Here I am, looking at some of the books above my desk while writing to you... I LOVE reading autobiographies. It's a great opportunity to learn about our human condition. The stories inside of the stories inspire me to create the annual shows for the Brazilian Heart series, and bring wisdom and compassion into my life.
I feel blessed for reading in Portuguese and English, and wish I could read in other languages. It takes a long time to grasp the details of a culture; the desires and behavior of human beings born in a different country. Said that, it was very exciting to know a little bit about Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald this winter, in preparation for writing the script of Brazilian Heart, a Celebration in collaboration with Mariana Leite and Deborah Edler-Brown. I also reviewed fases of Tom Jobim's life (he would be 90 years old this year), and added moving stories and quotes of all these artists among songs written by Cole Porter, Ivan, Lins, George and Ira Gershwin, Chico Buarque, Duke Ellington and Bob Russell, Dori Caymmi, and many other composers. The artists' words enchanted not only non-English speaking people from the audience, but the original people of this land who had the opportunity to be reminded how powerful their culture is, and what an important role they (we all) play in each other's life.
It's a miracle how we pull together these shows with just one general meeting and two musical rehearsals. What a blessing to make magic on stage! And speaking about magic and miracle, the biggest one this year, was the presence of soulful dancer Laila Abdullah substituting my friend Nagodê who got injured. Lailah brought the soul of 1930's dance to the stage and embodied Ella Fitzgerald's early desire to express herself. Like I said on the scene created to pay homage to Ella's Centennial:
"One day I woke up and everything made sense. Ella is "she" in Portuguese. She wanted to dance and ended singing. Lucky us."