Monday, February 28, 2005

The Brazilians Have It!

Hey Music Lovers,

Here's some choice gigs for you this week, and I will have more soon.

The first two are from my piano teacher, who happenes to be Earshot's NW Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year, Jovino Santos Neto from Rio De Janeiro. See Jovino's website (linked to above) for a more complete write up of these shows.

Friday, March 4 at 8 PM at Kirkland Performance Center

The Waters Speak

Keith Bear, storyteller, Gary Stroutos, flute, Jovino Santos Neto, composer, pianist; Corey Moraes, dancer

With percussionist Larry Mahlis, and the Saint Helens String Quartet

Performed by an ensemble of Native and non-Native artists, The Waters Speak is a celebration of the Spirit of Place, that intimately personal and yet universal connection of a people and the land they call home. Drawing from the tribal traditions of Native peoples from the Plains to the Pacific Coast, this is a mystical performance of songs, dances and stories, some of which have been handed down for hundreds of years. This performance is a rare occasion for non-Native audiences to hear sacred stories and songs through special permission of the artists and their tribes.

Tickets are $26.00, adult; $10.00 youth; $24.00 seniors

For information or to purchase tickets, call 425-893-9900 or


Kirkland Performance Center


Jovino's Teacher and world renown music genius and and master of life energy (how else can you describe the guy?) Hermeto Pascoals's music will be among featured works

Saturday, March 5 at 8 PM
Jovino Santos Neto and Paul Taub
in Brasil! The Music of Hermeto Pascoal and Friends.

Saturday, March 5, 2005 at 8PM at Poncho Concert Hall (710 East Roy St. in Capitol Hill)

The program will also feature the Jovino Santos Neto Quinteto:

Eric Likkel - clarinet, tenor sax
Chuck Deardorf - bass
Mark Ivester - drums, percussion
Jeff Busch - percussion
plus violinist Paris Hurley and cellist Virginia Dziekonski.

Tickets: $15, $7.50 students, seniors and Cornish College alumni. Tickets can be purchased through Ticket Window at 206.325.6500, Ticket Window Online, or in person at one of the three Ticket Window box offices (Broadway Market, Pike Place Market, and Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center).

And this, from Paula Maya

Paula Maya solo,
performing your favorite Brazilian Bossas.
the newest Brazilian restaurant in Seattle.
EARLY! 6 - 9PM No cover.
1225 1St Ave Seattle, WA 98101 for more info

Valet Parking
Reservations recommended

Wow! The Brazilians have it!

Stay tuned, I have been getting a good response to the blog - there's more great shows to be posted up tomorrow!



Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Gigs of my friends

Hello Music Lovers,

My friends Lucky and Gopal Singh had a successful opening night with DJ Can-Can. She played a mix of rap, hip-hop, Bollywood and Old Skool. The Maharaja had a special drink called Electric Ice Tea that was popular.

The Maharaja will be having Bhangra/Bollywood night on Thursdays now, 10pm-2am, and then on Saturdays we'll get the mix from DJ Can-Can. Appetizers will be free during the music hours. Hint: The Vegetable Samosas are very good!

Maharaja Restaurant, 720 E Pike St (one block west of Broadway, next to the BMW dealership)206-320-0334. They also have take out service and daily buffets.

In addition, I will be booking some shows here on Friday nights. If you have a good idea to bring in 30-50 people with live music on a Friday night, email me at

I went to Nectar in Fremont last night to see Michael Shrieve's Tangletown, and got there too late. They play from 10pm to midnight Tuesdays. I will be there next Tuesday. Michael Shrieve gained fame young in life by playing with the original Santana band. He is the 16-year-old drumming prodigy that played the famous solo at Woodstock. He's not still 16 years old, obviously, but he still plays with as much energy!

He has been living here for several years now, and Tangletown is his new group. My friend Johhnny Conga does latin percussion duties with them. They packed the place last night, and I saw many musicians in the crowd. So I am going next week. See you there.

I als have good friends in a band called the Phat Phunk Phamily. They are truly a family band, with most of their members closely blood-related. They play uplifting soulful grooves, and have a number of talented vocalists, rappers, and instrumentalists. It's a big band, it's a phat sound, check it out. That's my friend Cydney Johnson holding down the Keyboard duties, and my friend Greg on tight drumming.

My friend Elizabeth Carpenter, a very talented and versatile singer and composer will be at Tost on March 8th (that's a Tuesday night). She has new stuff from her third CD to showcase for us.

Paula Maya will be at Nectar this Saturday, the 26th. Here's what I have to say about Paula's band: If you haven't seen them, then where the hell have you been? Waiting for the Second Coming? Get it together and see this band, for crying out loud!

OK, enough raves for some of my friend's groups.

If you want me to post up about your gigs, let me know and I'll check it out. If it passes the Yogi Test, you're in. To pass the Yogi Test, you must have a band that sounds good, and yes, has some redeeming value, like a positive message or at least positive grooves.

And be cool. Whiners get the delete button. Yogi likes chill people with a friendly vibe.



Saturday, February 19, 2005

New Bollywood Night at Maharaja Restaurant

Hey Folks!

Back to the music! I have been fortunate to know some musicians from India in Seattle, and here's a couple of cool things they are doing for you.

First, those of you who attended the Osho Sannyas Celebration at the Maharaja Restaurant know that one of the owners, Gopal Singh, is a very good Punjabi musician. His son Lucky, who is also my good friend is a musician as well. Some of you have come with me to eat the excellent Punjabi food they serve as well.

Gopal Singh, who co-owns the restaurant along with a friend named Jay, and Lucky have opened a small bar inside the Maharaja Restaurant, in the room where we had the party.

They are starting up a Bollywood night on Saturday nights starting 10pm and going until 2pm. They have hired DJ Can-Can to spin Bhangra and Bollywood hits for us, and they have a full bar, plus a small after-hours menu of Indian food.

The Grand Opening is tonite, Feb 19th. Grand Opening is FREE with $2.00 Well Drinks. Here's the poster. FREE, people! DRINKS for $2.00, BOLLYWOOD and BHANGRA MUSIC!

Come on, does it get any better than this? Of course not! I'll be there with my friends, so come on out. It's at 720 E. Pike St, which is one block west of Broadway on Pike St in Capitol Hill. It has a yellow sign that says Maharaja and is next to a car dealership.

Next time, I'll have some live-band Indian/Bollywood gigs for you. I have been collaborating with a well-known Bollywood singer. So check this blog every couple of days for new posts.

Click where the envelope is next to "Comments" below to reply. I'd love to hear from you. Use email if asked.



Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Little Filipino WWII History

The Philipino American Retirement Association (PAMRA) set up some side tours for us during our week in Manila. One of the most memorable was to a small island called Corregidor. Corregidor was the last island in the Philipippnes to fall to the Japanese in 1942. The Filipinos built a system of tunnels underneath the biggest part of the island, and stayed there with some American soldiers during the final part of the Japanese seige. General Douglas MacArthur was with them. MacArthur had a special affinity for the Philippines. He already was living there in retirement when WWII broke out and he was asked to command the American Pacific forces. He was able to sneak out Corregidor right under the nose of the Japanese and made his famous promise of "I Shall Return" to the Filipinos. Three years later, he made good on his promise, re-entering the Philippines through the island of Leyte in the south, and retaking Corregidor, liberating dozens of Filipino and American prisoners of war when he did. The whole story is too much to reprint here, and for those of you interested in WWII history, its a fascinating story of human determination, loyalty, and suffering.

MacArthur had not only the Japanese to fight to return to the Philippines - President Truman and all the other American Chiefs of Staff did not support him in the idea. They did not see the strategic importance of recapturing the Philippines until after some very serious debates in which MacArthur passionately laid out his case, making it clear he would not relent. Finally Truman agreed. I find it interesting that even though in retrospect we can see how important the retaking of the Philippines was to American Pacific stratgey, the Chiefs of Staff, and the President, did not consider it important at the time.

Here's Alicia standing in front of the statue of Gen. MacArthur.

Here's a bombed out American Barracks. On the second day of the assault, the Japanese dropped 16,000 bombs on Corregidor (which is smaller than the island of Oahu in Hawaii). 90% of all standing structures on the island were damaged or completely destroyed in one day. One the third day, a bomb hit the ammunitions depot on the island. So much fallout was created that it was dark for three solid days. The Japanese could not see Corregidor and thought it had been blown back into the sea.

Most of the survivors were huddled in the big Malinta Tunnel, which had been built under a small mountain on the main part of the island. A makeshift hospital had been set up there, even though there were not much medical supplies to help the injured with. Here's a group photo of us in front of the Malinta Tunnel. Inside now is a light and sound show that tells the story of the tunnel system, how it was built and what happened to the people inside of it. Some people were inside there as prisoners of war during the entire three year Japanese occupation.

Here's a shot I took from inside one of the smaller tunnels that had been built elsewhere on the island. It was kind of eerie in there.

This a statue the Japanese Emporer had built on Corrigedor. It is now used to honor the Japanese who died during the capture, occupation, and re-taking of Corregidor. It looks to me like a statue of Quan-Yin, the Buddhist Deity of Compassion. I do not know the significance of the babies. I had never seen a Quan Yin with babies on it before.

This is a machine gun behind some sandbags that was used to defend the island.

Here's a view of a small beach near the pavilion where we ate lunch on Corregidor. The Island is a national monument now, and the only people who live there are the Filipino caretakers and their families.

Here I am standing in front of a statue honoring the alliance between thw Americans and the Filipinos. Even though the Philippines asked the American Navy to remove their bases, which we did in the early 1990s, Filipinos still feel a strong bond with Americans. I was welcomed warmly by the people everywhere I went, whether they knew me or not.

More again tomorrow...


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Down on the Farm

Hey Everyone,

Here's some more stuff we did in the Philippines:

We went down to the old farmhouse where my friends, the Perpuse family lived up until the late 1960s. The farmhouse is not lived in anymore, and the Perpuses are not farmers anymore, as they are increasingly going abroad (mostly to America, some to Europe) to work and then retiring in the Philippines. The family gives generously to the local church and has built a nice school called the Perpuse Learning Center for grades K through 3 in the town of San Quintin.

Here's Farmer Yogi - Howdy Y'all!

So the old farmhouse is not inhabited anymore, but someone from the family usually goes there once or twice a week to feed the chickens and check on the two dogs that live there. There's also mango, jackfruit, and star-apple trees that they still harvest the fruits from. So we went down to the farm one day. We took the farmtruck shown here. OK, guys, who can tell me what make of truck this is? Answer is below.

The truck is homemade. It has a toyota five-speed engine, rear-wheel drive. It is not a 4x4, but it has very powerful low gears. A lot of people still build their own cars in the Philippines, and every family has at least one or two guys who are self-taught mechanics.

So then we come to the old farmhouse. This is the wife of my friend Jhun who took us there that day.

To get water, the people drill down to the water table and make a pump. They then pump up the water. Here's Jhun's wife, her daughter Theresa, and Cherry and Josie doing laundry at the water pump. Most people still do laundry this way in the Philippines.

Here's a shot of the old kitchen, showing the wood stove, and some pots and pans. Many people cook in kitchens like this, or simply build an outdoor fire in their backyard and wash dishes at the pump.

Now its time to check on the star-apples and mangoes. I volunteer to pick mangoes. This is done very similar to the way apples are picked here in Washington State. There is a makeshift ladder constructed from bamboo, and then you have a long pole with a hook and a little net on the end to pluck and catch the mangoes. Sometimes a bucket is tied to the end of the hook pole instead of netting. This is me standing on a ladder stretching to get at some mangoes that are about 25 feet off the ground.

Here's Cherry hooking up the bucket for Jhun. He was after some big mangoes we couldn't reach even with the ladder and pole. The mango trees here are old, some of the fruit is 40 or 50 feet from the ground. You have to climb the tree and then extend the pole from the branches to get them.

Here's Jhun climbing back out of a mango tree.

Here's Theresa taking a cookie break.

OK, farmer boys and girls. Enough for today. Join us tomorrow for trips up a mountain river rapids, and into the mountains north of Manila.



Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A few more pix


Here's some more tidbits from my trip.

Here's my friend and travel guide Leticia whose home we stayed in. She was a most gracious and educational hostess, and her family made sure everyone was well taken care of.

Here's several of the people I hung out with in the trip. From the left is Cherry, Josie, Alicia, Alberta, Leticia, me, and Abe. Alicia and Leticia are sisters, Alberta is their sister-in-law, Josie is their neice, and Cherry is Josie's roommate. Abe is Alicia's husband. Only Josie and Cherry live in the Philippines currently, the rest of us are from the USA. This was taken in our five-star hotel in Manila.

Here's the house I stayed in in the province of Pangansinan, north from Manila, in a town called San Quintin. Alberta and her husband Danny, along with Leticia, and her sisters, own this property. The house is currently being remodeled, and the view you see here is due to be completely demolished and replaced by a newer, Spanish-style home.

Here's my bed in my room. It was made of bamboo. It was really comfortable and had good back support. I slept really well most nights.

This is Shirley. She a Christian mystic who travels around the Philippines healing and giving massage. We made a good friendship. She is also close to Leticia's family, and lives about two blocks away from them.

Here we are buying pancakes in the market in San Quintin. The Filipino pancakes are corn pancakes, and are very light and delicious.

More pix later,


Monday, February 07, 2005

Back from the Philippines

Hello !

I arrived back from the Philippines last night and took a day to chill and ground myself back to Seattle. Here's me on the farm of the family I stayed with. They now stay in the town, more on that tomorrow...

The Philippines is a wonderful place. It has an interesting mix of cultural influences. And it is big for an island nation (the world's second-biggest archipelago). The earliest influence is the Pacific-Islander culture, and then there has been a Spanish/Roman Catholic influence starting in the 1600's, then the USA acquired the Philippines as a territory in 1898, and then full independence after World War II. So you could say its a southeast asian-pacific/spanish/christian democracy.

Like other asian -pacific nations it has one foot in the third world, and one foot in the first world. There's not much middle class. There are nationals and foreigners who have worked in the west or developed huge corporations, and they are tremendously wealthy by Filipino standards. And there are the locals who struggle to get by.

Environmentally, The Philippines remind me a lot of India. Hot, open fires burning, especially starting around 5pm, as most people cook outdoors on wood-burning stoves. Dusty streets, some paved, most not. Add high humidity to the 90 degree-plus temperatures and the faint smell of fish in various stages of decay, and, in the cities add lots (and I mean LOTS) of smog and diesel fumes. Oh, and there's no trash collection most places, and in the cities they have open sewers running along the streets. Beggars, and many, many people setting up makeshifts shops along all the streets selling anything they can manage to buy and resell to passersby (clothing, crafts, dried fish of course, snacks, drinks, well - anything). Here's a pic of a local market in the provincial city of San Quintin, where I stayed for two weeks.

Streets clogged with traffic. The Filipinos have a special affinity for a vehicle they call the Jeepney, which is a modified American-style jeep whose rear has been extended to hold up to twenty people. The legend is that the Filipinos discovered that the Jeeps left behind by American forces in World War II could be modified, and it became a favorite. Jeepneys cruise the cities and the rural provinces, usually each driver picks a route he prefers, and he picks up and lets off passengers for a small fee along the way. The drivers have all modified the body of their Jeepneys and decorated them with a colorful paint job, the names of their families, and also many times a profession of their religious beliefs, or simply a prayer such as "God Bless Our Trip". Here's the jeepney we took on a ride to the beach one day.

Also popular is a vehicle called the "tricycle," which is basically a small motorcycle ,like a Yamaha or Honda, with a rider car attached, and can hold up to three or four passengers plus the driver. Then in the cities there are taxis, and then there are various types of buses. The tourist buses have air-conditioning, and some of the cabs do. Air-conditioning is a luxury in the Philippines and provides a welcome respite from the smog. This is a shot of a street in the mountain city of Baguio. Note that jeepneys outnumber any other type of vehicle on the street.

So all that is very southeast asian. But wait....why are all the signs on the shops and businesses in English? After all, most people speak Tagalog, the national language. The government decided, a couple of decades ago, to begin teaching in schools in English as well as Tagalog. The idea is that Filipinos will be able to read, understand, and converse at least minimally in English. The Filipinos know that English is the language of choice in the west, for business, education, and travel, so they want new generations to be able to compete in the global marketplace. I found that I could converse with children and young people easier than with the older generation.

Another sriking difference from the rest of Asia is this: Catholic Churches everywhere. The Philippines are the only Asian nation that has been primarily
Christian for hundreds of years. Thank the Spanish for this. The Philippines are 85 percent Roman Catholic, and many of the Filipino people are devout. I myself went to several masses, which, in Manila and the North at least, are in a combination of Tagalog and English. There are new, modern churches being built everywhere, and the older shrines are kept in good condition and have a constant stream of visitors, regular attendees, and pilgrims. Here's the local Church that the family I stayed with attends.

How the Philippines came to be under the influence of the Spanish is a very interesting story and links them with, of all places, Brazil. In the 1600's, the
Portuguese, and the Spanish had explorers competing to "discover" and claim parts of the so-called "New World" (which means everything outside Europe, Asia minor, India and China). Portugal and Spain had made an agreement as to which lands were to be claimed by each country, and this agreement originally included the Philippines as a colony of Portugal. However, the Portuguese explorer Magellan, who would be the one to explore the Philippines, could not, for political reasons, get funding from the Portuguese royalty. So he went to Spain looking for funding, and found it there.

Meanwhile, Brazil was originally, under the Spain-Portugal agreement, to be a Spanish territory, along with the rest of South America and parts of North America. But because Magellan was funded by Spain, a trade was arranged by which the Philippines was ceded to Spain in exchange for Brazil. And that is why Brazil became the only Portuguese-speaking country in Latin America, and why the Philippines became the only Spanish-influenced culture of the Asian/Pacific. And that is why, of course, Catholicism is the primary religion of both countries.

I'll post about my personal experiences more pix tomorrow, so stay tuned...