“Mobile” revolves around stories I read while in New York, Boston, Amsterdam and Lisbon, in stillness or in motion. The choice of books was unconsciously arbitrary. After a year and a half, I glanced at my bookshelf and realized that there was a common theme among all the authors. They were all solitary travelers, adventurers encouraged by the discovery of the unknown, spirits filled with curiosity. It has been inspiring to read about their travels in India, Africa, United States, and Middle East, in the sea, in the desert… For each of these texts, I focused on the most meaningful episode, passage or emotion I could remember. Characters, places and instants of the narrative stayed in my mind for a long time; these songs are my musical translations of those.
The enthralling common aspect of authors such as Herodotus, Kapuscinski, Naipaul, Steinbeck or characters like Ahab, Ulysses or Corto Maltese is, the fact that, real or imagined, they have abandoned the comfort and safety of sedentary life and traveled, constantly or temporarily, to unknown destinations. The torment of being still, trapped in a physical space, made them move. What were they looking for?
My fascination with this subject is also based in part on my experience as a foreigner in New York. When we leave a place-—physical, emotional or musical-—in search of something, there is a part of our life that we leave behind. In the adventure, travel and search, we discover ourselves and question our identity. We learn our prejudices and our ability to adapt to new realities. For every person we meet around the world, we find two levels of identity that co-exist: one of an equal human being, that deals with the need for love, has worries and joys, and another of the personality that comes from a different culture, beliefs and convictions. When we are confronted with this duality, we realize that our identity is a reflection of our interaction with others.
Jazz and improvised music live in the meeting with the other. They also require search and abandonment. Self-expression carries us to unexpected places. Accepting our vulnerability and identity, along with accepting change is part of any artist’s path. To perform, play, and improvise with a group of musicians is a constant search for a common new place. We are on a journey and we need each other. We keep searching; we are ready to move easily and freely, without boundaries. We are mobile.
released September 13, 2011
Sara Serpa (voice), André Matos (guitar), Kris Davis (piano), Ben Street (bass), Ted Poor (drums)
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