Monday, 14 June 2010

Boa viagem

In less than three weeks - eighteen days, to be accurate, I shall bid farewell to France. Until then, I’m getting ready for the highest peak of months of mayhem.
Changes inevitably bring their share of disturbance and worries. Anxiety blends with excitement and fear. Many things have reached their point of completion: the ballet is done, my album is done, and now my forty years in Paris will come to an end. I still marvel at the fact that I keep a relatively cool head.

I finally managed to pen the last scene from Tales of Hoffmann. I asked Koji to play a violin part, without realising how that was the missing link for the whole ballet to find its coherence. If I have been doubtful and uncertain about the music as I was writing it, now I feel quite satisfied with it. However I still connect to it with reluctance, as if I didn’t quite. I don’t know what came to me when I composed it. Was I possessed?

The new song with Bévinda is finished. It’s called Bôa Viagem (which means 'have a good trip' in Portuguese). 
Ironically, the f…-ya-all aspect I originally wanted was left on the side of the road, as the song ended up being about death and departure. 
All attempt at writing an easy and simple pop song failed miserably. A zebra cannot drop its stripes!
Bévinda had recently lost a dear friend of hers to cancer, and that was what was on her mind. For me, my current thoughts were about departure, change, leaving things behind. Leaving France feels like death. I didn’t want to let these thoughts take too much room when I was preparing for the concert or writing the score to Hoffmann. Now that the big day is coming near, I see that the slow process started a few years ago already but I kept pushing it aside, trying to find ways to stay.
Bôa Viagem really sounds good though. The engaging rhythm and Latin groove remained so the final result isn’t dissimilar to bossa nova, where melancholy is sung on a dance beat. 
And it’s fun to sing in Portuguese!

Listen to:


I finally met Gilbert Castro. We had a short drink not far away from La Bellevilloise – his office was rented from Renaud, the director of La Bellevilloise!
Gilbert attentively listened to my approach to this record, how I wanted to promote it and market it. He agreed that since I was no celebrity, it wouldn’t be necessary to release it on hard copy. Hat would come if a buzz is created around my name and my work. For a start, I told him it would be a wiser move to release it digitally and use the money to shoot a couple of videos.
I’m now recording the vocals to the songs and will give Gilbert all the music before I leave for Japan.
We are thinking of a release in September. Que sera, sera.


The last song completed for the album is Tiên không loi, which is based on a poem by Xuân Diêu that my mother found for me. I added a prelude played by a harp. The musical setting was perfect.  I still didn’t know whether I would be singing on it, but I wanted to have my mother feature in the song. So I tricked her into letting me record her reading it, pretending that I needed to practice my pronunciation. I know she would shy away if she was aware it would end up in the album.
However, I hope this one song in Vietnamese won’t sound misplaced on the album.

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