Amarante is from Rio de Janeiro but now lives in Los Angeles (and has no discernible accent). That tiny guitar is a ‘Harmony parlor guitar from the ’30s, known lovingly as “Butter.”‘
He plays four simply gorgeous songs (only marred slightly by the fact that he has to clear his throat a bunch of times). Two songs are in English, one is in French and the fourth is in Portuguese.
The opening humming notes of “The Ribbon” are just beautiful and sound so lovely with “Butter” playing along. When he starts singing, you simply get sucked into his warm enveloping voice.
“Mon Nom” is sung in French and the soft sound of the French sounds even better as he sings. (Coincidentally, this song contains the word Aubergine, and a woman named Aubergine is the main character of today’s story).
Before the third song, he says he’s not used to these songwriter stools but declines a change. “I’m Ready” sounds rather different from the other song in English. He doesn’t sing radically different, but there’s something in his phrasing that changes the tone of the song. I believe the end of the song is sung in Portuguese.
The final song, “Nada Em Vão” is sung entirely in Portuguese. Before the song Bob asks if this is the most unusual place he’s played in, and he says he would “like to say yes….” This song is much more quiet and subtle. It’s also quite lovely. And the way it ends is kind of a surprise too.
Amarante is a real find and seems like a super nice guy too. At the end of the show he stretches and says that it’s a nice way to start my day.
[READ: February 15, 2016] “The Prospectors”
I haven’t read much from Russell before so I was really surprised by a lot of things in this story.
It opens with a woman, Aubergine, on a chairlift riding up the side of a mountain. The woman and her friend Clara were expecting to go to a party at the peak. The two women had met a man calling himself Eugene de la Rochefoucauld. They had waited for Eugene at the bottom of the chairlift for an hour, then (after dubbing him Mr No-Show) they set up the chairlift by themselves.
Imagine my surprise to find out a few paragraphs in that they are heading up Mt. Joy, the miracle of the New Deal. This story is set in WPA times, and they are going up the mountain to see the beautiful new hotel.
Before they reach the top, the story flashes back. The narrator tells us that she and Clara called themselves Prospectors. They were poor women, working as maids, and Clara seemed to be in some kind of abusive relationship (Jean (she never goes by Aubergine) never asked). They had their sights set on better things and so own day they up and left for Florida (from the West).
But they didn’t get quite that far. The West was poor because of the Depression. But they always managed to meet fancy men–captains or speculators. And in each case the two of them met the men, did what they did and always made sure to leave with more than what they came with.
They traveled down the Oregon coast where the Depression had hit harder. But there were WPA projects nearby. And that’s how they wound up near Mt. Joy.
And that’s where they met Eugene.
Eugene doesn’t show, but they are determined to go to the party that he told them about. And they get to the top of the mountain and head towards the hotel.
And that’s when a surprise happens–Jean actually meets someone she likes–something she said she would never do. But that’s not the biggest surprise (which is something I won’t reveal).
Just how much are they willing to give up of their current lives?
I was delighted by the twist and turns in this story and in all of the unexpected places it went. Even the end has an extra surprise thrown in.