August – The Dream
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This month’s song was supposed to be a real rocker. One night in July, when I was visiting family in Rio de Janeiro, a riot broke out on the streets surrounding the hotel. From the balcony, I was blinded by search lights from three helicopters overhead and the red-orange glow from burning piles of garbage. My ears were filled with the deep booms from tear-gas cannons, the clatter from what sounded like a lost samba school, and, of course, deafening “CHOP! CHOP! CHOP!” from the three helicopters. The smoke from the fires worried me. I wondered if the hotel was going to catch on fire and if we would have to evacuate into the streets. I imagined navigating the riot in my pajamas and, with my limited portuguese, only being able to ask where the bathroom was.
I wanted to pack all of that energy and all of that emotion into a song, so I recorded layer after layer of frenzied cello notes. Then I added a part that sounded like the riot police marching to the hotel. All the while, everything got louder and louder and more chaotic.
Well, now I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up a little bit. The riot was inspiring, but it was only a part of what brought this song into existence. The other part was meeting my wife’s two cousins. These men were doing extraordinary things in a city that was literally screaming for change.
One of them co-founded Papaya Ventures, a company dedicated to nurturing new types of industry. Rio, like many cities, is experiencing major economic changes. Old jobs are vanishing, leaving a vacuum for something new to keep the city alive. The start-up companies that Papaya Ventures develops are part of the revitalization. They bring new ideas, new technologies and new jobs.
The other co-founded Escudero, a fashion company whose name comes from from the portuguese word for “squire” – the person who prepared knights for battle. However, instead of making armor, they make beautiful, yet practical clothes. The modern day knights are the people that fight to keep Rio alive and vibrant. The battle isn’t in a field, but in office buildings and places of work.
The inspiration for this song came from two sources: the riot and the entrepreneurs. One source required loud, frenzied cello playing, and the other requested a softer sound. It’s a song about people demanding change, and about people, through hard work and dedication, making change possible. It starts out in the chaos of a riot, but ends up being about working to build something new. And building something new, trying to make the world a better place, is what we can all work towards.
And last but not least, here’s the chart.