E-book on Travel and Study Abroad Programs

Two years ago, SiroccoBlue became a more focused consulting business. The goal was to use the metaphor of the Sirocco to build or enhance study abroad programs. It went well and took me to the Bahamas!

Here, I finished an e-book based on all of my study abroad and travel experience. It’s a quick read and geared towards smaller universities seeking to internationalize, study abroad operations that may need some enhancing, and students in International Education Master’s programs who want a field perspective to inform their studies.

It’s available for download here!

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Blue Sage Global Education!

Some new developments for the SiroccoBlue community!

SiroccoBlue started with many services, all derived from the Sirocco as a rich metaphor for cross-cultural exchange, diaspora, an enlarged concept of translation, and the ability of the arts to unearth obscured histories. Things have gotten much more simple and focused.

Blue Sage Global Education is my new study abroad development consultancy. It has one major focus: to build new study abroad programs or improve existing overseas study centers for universities and providers. The mission is to create and enhance programs and to make study abroad more inclusive. Blue Sage Global Education will soon become a non-profit. Please join the Facebook page to learn more about the mission and the “Study Abroad: A Guide for Program Developerse-book project! I will also be posting about scholarship opportunities on Facebook.

So what is going to happen to SiroccoBlue? The blog will now be dedicated to all types of creative writing & visual arts projects that involve the Sirocco, diaspora, and memory and movement between Spanish, Portuguese, and English (some short stories coming!). I’ll keep exploring Flamenco through the lens of Sirocco and I’ll continue posting the work of creative artists who invoke the wind system. Much of the writing pins on translation as a metaphor and that too will continue!

I have re-written the most widely read posts from 2016 and will soon be posting them on SiroccoBlue along with lots of new writing. And for those of you who like to see visual interpretations of transition inspired by the Sirocco, check out the Instagram page!

Thanks to all for your ongoing readership!

“Sirocco” by Sheryl Roberts (2014)

On a cold New England day, I came across the work of another artist of the Sirocco, Sheryl Roberts. This piece, Sirocco, captures the movement, fluidity, and complete rupture of space and time through the winds that this blog has been following since early 2016.


Rippingham Art Gallery sells of Roberts’s work (see here) and writes, “Born in 1971, Sheryl taught art in schools and colleges in Yorkshire for 15 years before becoming a full time artist working from her studio in Hyde Park. Fascinated by the mystery of the moving skies and visions of light on windswept landscapes, she aims to capture the imagination of the viewer and invite them in to this eccentric world. Her work has been much acclaimed through exhibition and sale throughout the UK.”

On Roberts’s personal webpage, her latest series is described as “directly inspired by the changing chaotic skies in imaginary lands – a place she finds mysteriously fascinating.” She continues that it is ‘ A place that evokes emotion as reflective light seems to divide light in every direction.’

“Sirocco” is the ‘place’ and moment that I have been attempting to photograph on the SiroccoBlue instagram page. I hope to one day capture light, reflection, and transition, and the seas as Sheryl Roberts has in her wind-inspired collection!

“Like” SiroccoBlue on Facebook for the next writing on the Sirocco, Flamenco, and themes of movement and translation across cultures!

Spanish & Portuguese in the United States

The Sirocco winds begin in the Sahara Desert and can be understood as a metaphor for movement across nations, cultures, and regions. They carry African sands, seeds, dust, and sediment as they regain force in their transit across the Mediterranean. Trade ships were also carried by these winds. Ideas and memory are carried by these winds. Even architectural forms have been designed around the Sirocco, from Sicily as far east as Iran.

These winds also serve as a metaphor for the movement of languages through migration and exchange.

Though reports vary, the United States has either the second or third largest Spanish-speaking population on the planet. If the Spanish-speaking population continues to increase (roughly a 13% increase in 2015), then the United States could be the largest Spanish-speaking country on Earth. The United States does not have an “official language” in its constituton, much to the dismay of those in favor of erecting walls and supporting “English-only” language policies.

In numerous Massachusetts and Rhode Island communities, Portuguese (Continental and Brazilian) and Portuguese-based Cape Verdean Criollo are the second and third most widely-spoken languages, ahead of Spanish. Check out this interactive map based on U.S. Census reports from 2011.

This language diversity, despite what could become an increasingly hostile culture for immigrants with a new president-elect, is something that must be celebrated. It is an enormous opportunity, particularly for the younger generations who come from monolingual English-speaking homes, to hear and live with and capture the joy of the sound of languages like Spanish and Portuguese. It is an unparalleled moment of language contact, from the big cities of the U.S. to even the smaller towns.

For this reason (and of course to share stories in written form that will inspire) one of the SiroccoBlue projects is to develop a trilingual series of short stories that explores language use and the joy of the sounds of Portuguese and Spanish for children. It will include other languages too: the language of dreams and memories, of music, and even animal companions who speak across Cambridgeport streets.

While the winds serve as a metaphor for the movement of language through migration, the Sirocco can also be seen as a symbol for exchange. Global education and exchange initiatives have always been at the core of the SiroccoBlue services. And soon, with the e-book project “Study Abroad: A Guide for Program Developers,” an all new website will be launched specifically for international education program development. More to come on that work soon!

Like the Facebook Page to get the latest on these projects!



Travel the World via Radio Map!

This is one of the most interesting Sirocco-esque voyages across the globe that I’ve seen. Move across the planet via live broadcasts on Radio Garden!

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I went from Guadeloupe to Casablanca to Amman. What an incredible tool for teachers!

Like SiroccoBlue on Facebook to get the latest writing and updates! I’ll be exploring this


“Kings of This Music”: From Camarón de la Isla to Pedrito Martínez

When Pedrito Martínez sings for Yemayá—as he did at the beginning of his show in Boston last week—the crossroads open: oceanic crossroads, lived crossroads, crossroads of transformation, crossroads rooted in Cayo Hueso, Havana, where Pedrito grew up, Elegguá’s crossroads where choices are made, destinies are reversed, and intention translates into meaning. A man seated in the back of Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, feeling the space change with the music, Continue reading ““Kings of This Music”: From Camarón de la Isla to Pedrito Martínez”

Announcement – eBook coming!

In early 2017, I’ll be releasing a practical eBook on how to build study abroad programs and how to turn around study abroad program performance in 90-days.

Based on years of developing and directing programs in Brazil, Cuba, and Spain, the content is designed to help universities and third-party providers build and manage solid, high-impact study abroad centers. Two courses and consultancy services are connected to this project!

Please subscribe to the mailing list and like our Facebook page for updates!

Los Cuentos del Sirocco

Este cuento es dedicado a los granadinos y linguistas que, hace poco en su conferencia,  discutieron el artículo que escribí sobre el mensaje urgente de Flamenco en un momento de tanta transición e inestabilidad, un momento que nos recuerda de épocas del facismo.

This is dedicated to a recent conversation at a Linguistics conference in Granada, Spain. The article, Flamenco for the Future, helped catalyze discussions and that really is the point of SiroccoBlue. 

Los Cuentos del Sirocco

“Cuenta los cuentos del Sirocco,” me dicen, “del viento que es invisible, que nos trae la lluvia y los aguaceros de nuestra memoria.”

Escucho al aire y empiezo a transcribir:

Continue reading “Los Cuentos del Sirocco”

Stories of the Scirocco

On a recent trip to New Haven, watching so many Sicilian and Neapolitan families gather to celebrate birthdays at a local restaurant, I felt inspired to re-visit the work of Mario Trimarchi and started to re-write an earlier article on this great artist. You may recognize the photographs from before, but the writing takes on a new directions.  “Products,” and by this Trimarchi means his jewelry and drawings, “mainly tell stories. They are not just shapes.” This brief article explores pieces of those stories—stories and aspects of storytelling that Flamenco also engages, embodies, and transmits.

Continue reading “Stories of the Scirocco”