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Feijoada, Jamming and Zaza at Tropicalia Bistro in Paris – Also an Open Mic

July 20, 2013

feijoada at tropicalia Paris

feijoada at tropicalia Paris

PARIS – I am always astounded when I stumble upon an open mic in Paris that I have never heard of. When it is in the obscure neighborhood of the 17th Arrondissement, near the Brochant métro, and only three stops from my home métro, I’m even more astounded. When it also has a Brazilian flavor to it, my astoundedness goes beyond words. Still, I’ll find a few words for it here….

I was invited to meet my friend Zaza Jardim, a Brazilian artist, at this bistro called Tropicalia near the Brochant métro last night. The idea was to come and say hello and look at her exhibition there of her art, which is an interesting, strong-textured and naturally colored art made from waste that she finds and recycles as art – notably a lot of cigarette butts…. Zaza and I had met last December, before she returned to Brazil, when we made that New Year’s Eve musical video on this blog. So I went to say hello, and found much more than Zaza and her art.

I found a menu for home-made Brazilian food, made by the owner and chef of this Brazilian bistro, Tania Voyer. I also found a strange looking piano, on the ground floor, and a great looking cave beneath. Tania told me – I had my guitar with me – that Tropicalia hosts its own open mic every Tuesday night, for any kind of performer, not just Brazilian music. It is closed for the summer, but will start again on the first Tuesday of September.

So here I was in this obscure Brazilian bistro in an obscure part of Paris and with my guitar and a piano, and the meal that Tania made for me was no sooner ingested with great pleasure – it was the famous Brazilian dish of Feijoada (with pork meat), which is a bit like a goulash stew and rice – when in comes Tania’s son, Loic, and he sat down and began playing music on the piano.

There were some other regular clients, and one began hitting a tambourine. I figured that if this was a place that hosted concerts and open mics, then it was a place where if I pulled out my guitar and started playing and had the others join in, I would be the bienvenue, or whatever the Brazilian equivalent may be. So that’s what I did, opting for songs I thought everyone would know, that were good for tapping the tambourine and playing piano to. So I did a terribly screwed up “What’s Up!” – where I got messed up on the timing somehow – and I did “Wicked Game,” and everyone joined in. Loic then did a few more solo bits, and I did “Father and Son,” without the jam.

Zaza took my Zoom Q3HD and filmed us playing, and like the artist she is, she decided to film her artwork hanging on the walls and mirror, too. So check it out.

Oh, and the feijoada is really worth checking out too. I thought it was great, and Zaza said it was as good or better than any she has had in Brazil….

A 7-Minute 30-second Musical Adventure Around Paris on New Year’s 2012-13 With Brad

January 1, 2013

Brad Spurgeon at St. Lazare Metro New Year's 2012-13

Brad Spurgeon at St. Lazare Metro New Year’s 2012-13

I had just finished eating a nice and quiet meal with my friend Zaza Jardim last night at my apartment and the New Year was less than an hour away. Suddenly, as I was playing a song for her on my guitar on my terrace – and attracting possibly angry looks from my neighbors – my friend said to me: “I have an idea! Let’s go out and take your guitar and go on the métro, go to the Louvre, go around Paris, all over the place, and you will sing your songs with your guitar and I will film it. It is New Year’s in Paris!” My immediate reaction that I said to myself but not to her, was: “Great idea, but I would really rather sit comfortably here and digest my meal and play songs for you. Paris on New Year’s eve can be totally mad and even dangerous.” Ultimately I just felt so comfortable I saw no reason to go out. But her idea!

It had my mind and imagination feeling possibilities. And I thought, so what am I going to do, say to her that we will just sit here like an old couple and watch life go by????? No, I thought it was potentially far more interesting to go with her – after all, what a nice offer to film it too – and I thought, well, of course, because it is New Year’s maybe people in the métro and elsewhere would be more open to craziness.

Man, that’s for SURE! So we went and spent about four hours going across and around Paris, and I sang my songs, and people danced, clapped and sang along. It was Paris in 7 and a half minutes on a New Year’s Eve, and it was wonderful. Not a single person that I played for appeared to even think for one moment that we were doing it for money. No one offered. Oh…someone offered a quarter bottle of champagne under the walkway of the Louvre where I played.

Check out the video we came up with today from last night’s events. All the scenes and the photos were all from that four hour period last night. I hashed it together as a video today.

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