practice on the veranda much?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept 12

Okay- a week has passed and there IS some new stuff. Hope you guys are all up date with us, but if not, you can check the earlier blogs on the right.

I went to a “canja” last week. A canja is basically a jam session, nothing too different or special. However, we played jazz, exclusively, which I thought was different. We did play one Bossa, but nothing uniquely Brazilian. The horn players did want to play Vale de Ribeira, but I think the rhythm section was all about jazz that night. I made some new friends, and enjoyed some great music. That was Monday. Friday I enjoyed a night out with some folks from a rival school, PUCC. I was re-assured that I no ill-will would befall me because of my educational status, turns out that the PUCC students merely detest Unicamp’s medical students; something about them being stuck about (imagine that). It was a grand night of merry-making filled with merry merriness. I lament to inform you all that we could not find a hamburger place open, which made me remember how much I miss White Castle, but, there were plenty of hot-dog places open. For those of you keeping score at home, I do not like hot dogs.

I started applying to grad schools this past weekend and also got to meet the trumpet teacher from Unicamp today. There’s still a delay for him being able to teach here at Unicamp, but they’re trying to figure it out. He said that it should be about 2 weeks, but he is excited that I am playing with the orchestra. My friend from the orchestra, Fernando, said that there might be opportunities to play in brass ensembles as well!

It’s a little hectic down here in the sense that, we sometimes have no idea what’s going on in terms of whether we’re going to rehearse during the week or not. It’s weird to us because at CCM, we have a schedule that literally doesn’t ever change- there’s always big band from 2-4 on MWF… I don’t know- just thought I’d mention. Everyone is also way too relaxed about it.

We’d like to share the fact that we were famous for one night as well. Moe and I were featured artists in one of Campinas’ finest café/restaurants called the Almanaque Café. We kicked off a festival they’re holding all month for Miles Davis, himself. The whole first set we played was his “Kind Of Blue” album- the best selling jazz album of all time. After that, we broke loose a bit more and played standards Miles would play later in his career and we even broke some new ground in terms of our playing as well as with this group of guys we had the honor of playing with- Felipe Silveira on kets, Daniel “Pezim” on bass, and Juan (forgot last name, oops) on drums. It was a wonderful evening of music and we played for a packed house that included friends of ours from school as well as Shirley and Moisir, our landlords! They enjoyed it very much and took lots of pictures. When we were remembering this in our week for the blog, the way Moe brought it up was as such: “Our names were on the top of a billboard!” And they were; they really were. We felt like it the best we’ve played in a while and it felt good to be on and in the scene with some killer musicians again, reminding us yet again of Cincinnati and how it’s treated us.

Thanks for checking in! We'll keep posting!

M and M 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New digs, old digs, and some stuff we dig


Hi, Moe here. The last few weeks or so that we spent in Brasilia were pretty amazing. It was as if the city itself were trying so desperately, one last time to show us a good time before we moved on to the awesomeness that is Campinas. Mike, Zack (a fellow American expatriate from the university of Louisville) and myself traveled to the zoo with our Portuguese teacher, Lauana. Lauana’s kindness and compassion, not to mention her passion for teaching cannot be overstated, thank you for everything.  The zoo was great, we saw and experienced a lot there, and for only 2 reais, the price was just right. 
  We also saw Captain America, which filled me with such a nationalistic pride that I tried to cajole Mike into a rousing “USA USA chant,” much to his chagrin. But seriously, seeing that American icon on the big screen made me sentimental for home, and made me remember how great America is. I mean, practically saving the free world from the clutches of the Axis powers? Yay America .  But seriously, being immersed in a foreign culture is not only boosting our appreciation for all types of people and foods and such, but also our appreciation for our own home and country.
   In addition to that, we spent some time over by the man-made lake, ate seaside (twice) and perused the sidewalk listening to urban legends of man-eating crocodiles in the lake. 
   As we prepared to leave the following morning, we looked around our digs at Colina (the student/faculty housing site we had been residing in) one last time. So many (good?) memories.  A few thank you’s: Renato Vasconcellos for taking such good care of us while we were there, our fellow Americans Zack Kennedy and Jon Gardener for the good hang, and the students and faculty of UNB for treating us like some of their own.

Mike here now. Well, I know we haven’t updated in quite a while… to be honest, it’s almost been like a full month and a half since I think we last updated. Yup- just checked- July 12. Wow. Okay, but seriously we are going to keep a steady update on things now that we are definitely settled in into our new home in Campinas.

Unicamp is great and we’re meeting people to play with and hang out with. We’ve already had some awesome times here- musically and life-wise.

First of all, I never imagined that we would open a show for Streetlight Manifesto- a punk rock/ska band from America- while we were down HERE in Brazil! We met some guys who were in this band, Mantis, and Moe just openly was talking about how he loved Streetlight Manifesto- they got to talking and the rest was history. What an amazing experience- I don’t think I’ve ever played so loud, unless it’s with (shout out to) Ryan Thielman in big band.  Haha!

We are officially enrolled here at Unicamp. Moe and I are getting very involved- I believe we’re in about 4 school ensembles total. I am trying to get in touch with the orchestra’s conductor to look into that. As well, Moe is taking privately with the Trombone instructor here and seems to be liking his lessons. I am currently trying to get in touch with the trumpet professor here as well as a teacher from Sao Paulo who, one of my teachers, Kim Pensyl, took a lesson (or had a sit down?) with him and said he was fantastic.

That reminds me- we did get to see Kim and Phil last week when they passed through Brazil, which was an awesome idea for them as well as it was equally great to see them again. It’s good to see “home” again at times, even though we’re caught up in several things here and enjoying most all of it.

We’re going to keep updating, so more news to come- even if it’s past news. Thanks for checking in with us.

Mike and Moe