The weather people predicted cold and icy rain, but I am damned if I am going to stay in and miss the Brazilian supergroup The Tribalistas. Not only that, but there would be almost a couple of thousand Brazilians gathered together. In one place. What sane person would miss that? Just the thought of being among that many Brazilians warms me up.
An hour before the show, the line to get in is 300 yards long. (Boston has a large Brazilian community.) To try to snag a ticket I walk the length of that line and ask everyone if they are in possession of an extra. There are five offers but the price is, naturally, more than I want to pay. By the time I negotiate with the fifth person, I say to her, knowing ten people are listening, “I am trying to get a front row ticket for free.” They all laugh or smile, some look away. They knew they are in the presence of a dreamer. A dangerous dreamer.
So, I slowly crab-walk my way to the front entrance. I am nothing, if not persistent and optimistic. There is a lot of space. Suddenly I find myself face to face with a very large and friendly-looking Boston policeman. The genial sentinel is towering, broad and eagle-eyed, ready for anything, his eyes scanning the grounds for trouble.
We look each other in the eyes. I know he knows I am up to something. For one thing, there isn’t another guy in the city tonight wearing a straw hat with a red, green and gold band and a rainbow-colored scarf. My outfit alone qualifies for his attention.
“What’s up?” he asks, with an amused curiosity for my quest. “Oh, I am trying to get a ticket, a discounted ticket.”
”What are you gonna do with it?”
”Oh, I want to see the show. I’m not gonna scalp it.” There are pros, called “scalpers” all over the city, all over the world, in fact. I see them at stadiums, arenas and concert halls, where they earn good money reselling tickets - sometimes but not always at exorbitant prices.
He extends his long arm and hands me a ticket, which causes me to smile a mile and renders me temporary speechless until I thank him about eight different ways.
The Tribalistas - Arnaldo Antunes but especially Marisa Montes and Carlinhos Brown - dress like they are from another galaxy or some undiscovered fantastic kingdom. In addition, they play music from another world, made in this world. Their sound has color. It glitters and glows. It smells, too, like a giant spinning wheel of flowers. It is nourishing and satisfies me like food. Ear food. Soul food. Comfort food. They don’t simply sing. They woohoo and whoop and chant, their soaring voices pouring out light. The notes they sing have wings.
The percussion, dozens of instruments, sound like the enchanted heart of the rainforest.
I have never used the word “awesome” to describe anything. They are awesome. They are marvelous. They are brilliant.
The Tribalistas are just what the weary world needs...