Intersecting Lives

(continued from yesterday)

All day and all night I listen to his new album. Waldemar’s voice, guitar, and message destroy me as always. I wanted to be ready when I saw him up on stage today, to sing along, and soak in all the energy his show radiates. I’m not one of those who sings loudly along with very singer you came to see, an obviously repulsive habit some might have. But I love mouthing the words while I dance in my place.. even if they do try and put me in a seat.

The Tropentheater is colonial as hell. It screams world empire, built in that spirit when the Dutch travelled the world stealing resources and trading slaves, like my Portuguese ancestors. That being said, it’s fucking beautiful. And Waldemar didn’t seemed phased by it, his interest lay with the audience, as always.

The band he brought with him was a familiar one at its core. Zz, Elias, and the quiet Mozambican whos name escapes me, but who once defended me from the fascist private security of the NJPAC in Newark, they were all as fantastic as ever, and when I appeared backstage, they greeted me with hugs, and remembered our meeting in NYC, over 5 years ago. But the band now consisted of a new guitarist, a Senegalese man who on stage became the crowd favorite, and backstage sat down to converse with me about how he’s about to go on a tour of OZ and NZ with Zap Mama. “Et a va avec Zap Mama? Le nouveux cd va bien?” He replied with a very confident, “Mais oui.. tr?s bien.” Together, these artists create an indescribable wall of sound. The kind of wall that is filled with heavenly guitars, make-you-dance cungas, and seductive bass lines, which can teleport you to Luanda for an evening by the sea, watching the fishing boats.

As I walked in the backstage door, ignoring whatever signs telling me not to enter, Waldemar was in mid handshake-hug-signautograph-takephotomode. He wasn’t surprised to see me. He gave me a big smile, bearhug, and demanded the room’s attention, “Voes lembrem-se deste jovem?…” (you guys remember this young man? From NJ to Lisbon, and now he lives here!) And a few people came over to greet me, including one of his sons, who I had only spoken on the phone with a few times. This younger version of Waldemar was not only kind, but an excellent story teller, I couldn’t stop listening to him, as he told a story of the family’s first return to Angola since civil war ended. I MUST GO THERE… I kept thinking.

And well.. the rest of this story stays with me… my memory of yet another meeting with both a man and a musician that I admire to no end. Oh, and I’m invited to his house when I arrive in Lisbon this Tuesday. He kept saying “Now I don’t invite just anyone to my house BM! Only those with good hearts, and you’re like family… so please come.”

I will.

Today’s Sounds: Waldemar Bastos – Live in Amsterdam (my mpegs)

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