Oi! from Passo Fundo. It is a balmy 86 degrees , and I'm looking out of a window in the neighborhood of Vergueiro at palm trees, and beautiful houses. Wow, it hás been a whirlwind two and a half days since we first touched down in Brazil and met with our peoples, Zajazza.
My journey started on the L.I.R.R. meeting up with Rabbi and heading out from JFK on the first flight, which was a total of 12 hours! I slept most of it, but did have time to reflect on the life journey I've taken, that hás enabled me to take this one. I truly feel blessed; representing my music on yet another continent. We landed no problems, and stayed one night in Porto Alegre at a small hotel, we booked. The people in Brazil have been very friendly, accomodating and tolerant of my complete lack of portugese, to which I am eternally grateful.
From here we rode a bus four hours south to Passo Fundo a small town of about 180,000 people. I unfortunately slept through most of the bus trip, but Rabbi told me it was beautiful.(you can check some of his pics and his blog actually at Skilz to take Brazil tour) We actually arrived a few hours later then expected, as we missed our first bus out , but no problems. The food hás been good, mostly a play on certain American fare, and they eat French Fries pretty much at every meal. Happily, unlike the Czech, I've been able to get veggies fairly easy here. Similar to the Czechs, the mainstay is meat but more chicken and pork. We were greeted by Zajazza and two members of the crew that was hosting us here, Dave and Alessio, of URS Fundao. They are the biggest crew in Passo Fundo apparently, and number some 20 plus heads. They remind me of a Brazilian Hiero, with the eklectic nature of each member, and their very strong D.I.Y. sensibilities.
We arrived in Vergueiro, a neighborhood in Passo Fundo, to a beautiful house. Dave, Who speaks very good english, gave us a lay of the land. Passo Fundo is essentially a college town with four universities, and like most of Brazil hás a large disparity between the rich and the poor. Ripe ground for any head to draw inspiration from. He explained the serious crack problem his city hás, and Zajazza relayed to us further tales of young children, strung out on the street. We actually witnessed Dave hand a real (brazilian currency) to a junkie, who propositioned us on our way back from dinner. Its crazy how one of the worst epidemics of the modern era, hás resurfaced thousands of miles away in this small quiet city.
The Day was spent meeting everyone, Noleis, Marava, Beb, Giba (whose house it is we are staying) and the rest of the crew. Zajazza and Dave made us aware that this is literally the only party that would be going on in the entire city and they postered the town with flyers, and even gotten spots on the radio for our music to be played! Crazy since this was literally going to be a house party. And talk about a party, about 300 people came through to check Rabbi, Zajazza and myself rock out. It was an amazing event complete with vip room, security, two bars, movie projection, and seriously the illest sound check we~ve ever witnessed. We dropped a crazy 90 minute set of songs, freestyles, turntablism, and beatboxing.
By about 4 am it was pretty much a free for all on stage with URS Fundao, and friends joining us on stage to rock. Dope times. I've spent a lot of time talking to Dave and getting a sense of what's going on here. It hás been crazy to get people~s perspective on America and our "rap". At least here in Passo Fundo, they believe Brooklyn is still the eighties, and that rap is ruled by gang beefs and drug kingpins ala New Jack City. I dont think we disappointed them so much as surprised them to the realities that we deal with on a daily being Brooklyn residents, and teachers interacting with the very youth they consider some of the most "gangsta" heads to ever live.
Today hás been spent recovering from the night before and a quick tour around their city Center. A quick bite at the mall, and I am back here listening to beats, and getting ready for the session this evening. I will be in Passo Fundo for a couple more days, but the damage hás been already done.
The Skillz to take Brazil are off and running, Brooklyn is in the building...
For more pictures check out my myspace page..Hired Gun Myspace and stay tuned here at Straight Organics for the next check in on the tour...next stop PORTO ALEGRE!!!!