheers

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