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Dia 131 – Ethan Evans – 03 de Julho de 2015

August 21, 2015

For this post I am going to try to catch up on everything that has happened since my last post. First of all, way back in June on Ashley’s last day visiting in Brasilia, we met up with my drummer friend in the music department, Renan, and his girlfriend, and the four of us drove to the Poço Azul waterfalls. It was about an hour and a half drive from my apartment into Brazlândia. Once we got to the entrance, we had to walk about two more kilometers to the waterfalls. At the start of the trail, we saw three people approaching us and greeted them in Portuguese just like normal. I then saw the same look of panic and confusion that I was so accustomed to at the beginning of my time in this country. They were, indeed, Americans. It was the most Americans I had seen in one area since I arrived here. We had a great rest of the day hiking and swimming in the freezing cold water.

Secondly, about two weeks ago, Jake and I were fortunate enough to sit in with Bruno Gafanhoto’s group, Funqqestra, at a jazz festival in downtown Brasilia. He was scheduled to play in between each of the main acts, which included three huge names in MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira)—Raul de Souza, Spok Quinteto, and João Bosco. Raul de Souza is one of the most-revered trombonists in Brazilian history. Although he is getting quite old now, it was great to see him play. Jake and I played with Bruno’s group in a Dixieland kind of setup, slowly moving the crowd back and forth from the main stage to our stage. We were the two American guys trying to pretend like we knew the old Brazilian standards that everyone in the crowd seemed to know by heart. It was awesome.

Last but not least, the semester is over now. Last Friday, I play my last recital (coincidentally, a Brazilian piece for cello), and that was my last day of school. Since the university is on strike (and has been for quite some time), many of my weekends leading up to the last weeks of recitals were spent practicing outside; the music department had fewer hours of operation. It may sound strange, but there is something very calming and meditative about practicing alone outside surrounded by nature. The act of putting your own acoustic sound into the already existing sounds of the trees, birds, and insects is very rewarding and (it seems to me) more revealing as to what you really sound like. On the other hand, it’s a little distracting due to all of the big lizards running around on campus.

I would not be truthful if I said that I loved every aspect of UnB, but I can say that I am very glad that I studied here. The relationships that I have made and the things I have learned through experience are priceless. Being in a situation like this so far away from home can really help you hone into what kind of a musician you want to be and how you want to teach.

Jake and I are heading into the Amazon Rain Forest in a few days. That’s right.

 

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