Category Archives: music

The Jesuit Mission of Santa Ana de Velasco, La Cenicienta Chiquitana…


An extraordinary discovery was made in 1972, at one of the old Jesuit missions of Bolivia. There were 3,000 sheets of Baroque music in a trunk kept in the priest’s lavatory and used as toilet paper. Most of it was by an almost forgotten Italian-born composer called Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726). “How on earth did Baroque composers end up in South America to produce this extraordinary fusion of classical and local traditions that is still being discovered?” Question asked by Simon Broughton – worth a read, for sure!


Apart from its beautiful church (the most indigenous of the mission templos, as it was built entirely by natives without Jesuit assistance or direction), Santa Ana is famous for its music. The church’s organ and diatonic harp (the latter of which was built by native hands) are still functional, and during restoration, thousands of missionary-era musical scores were discovered.

Music played a special part in all aspects of life and in the evangelization of the natives. Realizing the musical capacities of the Indians, the Jesuits sent important composers, choir directors, and manufacturers of musical instruments to South America. The most famous was probably the Italian baroque composer Domenico Zipoli, who worked in the reductions in Paraguay. Fr. Johann Mesner and Fr. Martin Schmid, two Jesuit missionaries with musical talent, went to the Chiquitania. Martin Schmid built an organ with six stops in Potosí, disassembled it, transported it by mules over a distance of 1,000 km on a difficult road to the remote mission of Santa Ana de Velasco, and re-assembled it there from hand. It is still is use. The Jesuits used musical lessons as a first step to the Christianization of the natives.

Now, we’re on 2014: Directly from the Mission in Santa Ana, although quaint, discreet, a favorite for our family, because of its humble beauty. A bonus added to our visit to the Mission Jesuitica de Santa Ana de Velasco? Listening to a real play on this simple, yet so magnificent organ. Enjoy as much as we did!


And guess who just decided to sit down and play a bit for her [so-very-proud!] children – after the very-gracious young girl Antonia finished her piece? :o You guessed right! Thank you for joining us on this beautiful journey through art, music, history and emotions!

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Talent Show: “Thriller, by our Five-Year-Olds”.



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I’m a Mix Tape Masterpiece!


Click here for image source – gotta be true to the sources, right? :o

You may think it’s because I’m different… I know I’m not from here… but who is? We’re all from somewhere else…



Born in the sunny city of Rio de Janeiro… likely born to be wild… a restless, yet love-searching, soul…


Because of my parents line of work, moved from place to place quite often, growing up in the capital of the country… an intriguing city, sharing love-and-hate relationships with its citizens…


I’m a nomad, a traveler. A verb, rather than a noun…


But one day, met my better half… the day had come for love… and again, a foreigner to me, but one who changed my life completely…


And the rest… is pretty much history! A story we’ve been writing together… :o


Making a mix tape [remember that?!]: (or playlist, for the younger folks) that tells them who you are through song.

Acknolegdment: original inspiration coming from


Posted by on October 6, 2013 in ART, expat, FAMILY, humor, music


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It’s Friday…

Friday I'm in Love

Friday I’m in Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t care if Monday’s blue

Tuesday’s gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you
It’s Friday I’m in love
Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Or Thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love
Saturday wait Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate
I don’t care if Monday’s black Tuesday, Wednesday heart attack Thursday never looking back
It’s Friday I’m in love
Monday, you can hold your head Tuesday, Wednesday stay in bed Or Thursday watch the walls instead
It’s Friday I’m in love
Saturday wait
And Sunday always comes too late
But Friday never hesitate
Dressed up to the eyes
It’s a wonderful surprise
To see your shoes and your spirits rise
Throw out your frown
And just smile at the sound
And as sleek as a sheikh
Spinning round round round
Always take a big bite It’s such a gorgeous sight
To see you in, in the middle of the night You can never get enough Enough of this stuff
It’s Friday I’m in love
I don’t care if Monday’s blue
Tuesday’s gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don’t care about you It’s Friday I’m in love
Monday you can fall apart Tuesday,
Wednesday break my heart Thursday doesn’t even start
It’s Friday I’m in love, 



Posted by on August 2, 2013 in music


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52 weeks at Post: Smile like you mean it…

Statler and Waldorf
[that's exactly how my husband and I see ourselves! We're just sitting up there, watching the world go by, and quite often, criticizing the way it moves!] :o


One year’s gone by since we first arrived in La Paz, for our 2-year assignment with the Foreign Service. This song from The Killers seems pretty fitting for the moment we’re living:

The Killers on stage

The Killers on stage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Looking back at sunsets on the east side

We lost track of the time

Dreams aren’t what they used to be

Some things sat by so carelessly
Smile like you mean it

Smile like you mean it…

We’ve got mixed feelings regarding our present. Our future is still blurry. And yet, we’ll keep on smiling at life… smiling like we mean it…

Let’s see what the future has in-store for us… ♥ Will keep you posted. :o


Posted by on August 1, 2013 in BOLIVIA, foreign service, music


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Eleven months in Bolivia: “Color me Wonderful!”

In Bolivia there’s always an excuse to bring out colors – by nature, in an incomparable way, or through handmade artwork. Our family of 5 has been at post for exactly 11 months now – enjoying life, watching our kids grow surrounded by new friends, improving their Spanish communication skills, and delighting ourselves with the inherent beauty this country has to offer.  Here’s a small sample of past 11 months in-country:

The majestic sky covering our home, the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz:    



The fearless colors of a group of bikers cruising the “World’s Most Dangerous Road”


Despite not having access to the ocean, Bolivia hides some wonderful secrets, like the scenery around the Lake Titicaca


The unique, multi-color display of beauty… not found in many places like here. Where tradition, religion, faith and pride meet!


The perfect combination between blues, greens and earth tones!


The respect and appreciation to others, shown by people from all over the world:

mi corazon con Boston 2  

Our 11th month in Bolivia is ending, sealed with happiness, joy and our warmest greetings to our friends and extended family – wherever they are, please enjoy a bit of our “colorful home“…♥ Now, off to our second year at a great FS Post Assignment – thank you all! :o  


mama mia


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♫ “I wanna know what love is…” ♥

Love Notes

Taking advantage of this being “Mother’s Day” weekend, and inspired by a recent Daily Prompt suggestion, I’ll try to answer this tough question, and yet, illustrate the ‘response’ with a few musical memories… See if you can catch them!

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

Obviously, I’m not the first one who thought about this song ♫ when we saw the title for the prompt… and being a Foreigner myself, it couldn’t be any more fitting! :o Who doesn’t love a good play with words?

But, in fact, What’s Love?   – thought I “had a way on this, but still missing several connecting dots in order to finely tune down my ideas on love!

Here is my opportunity to try: I did not marry my First Love ♫, and because, like many, was always seeking for the perfect combination of Love, Trust and Honesty ♫, I was able to discover What Is This Thing Called Love ♫

Love Changes everything ♫.  We’ve become more than a couple, we’re a family, and with each child, we now wholeheartedly understand the meaning of Timeless Love ♫… There are different kinds of love, and we love each person in our lives, in a different way, no more, and no less… Simply different. Fortunately, there’s no single Meaning of Love ♫. But there’s definitely, Not Enough Love In The World ♫ to all the ones that need it!

That said, if I may leave a bit of advice, as somebody who’s constantly experience love, from my family, friends; from the one I chose to be my partner for life, the one who’ve given the most precious expressions of love – our children – here it is: “Put A Little Love In Your Heart“ ♫, and all will be well… ♥

Happy Mother’s Day, to all the moms out there! And much, much love to us all! :o

For the "non-Portuguese speaking world", inside the heart you may find the word 'Mãe', which means, "Mom"... too perfect, right? :o

For the “non-Portuguese speaking world”, inside the heart you may find the word ‘Mãe’, which means, “Mom”… too perfect, right? :o


Posted by on May 11, 2013 in ART, FAMILY, LOVE, music, photography


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“Here I go again!”: dancing to ABBA’s Mama Mia.


This 5 year old not only decided she could dance to the ABBA‘s Mama Mia and ‘designed’ her very own ‘moves’, but also, despite not convincing any of her classmates to join her in this ‘Artistic Adventure’, went onto stage ‘solo’, cheered by a full international school auditorium… The youngest one to perform at the school… and yet, the bravest! ♥

Pretty gutsy, right? :o 


Posted by on May 3, 2013 in ART, BOLIVIA, children, music


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Photo Journal: Learning English Through Music

Brian giving a banjo lesson during our "Learning English Through Music" class for Bolivian teenagers today.
Brian giving a banjo lesson during a recent “Learning English Through Music” class for Bolivian teenagers, in El Alto, La Paz.

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in BOLIVIA, music, photography, TRAVEL


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2013 arrived in style… 80s Style!

So, 2013 is here… and we got to celebrate it’s first hours surrounded by great music, yummy food, good friends, all of our kids, who joined us for the midnight celebration (yeap, kids were too excited to fall asleep, or even, take a short nap!); while we all watched the fireworks happening throughout the city of La Paz…♥

Earlier, I’d shared that a couple of our expat friends here had decided to put together an 80s party to welcome the New Year! Everyone had a blast, and here are some of the images from the last day of 2012, and the very first hours of 2013.

That’s what the New Year’s Celebration brought out! The best? Definitely the 80s hair styles… look at what people came up with! :o
Someone else who wrote about ‘Style’ for the New Year? Here!


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Saying ‘Goodbye 2012′ in style. 80s Style!

Celebrating the arrival of 2013, and bidding farewell to a dear 2012… All with style – 80s style! Could there be a more fun way to do it?

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 10.45.17 AM

[A confession, thank you very much, Robert Smith, for not only making my high school/early College years bearable, but also for helping me endure my recent parenting years, as a mother of 3 little ones…

Only another tired mom would understand the calming and motivational power of an 80s song…



:o Especially if, that same mom is ready to give up on her first-grader’s homework on a Saturday morning!

Somehow, the 80s music finds a way to ‘reach out to me’, and bring me back to reality… Not in high school anymore… the sleepless nights are not due to some term paper or exam…

now, the short nights usually come from a crying kid with fever, or, another one having a nightmare; or simply, missing my well-deserved beauty rest by having a couple of extra ‘bodies’ in our bed… every single night, since 2005! ♥

But well, that’s the path we chose, and the 80s music have always helped me thru ‘tough times’… ♥ My favorite, without question, The Cure

80s Party 06

Wonders that only a blond wig can do! 5 years later, 3 kids, 2 more countries under the belt… the forties have arrived… let’s see what type of hairstyle this mom will bring out! :o

80s Party, 2007Let’s see what the New Year’s Celebration brings!

Now, not only I’ll go to a party with ‘my guy’, but a handful of other ‘accessories’, which will include a 7-year-old boy, who loves 70s & 80s music; an almost 5 year old girl who loves to dress up [like her mother!] and is ‘addicted’ to dance… and a 2-year-old girl, which’s still a bit young to define her style… time will tell…

80shairThat said, getting these bad boys out of the closet [I mean, the leg warmers! mine are pink with white stripes], making sure the hair will be ‘par’ for the celebration, check the clothing colors [lots of them, and they better be bright!], accessories, make-up… and head to the party humming my favorite tunes!

NOW: on my way out to the local market, trying to find some ‘miracle hair products’ for tomorrow night’s bash! :o

 Happy New Year to all of us! 


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Best Wednesday night ever! [weekly photo challenge: foreign]

We’re all foreigners here in Bolivia… most of us, from the USA, some coming from mixed-culture parents, one from New Zealand, one from Brazil (myself!). But this event brought us all together, as one ‘party nation’, enjoying another foreigner’s performance (he’s Cuban-American).

Several nations under one roof (correction, there wasn’t really a physical roof, since we’re at a soccer stadium!) – were we really foreigners at that moment? Frankly speaking, even though we had different languages being spoken around us, the passion for music (and fun!) transcends all borders… We went from being totally foreigners to feeling completely at home! :o

Backstory: Armando Christian Pérez (born January 15, 1981 in Miami, Florida), better known by the stage name Pitbull , is a Cuban-American rapper signed to his own label, Mr 305 Inc. The Give Me Everything (Tonight) Songfacts reports that he adopted his canine moniker because, “They bite to lock. The dog is too stupid to lose. And they’re outlawed in Dade County. They’re basically everything that I am. It’s been a constant fight.”

Once in a while, it’s good to feel like an adult, again… In great company, we could enjoy a fun and safe presentation, with the so-called… Pitbull!

Rent a Party Bus! – check!

Buy the Super VIP tickets [oh, so worthy... It does feel great to be so close to the stage!] – check!

Call and confirm the baby sitter for our 3 children – check! [thankfully!] 

Group of over 10 adults trying to get back into the ‘fun scene’ (even if it’s only for a couple of hours!), totally organized and in full gear – check! check! check! :o

Whatever reason he’s got for his life choices, I don’t really care… Just had a fantastic time at his concert! :o


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Building memories through photography: dancing with our children

Photo Credit: Ms Sandra Miranda, California (2011)


Posted by on November 16, 2011 in ART, children, FAMILY, LOVE, music


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