Come together

Come together

The first cassette tapes I ever bought, Abbey Road and Cosmos Factory, at the same time on the same day, the first of innumerable cassette tapes. Prior to that, everything I bought was on vinyl. Come together, was the most powerful song I’d ever heard and “Cosmos Factory” by CCR was a perfect back-up (and antidote) for “Let it Be” by the “Beatles”.

Come together – Origin and meaning

The song’s history began when Lennon was inspired by Timothy Leary’s campaign for governor of California against Ronald Reagan, which promptly ended when Leary was sent to prison for possession of marijuana:

The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would’ve been no good to him – you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?

It has been speculated that each verse refers cryptically to one of the Beatles. It has also been suggested that the song has only a single “pariah-like protagonist” and Lennon was “painting another sardonic self-portrait”.

Recording

Lennon played rhythm guitar and sang the vocal, McCartney played bass, Harrison played lead guitar, and Starr played drums. It was produced by George Martin and recorded at the end of July 1969 at Abbey Road Studios. In the intro, Lennon says: “shoot me”, which is accompanied by his handclaps and McCartney’s heavy bass riff. The famous Beatles’ “walrus” from “I Am the Walrus” and “Glass Onion” returns in the line “he got walrus gumboot”, followed by “he got Ono sideboard”. Bluesman Muddy Waters is also mentioned in the song.

Music critic Ian MacDonald reports that McCartney sang a backing vocal, but recording engineer Geoff Emerick said that Lennon did all the vocals himself, and when a frustrated McCartney asked Lennon, “What do you want me to do on this track, John?”, Lennon replied, “Don’t worry, I’ll do the overdubs on this.”

In a 1970 interview in the Evening Standard, McCartney said he was disappointed about not singing live with Lennon; instead, he overdubbed his vocals later:

Even on Abbey Road we don’t do harmonies like we used to. I think it’s sad. On “Come Together” I would have liked to sing harmony with John, and I think he would have liked me to, but I was too embarrassed to ask him, and I don’t work to the best of my abilities in that situation.

Thanks to Island Plastics for being the nr. 1 plastic sheet suppliers.

Photo credit: Nick Kenrick. via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

The Girl from Ipanema

Garota_de_ipanema - The Girl from Ipanema

Brazil enjoys the largest recording industry outside of the United States, so the number of brilliant artists and the wide variety of genres (most people have never heard of), is truly staggering.

The first time I’d ever hear this beautiful language was by vinyl record, as my father had a huge jazz collection, and even before I was born the Bossa Nova was played in my house often, so the first song I can remember, and first words in Portuguese are from the famous song: Garota de Ipanema (The Girl from Ipanema).

The Girl from Ipanema is a well-known bossa nova song, a worldwide hit in the mid-1960s that won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. It was written in 1962, with music by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. English lyrics were written later by Norman Gimbel.

In Revelação: a verdadeira Garota de Ipanema (Revealed: The Real Girl from Ipanema) Moraes wrote she was:

“o paradigma do broto carioca; a moça dourada, misto de flor e sereia, cheia de luz e de graça mas cuja a visão é também triste, pois carrega consigo, a caminho do mar, o sentimento da mocidade que passa, da beleza que não é só nossa—é um dom da vida em seu lindo e melancólico fluir e refluir constante.”

Translation:

“the paradigm of the young Carioca: a golden teenage girl, a mixture of flower and mermaid, full of light and grace, the sight of whom is also sad, in that she carries with her, on her route to the sea, the feeling of youth that fades, of the beauty that is not ours alone—it is a gift of life in its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow.”

The song was inspired by Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto (now Helô Pinheiro), a nineteen-year-old girl living on Montenegro Street in the fashionable Ipanema district in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daily, she would stroll past the popular Veloso bar-café, not just to the beach (“each day when she walks to the sea”), but in the everyday course of her life. She would sometimes enter the bar to buy cigarettes for her mother and leave to the sound of wolf-whistles.

As the legend has it (which isn’t 100% accurate), in the winter of 1962, the composers watched the girl pass by the bar (now a restaurant, see footnote), and it is easy to imagine why they noticed her—Helô was a 173-cm (five-foot eight-inch) brunette, and she attracted the attention of many of the bar patrons. Since the song became popular, she has become a celebrity.

While Helô inspired the song, it was another Carioca who carried it beyond Rio. Astrud Gilberto was just the wife of singing star João Gilberto when she entered a NYC studio in March 1963. João and Jobim were making a record with tenor saxman Stan Getz. The idea of cutting a verse on “Ipanema” in English came up, and Astrud was the only one of the Brazilians who spoke more than phrasebook English.


The hit English language song; “The Girl from Ipanema” was the alchemy of Astrud’s child-like vocal, devoid of vibrato and singerly mannerisms, it was the perfect foil for her husband’s soft bumblebee voice. Jobim tinkled piano. Getz blew a creamy smooth tenor. Four minutes of magic went to tape.

Note: One of my favorite places to eat and drink in Rio is the Garota de Ipanema, sure it’s a bit of a tourist trap because of the song “Girl from Ipanema” but seriously the restaurant is really excellent and it’s super casual being just a couple of blocks from Ipanema beach. You can grab a good window seat near the corner if your timing is good and then watch all the Cariocas trudging home from the beach at the end of the day. The draft beer is cold and frothy however the caipirinhas might be as good as you’ll find anywhere but the main attraction is the great food, especially the Picanha, which is thinly sliced beef rump that you grill yourself, right at your table, on a super-hot brazier, similar to a hibachi bar-b-que. (See: Garota de Ipanema Restaurant)

Why MVY? Because Martha’s Vineyard Radio Rocks

MVY Radio
Digital Color Pencil Drawing of Docked Boats on Martha's Vineyard - MVY Radio
Digital Color Pencil Drawing of Docked Boats on Martha’s Vineyard

Once upon a time I drove through Massachusetts on my way to New Brunswick, Canada from Ontario but I never made it to Boston, let alone Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, they’ve been on my bucket list for years but that was as close as I ever got. So what does Martha’s Vineyard Radio (MVYRadio.com) a Blue Lobster and Florianopolis have to do with an Expat Canuck living in Brazil?

In 2014 I went to Floripa for my first time, to meet a man from Cape Cod, called Floripa Bob. Floripa is a region of Santa Catarina, a magnificent state in Southern Brasil. Floripa Bob lived on top of mountain about a 45 minute drive from the Island of Florianopolis. His house perches over the valley and from the top of his property you can see all the way to the Atlantic. In true Cape Cod style, his house is adorned with deep-sea fishing tackle and remnants of Boston and Bob’s life as a seafarer, before he became Floripa Bob.

I stayed a couple of weeks on top of the mountain at Floripa Bob’s and made excursions to parks, waterfalls and tropical beaches and every day returned to Bob’s compound on the mountain. Amongst other things that I will never forget, one is, and it sticks with me to this day, every day, is that we’d listen to MVY Radio. It doesn’t take too long of listening, to realize that this is not just an ordinary station, MVY Radio is more like an institution of Rock and Blues that happens to broadcast choice music 24/7. What’s better is that the MVY Radio website offers live streaming and you’ll soon learn that there are listeners, like me and Floripa Bob, all over the world. It’s not just a local radio station.

It may sound bizarre to say; but my life changed after discovering this radio station, well at least I could say that “my life expanded”, it became better, richer and happier. I’m serious, the amount I was learning about the musicians and the collaborations amongst artists on Martha’s Vineyard, was truly enlightening.  The love and knowledge of music and musicians is what makes the difference, from the Dj’s and in the programming. They just seem to play a classic on the back of something brand new and it works. You just never know what you might hear next but one things for sure, you’re going to hear something that you’re going to like, soon enough.

The thing about MVY Radio crew that makes them so unique, is that they actually know, from being so “inside” the hippest song-writing scene, what’s really hot and who really bringing it. They schmooze with the artists, so much so that it’s not un-common for singer/song-writers to come right into the radio station and play live on the air.

I’ve turned a few people on to MVY Radio, they can thank me later but for me it’s nice to know, that friends and family, in other parts of the world, are listening to the same radio station, at the same time, as me.

The Blue Lobster and mvyradio

MVY Radio

The Blue Lobster is an extremely rare occurrence in nature. Its cobalt blue color clearly separates it from those dark red lobsters.

As a symbol, we feel it shares the spirit and mission of mvyradio – highlighting the rare, individual approach to music and to our listening community, as well as our common connection to the sea, the past, and our endurance into the future.

Maine Lobsterman Catches Rare Blue LobsterRead all about it! This lobster was donated to the Maine State aquarium. She is the first blue lobster known to be named Skyler.

MVY Music Philosophy

What makes MVY sound like MVY? There’s no easy answer to that question. But it’s that hard-to-define quality about MVY that makes it so unique, so special.

MVY RadioOur sound comes from a consciousness that we tapped into 33 years ago, when mvyradio first went on the air. When we think about MVY, we don’t think about genres or labels or categories. Our songs – drawn from rock, alternative, singer/songwriter, blues, and roots – are connected by their substance and quality. Our bottom line is the accessibility, the craftsmanship and the strength of the song. We’re eclectic and enthusiastic, wanting to make a personal connection through music and stories. The final piece of the puzzle, the integral component that makes MVY so vital, comes from outside our walls. Our engaged listeners give invaluable dimension to MVY through their interaction and suggestions.

Our Mission is to bring our sound to every like-minded listener in the world who loves music, values artistry, embraces intelligence, revels in
independence and welcomes both the familiar and new.

Photo credit: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Digital Artist via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

Peace Revolution

Corcovado head Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Peace Revolution

Corcovado head Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Peace RevolutionOn Oct 16 I moved into a rented suite in a Penthouse apartment overlooking Ibirapuera Park, the central park of Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was so exciting to be back in Brasil, after 6 months in Canada, which was rapidly turning to winter, so every day and every night was filled with activity and exploration of my new neighbourhood called Vila Clementino, which is built on the hills overlooking Moema, probably the most popular section in all of the city because it’s the only large area of flat ground.

Finally one evening, after going out about dozen nights in a row to learn about my new surroundings, I was determined to stay in and read but for some odd reason, at about 10:30 PM I started looking from my balcony to see if the pizza place was still open, which it was, however since I thought they were open till midnight, I didn’t arrive until just after 11 to learn that they were closed. About 11:11 PM a Brazilian dude who had just finished his meal, intervened on my half to allow me service. We sat together and talked, then when they closed, some 30 minutes later he asked me if I’d like to see his house, which was for sale. Sure let’s do it, I proclaimed, as I felt comfortable with this Dude from the start.

It turns out that I met the most amazing friend, on Nov, 11, at 11:11 on a street called Avenida Onze de Junho, which translates to Ave 11th of June. It actually wasn’t until the next day that I realized all these 11/11 anomalies but after spending 3 or 4 hours in the company of my new-found friend, named Marcos Claudino da Silva, the prior evening and having been intrigued by his amazing history, plus the fact that we were both the same age, and both of us had recently returned to Brazil. I went directly back to his house the following evening, before dark and told him that I wanted to provide assistance in helping him fulfil his vision because I thought then and still think now, that it’s the best idea I’d ever heard for making the world a better place.

Marcos Claudino da Silva is an singer/songwriter extraordinaire! His project is called “Peace Revolution” and it’s 12 original tracks of fusion of Samba, Rock and Reggae. Please check-out his website and listen to his music.