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ARTE VIVA 2008 & MORE

A busy summer is winding down as I prepare for Puerto Viejo’s third annual Arte Viva Festival, coming up on the weekend of September 26 – 28. I’ll be performing on the main stage with keyboardist/vocalist Jim MacDougall, saxophonist Gib Monks, and drummer John Wheatley on Friday evening, and doing a solo set at La Casa de Cultura on Saturday at 5:30 PM. Arte Viva was born a little over two years ago when a group of foreign born residents like ourselves banded together with some of the local citizens, setting out to raise funds to open a community school of the arts, where the children and youth of this area can receive instruction and encouragement in a variety of arts disciplines. I was immediately excited about this idea, recalling the positive effect that music, creative writing, and visual arts had in my own early life (I've always related to the Bumbershoot t-shirt slogan, "Art Saves Me.") There are currently few opportunities available for the youth of Puerto Viejo and far too many are drawn into crack use and the the inevitable accompanying street crime that supports it. I'm familiar enough with addiction issues to know that there is no easy solution to that situation, but the idea of a positive alternative emerging here that may provide a preventative buffer for some of these kids offers a bit of hope, and that's a dream I'm happy to get behind. If you’re interested in learning more about the project, check out http://www.arteviva-puertoviejo.com. You'll find some great photos of some the participants and activities at the Arte Viva event the past 2 years, along with a link to a short video about the project, the festival, and the collective dream that inspired them. And you can help bring that dream to life with a donation - large or small – right there on the website, too. Meanwhile, I’m back at Costa de Papito every Saturday night now. Putting finishing touches on the soundtrack project tracks this month, and rehearsing for a couple shows in October with visiting bassist extraordinaire Rob Moitoza to introduce my new collection of songs based on the writings of Rumi, the 14th century Persian Sufi poet. A number of Seattle friends were on hand when Rob joined me in July for the U.S. debut of several of those songs during my little Puget Sound tour with Marc Smason and Joanne Klein. It will be great to have him here for the first outing of the whole collection of this new material. Recording has been underway since early summer, and Seattle drummer Ed Mays laid down some great grooves on a few of the tracks during my Pacific NW visit. I hope to have some previews up on the Music page soon.

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