This September I had an old dream come true: playing in Japan! We brought our newest album, “UM” (Dani & Debora Gurgel Quarteto, 2013) to Tokyo Jazz Festival and more venues.
When we arrived in Tokyo, all good news. “Rock With You” was in the top 100 of J-WAVE radio (and it stayed there for 3 weeks, reaching position 52). I thought it was a Jazz station. When I saw the complete list I realised it was a pop radio, and there we were, right next to John Mayer, Bruno Mars and Sheryl Crow (!!). I have no words to describe how it feels to be part of the programming on a radio station that is not directed to a specific segment.
Our first interview was a blast. Actually, an earthquake. While we were on air, talking about “Forró Brasil” with Peter Barakan, on his show Barakan Morning, suddenly the building began to dance. It was a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. And there we were, as Peter brok the news that there was no risk of a tsunami (phew!), and right back to the topic, talking about the music. Brazil is in the middle of a big tectonic plate, so that was our first earthquake. The building was one of those prepared and stabilized ones, so it kept on swinging for many minutes to absorb the shock. And, by the end of all the swinging (building and music), the news came that our record had sold out on Amazon JP during the interview (and thus during the earthquake!).
While I and Debora were on the 12th floor of that building, Thiago and Sidiel were at the top of the Tokyo Sky Tower (approx. 70 storeys). They tell me it swung like the pendulum in an old metronome… It was quite scary from their point of view, having to wait almost an hour for the building to stop moving so they could ride the elevator down.
Safe and sound, we visited Tower Records, and saw this huge display with our record!
Right after, we went to Taiyo Record, a store that has been selling my records since 2008. They take my series “Dani Gurgel e Novos Compositores” (Dani Gurgel & the New Composers) very seriously, and used the album and the shows as a menu full of recommendations of new artists to look for. That was my goal, and I’m so proud to feel that all that work is recognized on the other side of the world.
We went on many other interviews the following days, visiting J-WAVE twice, FM Yokohama, Revista Latina, Mega Brasil, Sky PerfecTV (Japanese TV Globo), etc.
A wise advice was passed on to us: we were not to be alarmed by the japanese audience. They told us people were more serious, focused, they don’t shout or stand, but that doesn’t mean they are not enjoying. That was kindly passed on to us so we wouldn’t feel strange by their reaction. But it wasn’t at all like that! That even made us feel happier when we realized, in the beginning of the first show, that people were dancing on their seats, shouting at every solo, every theme, every minute! They sung along with us, they improvised along with us, they did backing vocals for us! Those were the warmest and most delightful concerts I’ve ever played in my life. They already knew our songs, especially the ones from “Nosso” and the new record. We even had song requests, and when soundchecking for the Saravah Tokyo concert we rehearsed a song that wasn’t on the repertoire, as a surprise to our dear friend Horiuchi-san, who had asked about it.
[Show photography (c) cherry chill will | Tokyo|Japan]
People lined up at Tokyo Jazz Festival to get the best seats, and lined up again for autographs right after. We also played a small set at the Coffee & Jazz stage, where we also spoke a little about coffee in Brasil.
In the morning of our show at Café Vivement Dimanche, the last one, we went sightseeing in Kamakura, a delightful town to the south of Tokyo. By the end of the last concert, around the time of this photo below, nobody wanted to go home!
Café Vivement Dimanche.
We flew to Japan earlier for some sightseeing on other cities, eating a lot of sushi and we fell even more in love with the country. We visited temples, shrines, castels, slept in Ryokans (traditional inns with tatami floors and futon mattresses).
Zenko-ji, in Nagano.
Fujioto Ryokan, Tsumago.
We traveled only by train, and went to cities that are not reached by the Shinkansen (bullet train) and not even the express lines. While we rode through the country side of Japan, station by station, we were marveled by their rail system.