Sunday, May 26, 2013

· A Musical Breakthrough ·

The little wood-carving plaque was a gift from a lovely nut-brown haired lassie.

Hullo, me hearties.

Eight and a half hours later, and I am back home from the road. And this is a sentence I never thought I'd write.

This past Saturday I attended as a musical guest Taberna Folk's Jantar Medieval, a wonderful independent event of medieval music, food and fair. After being introduced to them by dear friend Raoni Paes (from the high-class troop of pipers Gaiteiros de Curitiba - mark that name, they'll be huge), I was invited to perform a set of traditional music on my hurdy-gurdy during an enormous feast. That alone is an affair of special grandeur for me and Through Waves, since not only it is the first time I ever perform live without having organized the concert by myself, but it was also the first time I played to a bunch of strangers. Through Waves' usual little concerts are comfortable to me because I am mostly surrounded by dear and close friends; this time, however, I got to be in a stage, in front of an enthusiastic crowd, the likes of which reminded me a bit of my interactions as a busker on the street... In the sense that some of them would walk into the stage and talk to me about the instrument after I had played only one song of my setlist. That is something that really blows my fragile little mind. I have little recollection of what actually happened in the meantime I set up my hurdy-gurdy and played the last piece, other than exciting clapping and cheering, and little children tapdancing to Sephardic music. Surreal.

After my presentation, I got to meander around the event, which was outdoors, below the most beautiful and orange-coloured Moon-rise I have ever seen, over a field of orange trees. There I found a cozy little corner to sit down and play some more tunes, next to a bonfire to drive the midnight cold away, while all sorts of people dressed in the most curious of ways came talk to me, buy CDs and discover a little bit more about the hurdy-gurdy (I'll never forget you, handsome elf-boy ;) ); and when Taberna Folk hit the stage, I was, even at a distance, blown away. They earned a distinct place as top performers of medieval music in the Southeast of Brazil with good reason: they are entirely fabulous and captivating, and proficient musicians on antique instruments. They played Avrix Mi Galanica, which is one of my most beloved Sephardic tunes ever. It was amazing, since I played the same song a couple of hours before. Taberna Folk, I would like to sincerely thank you for allowing me to be a part of this event; what might seem as merely another interesting act to be included in your medieval fair has a gigantic meaning to me. For all the support, for believing in me and the interest on my art, I extend my undying gratitude. You are all fantastic, polite and exciting people, and I cannot wait to see you again.

At the eve of releasing a new chapter of my continuous, personal work, I have experienced at last the missing piece on my musical journey: the live, in-person sharing, and the instantaneous good feedback coming as a result of that. It really puts everything in perspective, and lessens my otherwise adamant disgust and shame of facing a crowd; and through all this experience, I have come to realize I might actually be a somewhat good musician; and accepting that without an egomaniac approach is a big deal for me. Probably the most distinct breakthrough I have since the releasing of my first EP, in 2009.

Despite long and dreary 16-hours inside a bus listening to awful music (seriously, who can stand listening to "folk metal"? What is wrong with you really?), I had good company, and a priceless experience. I hope I get invited again next year; then I might put up a show you truly won't forget. ;)

Photo: Isabelle Lobo Santos

Edit: Here is the setlist I played:
The Monastery/Napaeus (Through Waves)
Salónica (Through Waves)
Pasacalles Sefardí (Trad. Turkish/Bulgarian/Sephardic, arr. by A. Alcaide)
Hixa Mía (Trad. Sephardic)
Breton Andros (Trad. Breton, arr. by R. Holtz)
Lamma Bada Yatathanna (Trad. Andaluzian)
O Cego Andante (Trad. Galician)
Puncha, Puncha (Trad. Sephardic)
Una Pastora Yo Amí (Trad. Sephardic/Greek)
La Cantiga del Fuego (Trad. Sephardic)
Karuna (Faun)