Take your pic: Seu Jorge on tour

Longstanding friend of Jungle Fernando Tubarão joined Seu Jorge & Almaz on their US tour, and here he shares his side of the adventure, with a behind the scenes bird’s-iPhone-view

The dream of nearly every tourist is for one day to travel across North America from one end to the other. When a group of friends get together for a road trip, it can turn out to be a journey of self-discovery as well as reinforcing the bond of friendship. Or it can be a catastrophe. Living in each other’s pockets day after day can ruin a friendship and cause prevailing strife. In the case of Seu Jorge and Almaz, who have travelled inside a bus with 11 people thousands of kilometres from Miami to Vancouver in just one month, it was all about the good times.

“It was an incredible journey” retells Jorge. “living together was great for us. If I’d been given money for
every time I smiled on that bus, I’d be rich!”

“Jorge was a partner and a warrior” says Tubarão, who has worked with Jorge for more than 6 years. “He gets involved in everything, he was always with the crew, no airs or graces, sleeping in tight spots, playing video games, eating fast food, joking, laughing, all together.” The bus was shared by 11 men and only had one rule: “Number 2’s prohibited!”  Tubarão accompanied every stage of the tour, including the rehearsals in Brazil, and with his iPhone camera, he recorded incredible behind-the-scenes moments and the intimacy of the group that brought Almaz across America.

Rehearsals in Brazil
Before the trip, we spent days in Naceba Studios in São Paulo. This photo is the last open rehearsal that was just like a show.  Before this, the rehearsals were all held in a tiny studio in Jorge’s house in Pacembu.

Arriving in Miami
Jorge and Almaz travelled in business class, the rest of us were in economy class.  We arrived in Miami two days before the first show with all the equipment and on the next day we went shopping. We wanted HD cameras to document each step of the tour. The days off were great for us to get to know each other better.

The bus
“We were 11 people living together every day. The beds were tiny, triple bunk beds that reminded me of the ones in the hotel rooms of Japan. Each bed had its own television, a small wardrobe and a curtain. The bathroom even had a shower but we decided to only take showers in the hotels or in the venues to keep things together. One day Jorge thought someone had gone for a dump (which was prohibited). He found a bit of dirty paper, and he started playing the detective as if he had to find out who it was, making us all laugh!’

Living together
“It was a good thing no-one snored, but there was a bit of a bad smell going on! The stage technician who travelled with us, Josué, a bit of a chubby guy, got some attention when he took his shoes off! But everyone messed around, no stress. All the stress was battled out playing video games. It started with FIFA (Jorge is addicted) then we went on to UFC where each one of us created our avatar and ended up fighting. The biggest rivalry was between Jorge and Puppilo. We spent hours playing.”

Music on the road
“We heard a lot from Pupilo’s and Lucio’s iPods. There was this amazing album “The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria” that we played non-stop. Jorge played a lot of old funk as well. Interestingly, we listened to plenty of Almaz. We would hear the audio of the previous gig on the bus and see where it could get better. It was on the road that they began to created special versions of Jorge’s hits like “Carolina”, which debuted in the show before LA.”

Hot-Dogs and food
“In San Fransisco we changed buses (the first had a problem with the air con). Jorge arrived very hungry. We’d all left him in the hotel while we went to buy a computer in the Apple store, and when we got back we found him eating this hot-dog. He hadn’t stopped talking about LA hot-dogs from the street for the whole journey, how good they were and all, but when we got there, he just went straight for it without waiting for the rest of us!

All the leftovers from the dressing room came with us on the bus. Water, sandwiches, snacks, nuts… Francisco the tour manager, half American, half Mexican knew all the places in the cities and when we craved rice and beans we would stop in a Brasilian restaurant for Rodizio.”

Gigs and Radio shows
“Everyone recognised Jorge in the street, it was amazing, as many Brazilians as foreigners. They stopped him in the street and asked for autographs. In various cities we stopped to do interviews and Almaz would play live. We played in some of the best venues of North America and most of the gigs were sold out, a totally incredible vibe.

In this photo we are in the NPR radio station reception in Washington with Pierre Chene (Almaz’s manager) and Pupillo where we recorded a programme playing in the middle of the offices of the radio station. It went really well. A brilliant way to start the day!”

Amoeba
“We spent hours in this record shop in Los Angeles. On this day we met Questlove, the drummer from The Roots, who said that every morning he listens to Jorge’s version of Life
on Mars to get the day off to a good start.

The cool thing was that Eothen Alapatt from Stones Throw Records (that launched Almaz’s album in the US) gave $75 credit for the shop to each of Almaz’s crew, but he used most of it! Lucio and Pupilo brought back at least 40 records each. Jorge got some too. It even got complicated on our return as the airport police searched all our bags before travelling and made everyone open their cases!”

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