Friday, 21 February 2014

Article in "Rio Show" Supplement of Newspaper O Globo

As part of a feature about foreigners who play in Rio's carnival blocos, today's Rio Show supplement of Brazilian newspaper O Globo has a short piece about me.

(Text translated into English)

"In the case of Tom Ashe, appearances aren't deceptive. With light-coloured skin, blue eyes and a ginger beard, he looks like a foreigner. English, to be precise. In ever other respect, however, he's an authentic carioca. He has permanent residency, his own micro-company, a bank account, tax number and supermarket reward card. He even shares our sense of humour and jeitinho.

Five years ago Tom (34) arrived in Rio to study Brazilian music for 6 months. What little he knew of Brazilian music came from recordings of Elza Soares, from the 1960s, with their alluring combination of samba and brass instruments. Just as he was leaving, ex-president Luiz Inácia Lula da Silva announced an amnesty, which made all illegal immigrants legal residents. He stayed for good.

After all, he was already a local. By way of an intermediary in the form of the brother in law of a guitarist with whom he was playing at a bar in Lapa, Tom found himself playing in bloco Cordão do Boitatá at carnival 2009, his first in Rio. This Sunday, he'll be in the procession that departs from Rua do Mercado in the centre of Rio at 8H, with trumpet in hand.

"I also play tuba, trombone and euphonium, but for carnival I prefer the trumpet, because it's lighter", he says.

He has a full schedule over the coming days of carnival.

"I work a lot during carnival" Tom jokes, using his fingers to put the word "work" in quotation marks. "Aside from Boitatá, I'll be playing with Mário Bloco. And on the 2nd of March, my band, the São Jorge Brass Band, will be playing play New Orleans jazz in front of Santo Scenarium, in Lapa."

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