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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Fernandes

What´s going on?


It´s been a while. Definitely 2020 was not the best time to start my own business. Covid has really stopped or at the very least postponed my plans of world domination 😏

Here in Portugal, June marks the re-opening of theaters and cinemas. Government has forbidden music festivals up until 30th of September however, open air concerts can happen as long as the audience seats on a chairs and don´t move, plus rules of hygiene and safety distances are secured. Not great news for ballroom bands, but increased chances hope for more mellow chilled ensembles. I guess I leave my dance shoes at home this summer!

Much to say. I´m working with a bunch of great new artists, and will have a couple of important gigs in Casa da Musica with multi-instrumentalist Ricardo Passos, pianist and composer João Salcedo.

On the jazz side, I started working with my brother, guitarist Mané Fernandes, based in Denmark and also with wicked band AXES by João Mortágua.

Pedro Melo Alves is launching this month two new albums. They all joined a new patreon channel Composers and Improvisers Community Project. Good to see these guys killing it!

At the moment, I am mostly communicating with Portuguese clients that are resuming programming, and increasingly asking me for local bands, mostly reduced formations.

It´s not so easy to make ends meet. Us freelancers are entitled to a symbolic amount of help from the government, but in most cases it barely covers basic needs.

With the promised re-open of flights and tourism next month I´ll be resuming internacional newsletters and attempt to export again, build some Portuguese tours for 2021 for Etuk Ubong or Fanfara Station...

Much was learned during the quarantine. Damn virus took Lee Konitz, Tony Allen, Aldir Blanc 😔, one can only imagine them jamming together, joining the great others 🌟 ...

Two artists I work with were in Italy and had to stay there. Carol Mello got stuck in Sardinia - shame the beaches were closed down! She created a new youtube channel and has been streaming every wednesday new tunes inspired by the beautiful surroundings. Make sure you subscribe to her channel! André Xina from Rickshaw, has been on an artist residency in Naples, and pretty much has wrapped the 3rd album of XAFU.

News reports, masks, conspiracy theories and fears aside, the quarantine had it´s good moments.

I for once, picked up the old classical guitar and resumed studying and learning new pieces, specially focusing on the work of Garoto, an underrated 1940s Brazilian composer who wrote the most beautiful tunes for guitar. Been working in the family´s garden too...

Can´t wait to be again with Henrique Fraga, during the state of emergency he had to go full time on his normally part-time as a pharmaceutical, working loads when most people stayed home. Local hero! He his now finally more free to embrace the Coimbra guitar again.

Katia Leonardo went full on in the nature, with her son, to the margins of river Zêzere, sending the nicest healing vibes, she has been composing and preparing solo concerts, while adapting her Heaven Studio to the online world.

In those regards, most work predictably turned out to be digital: from learning how to make websites , to improving digital marketing skills, supporting artists with e-teaching tools, helping them applying for government funds, I still spend more screen time than doctor´s orders...

Curious to see how much of the music business will change. Will touring become a slower process? Will and should festivals and venues ever be the same again? Has history taught us anything? How did the cultural sector react after the big crisis? (past pandemics, World War I, the 1929 great depression, World War II, 9/11, 2008 financial crisis). All of these topics captured my attention on a series of webinars, promoted by European Jazz Network.

Hope you all in good health and stay in touch, either by subscribing to the newsletter on the website or simply sending a message.



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