Journeys into the Crossroads | Terence Tavares (first of three articles)

Several weeks ago, I made my way over to the Massachusetts Alliance for Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) and, though the kind staff members gathered around the doorway to greet, I felt magnetically lifted and pulled to the back of the room. I could not place the exact need to move quickly through the crowd but it weighed heavily in my conscience. Rushed words, greetings, and awkward excuses for not having time to hang my coat came out of my mouth, but they were more like catapults or miniature islands allowing me to glide through the air over the heads of the art admirers and arrive to the area where three prints were vibrating. Did people not hear them buzzing, I thought? Partially raised by dogs and taught to recognize high-pitched frequencies in canine language from an early age (I always know when a television is on in even a larger home, even on mute, for instance), I let the fact that nobody seemed to hear this buzzing slide. The origin of this sound was a series called “Journeys” and that’s when I knew that Edna DaCosta, one of the fantastic domestic violence prevention and support workers of MAPS, not only graciously invited me to an event to raise consciousness on the roles that we all must play in the struggle to prevent domestic violence and be aware of the support structures in tact at MAPS, but also into the work of a dynamic artist—an artist of the crossroads—Terence Tavares.

terence

First, I spoke with Dulce, another member of the domestic violence prevention and support team, and, seeing my state instantly, she assured me that Tavares was on his way: ‘já volta, tranquilo meu bem, ele chega.’ I didn’t know that the connection to the work was so visible. And then, when Executive Director Paulo Pinto called all of the men up to the front to make a pledge to join the cause for peace and respect and health relationships, I found myself standing right next to Tavares. We had not yet been introduced but we recognized each other instantly. Just after the photograph and Paulo Pinto’s heartfelt discussion on the importance of linguistically and culturally-sensitive support for survivors of domestic violence, Tavares brought me over to discuss his work.

terence interview

For the most part, Tavares’s work involves woodcut prints. He uses carving and carpentry tools—the wood surface is itself an act of improvisation—and then adds paint in varying colors and hues. No two prints are alike, though his surface is fixed (or at least apparently fixed in solid form, different colors, though, tease out the different directions that this engraved print surface can take). The series on display had three phases and, interestingly, they mirrored a coming-of-age play by Gerardo Fulleda León that I had read and written about years ago called Chago de Guisa.

In orange, red, and yellow, a figure with four limbs (what Wilson Harris, Nathaniel Mackey, and Kamau Brathwaite might call “phantom limb” rendered visible) views the horizon and imagines, visualizing his own destiny.

3

Surrendering to motion, breaking free of the boundaries of the internal self and transitioning into a self that can externalize, navigate, and journey, the gazing figure fathoms the weight of possibility at the crossroads; the all-important space where decisions must be made, fears must be confronted, and obstacles must be overcome.

1

This is the thematic center ground of the three piece series, the moment at which, as Tavares shared with me, visibly excited by the weight of the decisions and possibilities, “you could turn around or keep going, you could choose another path, you could succumb to fear, you could stay locked in yourself.” With all possibilities in front of him, Tavares’s figure at the crossroads chose to continue on, following his vision, and arrived at the future he visualized in the beginning of the journey (now wiser and visibly aged with flowing beard) along with the viewing audience.

2

Central to Tavares’s artistic imaginary is his sense of community reflected in the multi-limbed figure’s mission to reach his destination and bring back to the community all that he learned through his travels. “See, he confronted the fears, considered return, moved forward, did not give up,” Tavares shared while viewing the series with me. “But getting there and coming back was not enough,” Tavares added, “he has to give back to the community, be giving, lead a life of generosity; he has to share with the people so they can have their own journeys,” journeys that involve overcoming the life lived internally, in isolation. This is a lesson, too, that applies to all types of journeys, internal external, wherever frontiers are crossed.

This is the first of a series of SirocoBlue.com articles on Terence Tavares’s work, written in English by Jacob Dyer Spiegel (March 29, 2016).

If you enjoyed the post, please “Like” SiroccoBlue.com and share the article! Part of our mission, free of charge for local artists, is to highlight the work of incredible local artists like Terence Tavares. Please stay tuned for the next articles on Tavares’s influences and then, in a third article, his process approached through some theories on translation.

Advertisements

Banda de Dexter Gordon, Arrasou!

Quando três membros da equipe de Sirocco Blue foram convidados a participar no quarto tributo em homenagem a Dexter Gordon—um dos grandes músicos do planeta, a essência de tudo que é ‘cool’, inovador virtuoso de Bebop—agarramos os computadores, uma roupa quase apresentável e a estrada aberta rumo a Nova Iorque.

Presenciamos quatro noites fantásticas de uma das melhores bandas atuais de jazz no país, o Conjunto do Legado de Dexter Gordon: no piano George Cables; no baixo, Dezron Douglas; na bateria, Victor Lewis; nos vibes, Joe Locke e, claro, os dois saxofonistas, Abraham Burton e Craig Handy. A banda, composta de figuras importantíssimas ao desenvolvimento do Jazz e da música mundial em geral que tocaram com Dexter e, no caso de Abraham Burton e Craig Handy, a próxima geração profundamente influenciada pelo grande saxofonista.

Foi no caminho que nós pensamos no melhor jeito de abordar este tributo; um momento que nos pareceu dar abertura a um mundo não só de performance, mas também às historias de personas como a Senhora Maxine Gordon, com a sua maneira única de unir o passado, presente e futuro desta música que nós amamos, o Jazz. Como a língua que se usa para refletir sobre um ato muitas vezes estrutura a nossa experiência, optamos por escrever sobre o tributo em duas línguas e através de dois pontos de vista. Enquanto meu colega que escreve em Espanhol detalha melhor a música do tributo, eu começo com a minha fascinação pelos atos da Sociedade de Dexter Gordon, uma organização sem fins lucrativos que é, em todas as funções uma extensão da voz, da música e da pessoa de Dexter Gordon. A sociedade serve também como um tipo de mensageiro e o tributo, reconhecendo o impacto enorme de Dexter Gordon e a beleza da sua arte, carregando as mensagens deste grande músico (e também ator, não se pode esquecer!).

imageedit_3_7332682624

A noite do tributo que caiu na mesma data de nascimento de Gordon foi espetacular. Foi talvez a noite de mais união entre o grupo e, junto com a imagem belíssima da lua subindo na janela de Dizzy’s Club, a noite na qual a música transcendia mais. Foi nesta noite que Maxine Gordon—esposa, produtora, agente e gerente de tour de Dexter Gordon durante os anos de mais impacto que ele teve—abriu o performance iluminando a sala grande com a sua sabedoria e pela sua simpatia.

O que não se vê no clipe é o público: houve um orgulho ao ouvir que o Perfeito da Cidade de Nova Iorque escrevesse uma carta sobre o tributo do qual todos nós participamos. A carta também representou para o público que este centro mundial de cultura e arte, Nova Iorque, é construída na força criativa dos Gigantes Sofisticados como Dexter Gordon, e que cada cidade do mundo onde ele morou declara o Dexter como parte da sua cultura. Dexter nasceu em Los Angeles e é simultaneamente Nova Iorquino, da Copenhagen, do Paris, do México e a lista continua. O som expansivo e a sua pessoa estende toda noção de barreiras superadas neste mundo transnacional.

IMG_0751

No meio do primeiro set, tudo me pareceu parar quando o bolo de aniversario de Dexter Gordon chegou à mesa e vi Maxine Gordon apreciar o cenário. A música continuou fortíssima e belíssima mas todos nós do público ficamos calados, concentrados na Senhora Gordon, cujo carisma, inteligência rapidíssima e humildade ganha a simpatia de qualquer grupo. Para nós, as velas acesas do bolo representa os caminhos iluminados do aniversariante. Ao apagá-las, mantemos a luz por dentro para iluminar o próximo ano. Apagar com nosso alento, nosso vento, aquilo que forma a nossa comunicação significa que aceitamos o presente da comemoração: é um jeito de aceitar a luz e também dizer, indiretamente, que fará parte da nossa memória viva.

Então quando Maxine–rosto iluminado pelas velas, rodeada por músicos, amigos e colegas que amam Dexter–olhou com orgulho para a banda e soprou, não era um ato simples solitário. Representou, também, um conjunto de forças e o que Maxine Gordon tem mais do que uma década fazendo: a continuação da autobiografia de Dexter Gordon, Society Red, a canalização desta voz autobiográfica e a “conversão” deste texto à biografia de Dexter Gordon. Ela está escrevendo a biografia do seu esposo. A biografia, então, é a continuação da voz, do alento, e do vento do Dexter (a força do seu saxofone), o qual vimos na hora de Maxine reconhecer as velas. A autobiografia que Dexter não conseguiu terminar, a termina Maxine como biografia. Mas—por ter sido produtora, gerente dos tours e a sua esposa—esta biografia torna-se um ato também autobiográfico. São, se entendemos biografia e autobiografia como “tarjama” (a palavra do árabe por tradução significa estas duas maneiras de narrar), traduções de traduções, talvez uma das maneiras de contar a historia do jazz e da sua cultura. E de certa forma, observando quatro noites e oito sets, a banda tocou do mesmo repertório mas nunca da mesma forma: sempre uma adaptação maravilhosa.

Mas embora Maxine apenas mencionasse esse monstro de livro em uma frase passageira, o público sentiu Dexter Calling (Dexter Chamando) e a biografia que incorpora a voz autobiográfico de Dexter se chama assim mesmo: “Dexter Calling: The Life and Music of Dexter Gordon.” Dexter chamando do passado para o presente e futuro através da pesquisa e escrita da sua esposa, uma grande obra mensageira que talvez se publique esse ano.

Voltando à noite… Como meu colega que compartilhou as suas impressões em Espanhol, eu também não finjo ser um jazzista nem uma pessoa suficientemente competente para falar da maravilha da banda mas aviso que a força de Victor Lewis e de Dezron Douglas permitiu um alcançar de som do Abraham Burton que em muito tempo não tenho sentido. The Chase soando ainda mais intenso, Abraham Burton e Craig Handy trocava mensagens num diálogo fantástico de saxofones, uma conversação entre os dois e também entre eles e Dexter.

E o público sentiu também: mãos no peito, batendo palma contra a perna, abaixando e subindo a cabeça, corredor lotado, gente em pé por não ter aonde sentar, gritos dos jovens que entravam para o performance depois. Agora, nada contra o espaço, mas o jazz surgiu nas comunidades e não no que hoje é Columbus Circle, muito menos o Lincoln Center, um prédio de alto luxo. O contraste de historia e presente às vezes interfere em espaços tais, mas com essa banda e com os convidados da Sociedade de Dexter Gordon, o modo de participar no momento foi ativado, os locais do passado voltaram. Até copos começaram quebrar da intensidade.

Não sou fã de enfocar num músico só, pois sem a união da banda seria difícil, talvez impossível, que um membro chegasse sozinho aos momentos transcendentes. Mas, já reconhecendo que Abraham Burton conseguiu canalizar o saxofone de Dexter Gordon, ventos compatíveis entre duas gerações, acho importante destacar que ele está prosseguindo por uma nova trajetória, seguindo o caminho que John Coltrane e Dexter Gordon deixaram aberto.

Deu para sentir, por trás do palco, antes e depois dos sets, que Burton estava numa comunicação constante desde o momento em que entrou no edifício. Deu para sentir o orgulho ao tocar com com os grandes da banda em homenagem à pessoa quase deidade que ele tem seguido a vida inteira.

O tributo foi um grande sucesso. Esgotou todas as noites e houve uma imensa satisfação entre membros do público. Ao sair, ouviam-se comentários como “isto aí foi o Jazz de raiz.” Também procuraram comprar discos (cd e também de vinil) que estão disponíveis ainda no Site Oficial de Dexter Gordon. E, para quem gostou de ter lido sobre o tributo em Português, nós vimos agora fotografias de Dexter e Miles Davis em Portugal no mesmo site.

Depois desta banda de Dexter Gordon, a mais enraizada na tradição de jazz da programação anual de Dizzy’s Club, entrou um grupo de alunos extremamente animados de Julliard, Sammy Miller and The Congregation, como se o tributo abrisse o cenário para um grupo ‘voltar’ aos anos 20 e 30. Dexter Chamando! Esperem, queridos seguidores da Sociedade e desta banda fantástica, muito mais!

Conjunto de Dexter Gordon, Encendido!

Cuando tres miembros del equipo de Sirocco Blue fueron invitados a participar en el cuarto tributo en honor a Dexter Gordon—uno de los mejores músicos que ha tocado esta tierra, encarnación de todo que es ‘cool’, innovador virtuoso de Bebop—agarramos las computadoras, una ropa casi presentable y la carretera abierta rumbo Nueva York.

IMG_0728

Presenciamos cuatro noches fantásticas de lo que quizás sea la mejor banda de jazz en el país, El Conjunto del Legado de Dexter Gordon: pianista George Cables; bajista, Dezron Douglas; baterista, Victor Lewis; Vibrafonista, Joe Locke y los saxofonistas, Abraham Burton y Craig Handy. Este grupo maravilloso representa los que tocaron con Dexter y los que fueron influenciados por Dexter, llevando su música a nuevos caminos.

Pensamos en la mejor manera de abordar este tributo que nos pareció la abertura a un mundo no solo de performance sino a las historias y personas como Maxine Gordon con su manera única de unir el pasado, presente y futuro de la música que amamos, el Jazz.

Y, comiendo un buen plato poblano en New Haven (ahorita viene el review), tierra mexicana donde la familia Gordon radicó por bastante tiempo, lo configuramos: ya que la lengua encapsula una experiencia propia, serán dos historias, dos tomas, dos impresiones en dos lenguas. En español, nos enfocamos el eje de performance y nuestro escritor en portugués se metió en la onda de chisme y fotografía, lo que la gente del público compartía. En português, tuvimos la oportunidad de interactuar con el público y la carismaticísima Maxine Gordon y conseguimos entender los objetivos de la Sociedad de Dexter Gordon. Ahí lo tiene, dos tomas, dos lenguas, un tributo.

La noche de tributo que cayó en el mismo día de cumpleaños de Dexter Gordon estaba encendida y por eso, quizás también porque la luna estaba subiendo en la ventana de Dizzy’s Club de una forma majestuosa, me enfoco en ella. En esa noche del 27 de febrero, me pareció que toda Nueva York cerca de los puntos de Jazz paró por un momento para pensar qué cosa estaba vibrando desde Mintons, al Vanguard y todos los venues en que Dexter tocaba, todo canto de la gran manzana. Hasta vasitos se quebraron en el fundo de club cuando Abraham Burton tocó con todo corazón al Gigante Sofisticado, su mentor sonorico, junto con John Coltrane.

El cumpleaños se celebró con tremenda sandunga y, de hecho, aquí no se habla de ‘si estuviera vivo hubiese cumplido 93 años’ porque el espíritu de este gran músico y actor vive en el Conjunto y todas las acciones de la Sociedad. Se notó en Abraham Burton, backstage, que se sentía en meditación y lo que llaman en ingles de ‘mindfulness’: el estado de constante recepción de la naturaleza, de claridad, de paz para recibir los mensajes que viene del más allá. Ver el conjunto backstage, aunque cada músico buscaba conversar y fue más que gentil, provocó el instinto en mí de callarse en respecto, de no interferir en la comunicación casi perceptible entre los miembros del grupo y Dexter. Todos de la banda, se notó desde el primer momento en que entraron, llevaban consigo un gran respeto por el momento, por ser un grupo de mensajeros del espíritu de Dexter.

No finjo ser un jazzista ni una persona suficientemente competente para hablar con terminología musical pero les digo que la fuerza de Victor Lewis y de Dezron permitió un alcance de son de Abraham Burton que en mucho tiempo no he sentido.

La banda alcanzó la cumbre que logró las dos noches anteriores y lo sobrepasó, Burton vestido impecable de camisa, corbata y zapatos blancos, alto estilo cool. Por la recepción del público, el número “The Chase” fue uno de los diálogos más bellos que pasó por el palco de Jazz at Lincoln Center. No era apenas aplausos, era confirmación de que la tradición sigue. Y bien como el título de una obra maestra de Gordon, “Go!”, se sentía el auto-reconocimiento del público que quiso participar en los próximos pasos del legado al fututo orgullosamente representado y liderado por Abraham Burton y Dezron.

Si puedo hablar por todos, nos sentimos enraizados en la tradición de Jazz, en el fundamento de la tradición. Y nos gustó, como audiencia, la manera en que la esposa, gerente, productora y biógrafa de Dexter Gordon leyó la carta del alcalde de Nueva York porque confirma que esta capital de cultural y música reconoce uno de los grandes, uno de los enormes. Que haya reconocimiento del arte y la cultura de la diáspora africana, especialmente en esta época de encarcelación masiva (la cual Dexter también fue victima) se nos presentó también esperanza. Y esta esperanza, realizada en el día a día por La Sociedad de Dexter Gordon, es parte de la misión de la organización: compartir el impacto enorme de una de las figuras principales en nuestra música mundial.

Felicitamos a La Sociedad de Dexter Gordon y el Conjunto del Legado de Dexter Gordon por lograr su misión a través de este tributo. Felicitamos también a Jazz at Lincoln Center por continuar, ya en su cuarto año, con la programación del tributo ya que, para nosotros que somos atraídos a los grandes del Jazz, Dexter sigue siendo su gran nombre. Y al público felicitamos también: llenamos y cerramos Dizzy’s Club, hasta por el pasillo del fundo. Mis colegas escribirán más sobre el público presente y también algunos detalles de la Sociedad que nos llamó la atención.

Springfield Revival Through the Arts

It had been more than five years since our last walk through downtown Springfield and, within seconds, the five of us (the Sirocco Five as we call the Sirocco Blue writing staff, in reference to that incredible Michigan Fab 5 squad, some of whom may end up in Springfield’s Basketball Hall of Fame…) came to a unanimous decision: something has changed here.Unknown The former paper mill city that for as long as we could remember was home to vacant storefronts (some with glass covered by yellow newspaper pages dated years before), empty streets (the kind that would make youwonder if tumbleweed might suddenly appear, barreling down Main Street), shootouts in the Peter Pan Bus Station, and the yearly headlines patterned into the minds of all residents – ‘Springfield, again, one of the 100 most dangerous cities in the U.S.’ — suddenly had life.

Even a freezing cold Friday afternoon in late January, arctic wind blowing off of the Connecticut River, had a different edge to it: university students walked around hurriedly in search of their next class at UMass and Cambridge College now on Main Street; umass spfldConstruction projects, cranes, the signs of development all over the downtown area; a general sense of excitement and not despair. Could it just be a few blocks in the center of the downtown, we asked in unison? So we ventured to the North End and got some arroz con gandules, with a side of habichuelas rojas and asked the new owners how things are going in the neighborhood: bien mejor, mijo, bien mejor (heavy emphasis on the much better). Also in unison we agreed that the food at Latino’s Kitchen, despite the slightly less original name than we’ve seen across the Baystate, was also much improved.

En route to John Simpson’s new workspace, our destination, we took a gander at the fantastically curated lobby of 1350 Main Street. Incredible photography of Jazz musicians on the walls, straight ahead Jazz playing on high-quality speakers, a lively café that apparently spills out into the street during the summer with tables and tents set up, unheard of years ago. John, now on the 9th floor of 1350 Main and part of the City Mosaic initiative to bring the arts to Springfield, is visiting professor in the art and art history programs at Commonwealth College (UMass-Amherst) and long-time resident artist in the Hampden and Wheeler Art Galleries on the Amherst Campus. He was the artistic director and creative genius behind massive sacred arts installation project Kathmandu: Tantric Buddhism’s Journey from Tibet to India, which paid homage to Tantric Buddhist deities, Green Tara and Black Mahakala.

Sirocco Blue lead facilitator, Jacob Dyer Spiegel, had the pleasure of working alongside Tibetan Buddhist monks and another one of the great local artists, Mr. Tenzin Rigdon on these projects that weaved their way through UMass-Amherst classrooms and Springfield Public School courses. At Putnam Vocational School local youth learned about arts installations and the philosophy behind these sacred art forms. Later, John Simpson brought the Ancient Egypt project to Putnam, as well. Jacob recalls:

“It was my second semester at UMass-Amherst and I saw a work study position advertised so I walked over to Hampden Gallery and John gave me a paintbrush – there was no real interview process. John just brought me into the project on whim, or so I thought at the time. The process of building temples for Green Tara and Black Mahakala became the hands-on, full-immersion component that found itself in in all of the courses I took that semester. When the World Religions professor suddenly stopped the lecture, for instance, to note someone’s coffee spilling down the long corridor to his podium and explained, ‘that is the Dharma, the natural course of these tributaries of coffee; that is Dharma.’ I could follow him because that same day we had rolled thousands of mantras while thinking about Green Tara as compassion embodied and the monks took turns talking about Buddhist philosophy. The whole project was a meditation.

In the course on world literature, I found the same act of devotion in the mandala’s the monks were working on as part of the project as I did in the fiction of certain Caribbean writers who were referencing West African deities in their novels. And then I’d stay long after work hours and listen to John talk about different ideas he was working on in visual form. He was re-visiting, re-interpreting, re-visualizing—just like the Kathmandu project—the great Hieronymus Bosch.

Embedded in this representation or adaptation, you could see John’s work on Green Tara and Black Mahakala spilling over: there was no boundary between forms and traditions and geographies for him. I loved it. Having the chance to work on a project like that with a master painter—and John Simpson is just that—allowed me to be at UMass but simultaneously far, far away. I remember when we reconnected in Amherst after I did study abroad programs in Spain, Cuba, Brazil following flamenco (the music and dance of the Romani people of Spain) and the presence of West African religions in Latin American literature and art. With a huge smile, John told me that the entire installation was taken to the Smithsonian, re-assembled, and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with hundreds of monks, some of whom had worked with us, blessed the project.”

We had actually gone to see one of the projects that John, Mike Cass and team are working on: the erasure of gang-related tagging and the re-creation of graffiti art all over the city.

They paint over tags and gang markers and make murals all over the city, often with kids from the community. Like the participation of the Putnam students, this form of reclaiming public space was a forum for teaching arts techniques and arts appreciation. They also do urban “beautification” projects and did a mural at a local hospital.

Just as we prepared to brave the cold for a tour of the murals, Evan Plotkin appeared, the fellow we had been reading about who brought the Jazz Festival to Springfield, and we learned a bit more about the group called the “dynamic trio”.

Something important is happening in Springfield and certainly does seem connected to the work of John Simpson, Mike Cass, and Ethan Plotkin of City Mosaic. We will continue to write about City Mosaic’s public film screenings, space facilitation for artists, public murals and arts interventions, and the organizing of the 2016 Jazz Festival!

River St. Whole Foods & La Comunidad: Business Paradigm

SiroccoBlue doesn’t usually review (much less promote) large organizations, but we have found incredible customer service at the River St. Whole Foods location in Cambridgeport (the old Fourth Ward).

Especially in terms of language and receptivity, this particular branch in the Cambridgeport community offers some models for the local, family-owned operations that has been our focus since the Amherst Life Blog and Amherst Life Blog days of our youth.

Unknown

Indeed, the kind, genuine, courteous, multilingual staff at the Whole Foods on River St. deserves recognition and they also provide us with some key paradigms… People who speak Portuguese and Spanish feel comfortable in a store where the employees are allowed to speak to customers in their native language(s). The same is true, both for ease of informational transfer as well as comfort, of street maps and eco-friendly information: people feel part of a community when they can work and live in their languages of choice:

IMG_0536
Portuguese language blessing signage, near Harvard Sq.

But back to the business front: that horrific internal policy that prohibits staff from speaking in their languages to customers stigmatizes certain languages as “other” and a “threat,” and cuts off the connection between the public and the institution. It forces communication to abide by the imagined language norms of a society (and they are alleged because this is a multilingual society) and therefore the equally imagined cultural patterns and values of that society. By enforcing an English-only internal language policy the organization is enforcing, too, an English-only culture that gives no space for the co-existence of other ways of communicating and being. The message, in establishments that forbid employees to speak to each other and to customers in their languages, is clear: one language and one culture shall prevail. Simply put, that is not a friendly business atmosphere even though the supposed reason behind this type of control is to make sure that monolingual English speakers do not feel uncomfortable or feel “others” are speaking about them. (News to all: if you are annoying, people will find all kinds of ways of talking about it via metaphor, glances, looks, codified body gestures that resist intelligibility. Communication is going to happen no matter what). Again, we digress…

The point here is that the staff at River St. is a multicultural group that is extremely sensitive to the customer: they know how to engage, they know when to be a “light presence,” they can speak across all of their languages, and they know how to determine when a customer wants to branch out of the “norms” and have a conversation. That customer (customers, really, para ser correctos gramaticalmente) would be us: the SiroccoBlue team who walks through the store proudly hollering out greetings in full quisqueyaneo, “muchacho, y qué; dímelo mi reina, como tu tá” and sometimes in Portuguese, “e aí meu amigão, beleza?” and proudly receiving the response to the call, “como tu andas mi amor; pero esse muchacho, ese é un pícaro!; beleza meu rei,” among others.

Yes, sometimes folks call Whole Foods “whole paycheck.” The things are expensive, including that delicious lunch/dinner buffet. But we keep going there because of the staff and the sense of personal connnection and service that River Street is fully engaging. We throw down $15 because they people look at us in the eye and greet us, they speak to us in our languages, they don’t feel they have to hide their language use. It is a paradigm para la comunidad!

A special thanks to for your dedication to maintaining a personal and personalized connection to the people that spend their hard earned cash at Calle Río. Gloria, Johan, Dulce, Wanda, among others: te felicitamos del corazón, qué clase de trato, de caballería, qué gente más chévere. They are the front line of an organization that, in other locales and states, can come off as a bit impersonal, transactional. Certainly not the case at River Street.

See our next post as we extend this language-based paradigm to Andala Café, just up River Street in Central Square.

IMG_0555

African Diaspora Arts | Boston Area

Newcomers to the city, we keep coming across gems like Galería Cubana that connect the Bay State to Cuba, Puerto Rico, and, indirectly, to Brazil. Fueled by news of Cuban drummer and bandleader Pedrito Martínez’s upcoming March performance at a Somerville venue, our writers will focus on Latin American and Caribbean fine and performing arts for the next few months.

At Galería Cubana, you can find Luís Eliades Rodríguez ink drawing (left), Changó (2010):

thmb_970  thmb_1447

Another artist featured in this fascinating gallery in South Boston, Orestes GaulhiacOshun Montada en un Pavo Real (2015), outlines the repeating figure of the peacock that our writers will attempt to explore over time as well:

oshun

Rooted in Yoruba religion that crossed the Atlantic during the African slave trades, these pieces speak of cultural tenacity and the thriving Yoruba traditions that have transformed Cuban and Puerto Rican art forms.

Though not necessarily Yoruba Puerto Rican, the Afro-Boricua Vejigantes mask tradition is found just down the road from Galería Cubana.

Annoyed by Uber waits and in search of a high-end driver as you explore the Afro-Latin American arts scene (and culinary traditions) of Boston: contact DPV Transportation, locally owned, and mention this SiroccoBlue post.

You can cross the river and find the Cooper Gallery in Cambridge. An incredible new three-part exhibition, The Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes, will be open to the public until May 8th, 2016 at 102 Mount Auburn Street | Cambridge, MA 02138

arcadia2

Courtesy of the Cooper Gallery website, the exhibition is described as follows:

“Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes,” a stunning new three-part exhibition at The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art held in collaboration with the Harvard Art Museums explores the interaction between jazz music and the visual arts. With more than 70 pieces ranging from early jazz age objects to mid- century jazz ephemera to contemporary works by established African American artists, the exhibition explores the beginnings of jazz and traces how it was embraced internationally as an art form, a social movement and musical iconography for Black expression.

“Art of Jazz” consists of three exhibits at two venues. “Form,” a collection of work drawn from the Harvard Art Museum’s permanent collection, is presented in the Teaching Galleries at the Harvard Art Museums. “Performance” is a collection of books, album covers, photos and other ephemera in the Cooper Gallery’s lobby and front galleries. Scholars Suzanne Blier and David Bindman curated both of these installations. “Performance” at the Cooper includes modernist painter Beauford Delaney; photographers Hugh Bell and Carl Van Vechten; along with a sound installation accompanying the series of artist created album cover installations.

The installation, “Notes,” curated by Vera Grant, director of the Cooper Gallery, responds to the first two exhibits with works that focus on how the late 20th Century and 21st Century contemporary artists view and intersect with jazz. It will be featured in the Cooper Gallery’s inner exhibit space consisting of five galleries. It features works by a variety of painters, sculptors, musicians, industrial designers and more including award-winning jazz artist Jason Moran (who contributes a music-based installation in tribute to jazz legends and featuring his own interpretations), conceptual painter Lina Viktor, installation artist Whitfield Lovell, contemporary artist Cullen Washington, photographer Ming Smith, and an installation by Chris Myers.

We will cover more on Boston’s South End in future posts, including a lengthy review on Vejigantes, Toro, and Barcelona.

 

 

 

SiroccoBlue Photography: Bahian Sky Series

These photographs were taken in 2014 at what is termed “um portal” in the capital city of the state of Bahia, Salvador (Brazil).

Slide1   Slide2

Um portal (a doorway or threshold) is a spiritually active geographic position in the city. Here, too, is a crossroads of wind systems where the bay (Bahia de Todos os Santos) meets the open Atlantic Ocean.

Slide3   Slide4

Please send us a line to order prints or our customized cards: SiroccoBlue7@gmail.com

Slide4   Slide5 Slide6   Slide7

Thanks for viewing our photography! Please leave comments and follow us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Sirocco-Blue-547403658769020

There are twelve other photographs in the Bahian Sky series that we will be posting soon.

Falmouth Series

Treasures of Massachusetts. A cold, windy late Fall sunset just outside of Falmouth.

IMG_0268
Enter a caption

IMG_0269 IMG_0270 IMG_0271 IMG_0274

Please email us at SiroccoBlue7@gmail.com for more print information as well as the creation of cards (our writing or content provided by you).

 

Amagansett Series II

The striking light of late Fall, back roads between Montauk and Amangansett, and a brief stop in East Hampton (2016)

IMG_0295    IMG_0306

IMG_0310    IMG_0311

While we set up the online store, please send us an email for more information (and to order) prints. We also create cards with original content or content that you create.

SiroccoBlue7@gmail.com

Sirocco Blue Amagansett Series

Our latest series shot in Amagansett & East Hampton, New York, now available in print:

IMG_0350 IMG_0352 IMG_0363 IMG_0364

Perhaps most dramatic is this final image standing alone, two figures that appear to be rising from an island on another planet:

IMG_0364

We are able to make different print sizes and even customize cards (we would be glad to assist with the written content or simply include your words).

While we set up the online store, please send any questions to SiroccoBlue7@gmail.com