Mitchell Long

Cabo Verde IS green!

 

You may wonder as you go from island to island why the call it "cape green" because there is very little green vegetation and it looks like a dry desert with some big barren mountains... But then we went to island of Brava. And what an amazing experience it was. The only access is a one and a half hour trip from Fogo by boat and the boats only travel two or three times a week or you can rent a small and run down yaught like we did. When we arrived it looks like the other islands, but more mountainous. What a surprise as we loaded into and climbed on to the back of some pick up trucks and started up the winding typical Cape Verdean cobblestone roads. We drove up towards the clouds and into the most lush paradise blooming everywhere with flowers trees and gardens with milho verde. The simple and tranquil roads and small houses of the city of Nova Cintra are perfectly romantic. The people are simple and real. But the the varied current of electricity burned out the power amps and we had to cancel the show that night. But Maria de Barros, (whos family is originaly from Brava) showed her fierce determination to the people. They had waited for hours and hours to see her and welcome her home. so she said she would sail back the next morning to Fogo and bring replacement equipment. She even got stranded floating in the middle of the sea on the way back for 4 hours when a engine belt broke on the boat. But after all the work we were there with a full sound system and alot of heart at 8:30 pm playing one of the most beautiful shows ever. The many children swarmed to the front of the stage and literally bathed Maria constantly with beautiful flowers. It was an emotional and soulful feeling to be there in that small town square playing a free show for those many people with such soulfull faces, smiles and exuberant energy. What a great and special show!!! Maria de Barros, I will say it again: I love you ...and the band!

Tud Dret

 

Tud dret means all is good. And its going great here in Cabo Verde. We have played some memorable big festival shows including the famous Baia das Gatas. Maria got down and gave one of the best shows I ever saw. And it was an incredible feeling to finally be in front of the great crowd of Cape Verdeans. There so many great acts I saw there as well, like Cesaria Evora, Sara Tavares, and so many more. We played an incredible concert in Praia, isle of Santiago. It was a pleasure to play in the capital of Cabo Verde for an audience that included the president, and many of the great musicians from the Cape Verdean community. It was an emotionally charged evening and the band played great. Maria was barefoot and brilliant. There have been so many experiences here that are beyond words. I feel so lucky to have learned about the music here in Cabo Verde. To finally be here has many times brought tears of joy and imense appreciation of a very interesting culture thriving in the middle of the sea. It is Africa, It is Brasil, It is Europe, but mostly its CAPE VERDE and constantly becoming Cape Verde. A new world with a painfull past and difficult future, but you cannot find a smile more beautiful than on the faces of the people here, and the music, the music, the music. I feel the Funana entering into my veins like a delicious and firey veneno that doesnt stop untill everyone is dancing. The mourna with so many great singers crooning with big full emotional voices. The sensual Zouk dancing into the early morning with the Kriolas. The sambas, coladeiras, chorinhos, mazurkas, batuque, etc... Its alot to take in! And there are some wizards of the guitar like some old men I saw in a cafe in Sao Vicente, Biuj with his velvet voice and fierce rythmic style or Quim Alves, the brother of Kako who playes with Cesaria. I got to rehearse his original music for possible concerts coming up in America and it was like a master class in Cape Verdean folkloric styles. He was explaining the roots and talked about the many rhythms that are rare but fantastic styles in the history of music here. I think he said Santiago has 18 different rhythmic styles. I had a treat to go see a rehearsal of a dance company here and the drumming was done by 12 to 15 years boys, but they played fast and hard like adults. The dance was traditional mixed with modern interpretations. At one point they did an exaggerated version of the Funana that was spectacular. I look forward to seeing their performance soon. The tenacity of art here is inspiring. They rehearsed in a tiny open air room that was so hot, but they didnt stop or pause, they worked relentlessly! The term starving artist here takes on another meaning. There are no grants to pay for producing shows or air conditioned studios to work in... This is a recurring theme here I see, Like a flower blossoming from a crack in the concrete. When I return home I look forward to sharing a big show of pictures from the trip. Abraco Me Chill

Cabo Verde!

 

I will be on tour to Cape Verde with Maria de Barros from august 3rd until September 19th. We will be playing concerts and festivals on many different islands and recording tracks for her third release. I am looking forward to meeting the home and culture finally of this wonderful music and people I have embraced and been enchanted by. I should have some good stories for you when I get back!

Ted Falcons CD release party...

 

Here is one way to let you know some of what I have been up to... A review of a recent show. WORLD MUSIC REVIEW Sounds of Brazil, via Southland By Don Heckman, Special to The Times Here's an idea for some of the Southland's numerous music presenters: In your quest to showcase music from around the world, don't overlook the diverse performers and ensembles available right here in Southern California. That thought kept persisting during the performance Wednesday by Ted Falcon and the Los Angeles Choro Ensemble at the Vic in Santa Monica. One of the first presentations in the venue's dedication to unusual programming in the new "Fission Wednesdays" series, the Choro Ensemble's performance was enhanced by guest singer Katia Moraes, ukulele player Marvin Falcon and flutist Rebecca Kleinmann. Choro is often labeled the "New Orleans jazz of Brazil" and there are similarities, most notably in the brisk rhythmic swing, the fast-paced, improvisation-like melodies and the melting pot blend of African rhythms with European harmonies. But choro icons such as Pixinguinha and Jacob do Bandolim took the music into even more adventurous arenas, in the process creating a uniquely Brazilian form of expression. Ted Falcon, who is not Brazilian, is nonetheless fascinated by choro and has spent years dedicating himself to the music with an outsider's passion. His performance at the Vic offered selections from his new album, "Memorias do Brasil," a fascinating assemblage of classic choro and new originals driven by his mandolin and violin skills and rich compositional insights. Among the highlights: a dynamic solo-driven romp through Do Bandolim's "Assanhado" featuring Mitchell Long's electrifying playing of the cavaquinho (a small four-string guitar), and Falcon's own "Choro Nova," with its combination of complex harmonies and shifting rhythms. The guest performers added more spice to the proceedings. Marvin Falcon (Ted's jazz musician father) called for a musical shift of gears with a Hot Club of France-inspired jazz take on "Lady Be Good." Kleinmann's warm toned, lyrical flute offered a colorful contrast to the fast-paced clarinet work of Andy Connell. And Moraes' singing, as always, was a virtual definition of the passion that is an implicit part of Brazilian music.

Journal 5/8/2006

 

I just got back from a trip to Louisiana with Maria de Barros. We had a fantastic trip, I really love this band and the music. All the elements are present; good happy people and freindship, soulfull and skillfull musicianship, great original melodies and infectious grooves, and beautiful Marias dedication and grace at the helm. Viva Cabo Verde! We played the House of Blues with The Skatelites and The Iguanas. Then at the Festival International de Louisiane, where Cyro Baptistas rhythmic and irreverent "Beat the Donkey" and all the African bands blew my mind. This is an excellent music festival. We are happy to have the help of Putumayo our new record company and distributor. They are a great company with my kind of taste in music, and just wonderful people. I felt it was important to see New Orleans during Jazz Fest and the way they are coming through the storm. The hurricanes destruction was primordial scary and merciless. And lets face it, the abandonment of all these people on the Gulf Coast and in the city of New Orleans is one horrific chapter in our country. And they are not happy about it. But the storm settles and there we were with a friend and fan we met, Denis Rufin, who had lost everything... He invited the whole band on a wonderful warm evening to his new apartment and treated us out on his lovely porch to my favorite drink: ti-punch made with Rhum agricole from Guadeloupe and so much crawfish-potatoes-corn on the cob and beer we couldnt finish it all, we then wandered down the street to The Maple Leaf where Papa Grows Funk was doing the funk louisiana thing, the real funky deal... amen

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