Bahia, Brazil 2012

8th Festival Internacional de Artistas de Rua da Bahia
Small town interior Bahia, Brazil, O Sertaõ,
long distances, dry matorral, the festival is 28 of us rolling in a luxury bus. Constantly hot and sunny, warm even in the middle of the night, lots of flowers, tropical fruit and coconut water. The Brazilian lifestyle is hours laughing and drinking beer or fruit juices at plastic tables outdoors. Music everywhere, fantastic food, more live music in the back of the bus then I usually get in a month back home.

Music in the back of the bus.

In Sobradinho, the smallest town, the people did not know how to be an audience, everybody seemed to be leaving in the middle of the show and then coming back again, over and over, yelling random stuff. Yet as soon as the show was over I was pestered for autographs non-stop until I finally hid in the backstage.

In Juazeiro all the foreigners except Rocky and me got sick. Well I got a little bit of the shits but as long as I spend 11 hours a day in bed and drink water all the time then I’m fine.

In Juazeiro and Paulo Afonso I had fantastic shows, warm audiences, lots of improv, people loved us. I can do my show in Portuguese. Hamilton form Grup Barlavento said the Portuguese in my show sounded good and my ‘sentences were well constructed. Whoo!  I can even socialize in Portuguese. Sort of. Sometimes. Not Really.

In Paulo Alfonso
Bernard, our faithful leader

Our cast, Bernard, German one-man band speaks fluent Portuguese and Selma Santo, laughing actress extraordinaire are the festival directors.

Daniela, sweet and beautiful all the time, which helps because she’s the one telling us to be ready with our gear for a school show at 9:00 as we pull into the hotel at 2:00 AM. She has been instructed to speak Portuguese with me.

A bella Daniela
Jann, and Marina and Anne from Chickiboom. Coconut and a straw everyday!

Jan Djuggledy, my buddy, we met in Berlin, then in Aosta, Italy,  then passed a few weeks in tight company in Chile and now in Brasil. In between Chile and Brazil (while I went home to Oregon) he travelled all the way to Bolivia just so he could do one street show at 11,000 feet of altitude. He has the perfect street show as a rasta clown diabolo whiz. But the big guy was brought down hard in Bahia, a week tied closely to the porcelain throne and three times brought to the hospital to rehydrate. We speak Spanish together.

Chickiboom in action

The rest of the Spanish crew is compromised of Adrian, a funny Argentine puppeteer and ChikBoom who sing such subtly phrased 3 part jazz a-cappella harmony, very much like the Stolen Sweets.

Adrian and me.

The English speaking crew is Pieter, a magician from Budapest and Rocky, a master blues player who made his name doing a Robert Johnson shows and played with some of the great blues legends. He’s got to be 60 but he’s the only gringo who doesn’t get sick, cuz he’s tough.

Rocky Lawrence playing the blues

And Tora, our visual artist. Her racial mix, jewish, African, and Native American makes her look Brazilian but she hails from Brooklyn.

Tora, artist extraordinaire

Mauricio, Mustapha, from Salvador does a hilarious magic show in which he performs zero magic.

The amazing Mustapha, Mauricio. He hosted us a wonderful night in Salvador.
Barlavento with Davison and Hamilton up front

Grupo Barlavento plays a variety of Brazilian music styles with rthym and subtlety.


Giovanni, a tall man with a perfectly muscular body, a dancers grace and gorgeous deep voice does a one-man Caproiera show. In real life he isa  modern dance choreographer and the sexiest 50 year man alive.

Monique, a fire-spinner and mystic right from Juazeiro. And Danni and a small army of super fun production assistants, and many more too.

Color me cowboy kids!

9 days rolling through the dry Sertaõ with this gang, loading, unloading, big street shows, and crazy school shows, playing music, beers and long chatty waits for food in restaurants.  Switching from Portuguese to Spanish to English and back.

The huge muddy Sao Francisco river.  A walk across it to Pernambuco (Chico Science!, Eddy!) with Hamilton and Davison. I did some great bird spotting too on that river too.  Aah thank you people I have a great time.  Brazil!