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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Sensual sound of Brazilian ‘new music’ wows Café Pandau’s guests

La Vie en Rose

US Consul confirms November visit of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

‘Friendship’ Tree Planting at Ban Papai

Local Thai consumers prefer wine to whisky

Sensual sound of Brazilian ‘new music’ wows Café Pandau’s guests

Elena Edwards
Last Friday evening, Café Pandau was crowded out with foot-tapping, hand-clapping, dancing and laughing guests, all thrilled with the deliciously warm, strong, decidedly sensual sound and lazy, lovely Latin rhythms of famous Brazilian singer/songwriter and guitarist Sylvia Patricia. The guys in the audience couldn’t help but notice that this amazingly talented young woman is also drop-dead gorgeous!

Sylvia Patricia enchants the audience with some sensual Latin rhythms.
Originating from the state of Bahia, the multi-talented Sylvia (her major was singing, but she also studied composing, conducting, classical guitar, piano and even classical Indian music) comes from a family with both a musical and a literary tradition. On her father’s side, the family is famous for its musical talents. Her unique, and very personal, style mixes Bossa Nova and true Brazilian rhythms with Blues, Jazz, Rock and R&B, as well as Latin sounds. Her music and lyrics tell of love and life’s ups and downs in the giant cities which never stop growing. All are presented from an upbeat, female point of view.
Her career in ‘Brazilian New Music’ spans 15 years to date, during which time her talent has been recognised by other great Brazilian singers such as Caetano Veloso, who duetted with her on her second CD. Several years ago she was invited to perform in Spain. As a result of the huge success of that first tour, she now returns annually, to the delight of her new fans.
The stylish setting of Café Pandau’s terrace, with its subtle lighting, seemed perfect for the performance, with tables and chairs set outside, and the small stage arranged just inside the covered area. Perfect until the distant thunder suddenly became a full-bodied roar and the rain poured down in torrents, necessitating a frantic rearrangement of the performance area and a rush inside by the guests. Even so, the flashes of sheet lightning and the swaying of the palms in the strong wind provided a dramatic background for Sylvia’s first songs – unintentional, but very effective. As the performance continued, the audience were more and more taken up with the beauty of Sylvia’s deep, strong voice, her expertise on the electric guitar and the poignancy of the lyrics. So, she sang, and sang, and sang…and we listened, we danced, we swayed, enthralled and, quite simply, loving every minute.
A wonderful evening, and possibly the most successful to date of Café Pandau’s monthly events, each of which results in a donation to Soroptimist International Chiang Mai’s Single Mothers Project. Everyone who enjoyed Sylvia’s performance must be hoping that this, her first visit to Chiang Mai, will not be her last.

 

La Vie en Rose

A welcome addition to the gay social scene

(Left-right) Nop, Paul, Stephanie, Helga, Colin and Dong have fun at the grand opening of ‘La Vie en Rose.’

Andy Archer
Last week saw the grand opening of a new gay bar on Huey Kaew Road, La Vie en Rose. Situated opposite Hillside 4 Condo building, and next door to ‘Nimman Kitchen by Krit,’ the new watering hole is also owned by Krit and Noi, and is a great business idea in these difficult times, as food can be ordered from the restaurant and delivered to the bar! Over 200 people attended the opening, enjoying the free wine, beer and canapés laid on by the owners, and the music provided by Payap University’s saxophone quartet the ‘Four Brothers.’ Numbers by Scott Joplin and Chick Correa proved very popular! One guest told the Chiang Mai Mail ‘The opening was a huge success. However, more important than the numbers attending was the friendly atmosphere, with the Chiang Mai gay community together as one big family. After the recent unpleasantness, we all had the feeling that in some way we belong together.’
La Vie en Rose plans to regularly organise small events which will fit the main purpose of this bar: To provide a meeting place for the gay community in Chiang Mai, both residents and tourists, Thai and farang.
For further information, please visit http://la-vie-en-rose.110mb.com.


US Consul confirms November visit of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

US Consul General Michael Morrow (2nd left)
at the Expat Club with the committee members.

Elena Edwards
At the recent fortnightly meeting of the Chiang Mai Expats Club, the speaker was the US Consul Michael Morrow, who gave an interesting, amusing and informative talk about his personal view of events in Thailand since his previous talk to the group. He also mentioned the forthcoming visit of the new US Secretary of State, better known as Hilary Clinton, ex-first lady of the USA, and confirmed the visit in November of ex-president Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, who will be here to join with Habitat for Humanity’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project’s Mekong Build initiative. During the couple’s five-day visit, 82 homes will be built from the ground upwards on a site at Moo Baan Nong Kan Kru for the benefit of families at present in seriously sub-standard housing.
The initiative aims to bring more attention to the problem of poverty housing, not only in Thailand, but also in the Greater Mekong sub-region, with the hope that it will serve as a catalyst in influencing more individuals and donors to take action by building more homes for the less fortunate.
The American consul took part in an extensive question and answer session, with wide-ranging subjects from visa requirements through pollution to the number of Peace Corps volunteers at present in Thailand.
A donation of 5,000 baht from the Expats Club to the Chiang Mai Toy Ride charity was made, after a report that the January Toy Ride had attracted more than 200 riders, and raised 240,000 baht. The second ride this year will take place in November. A date will be announced later.


‘Friendship’ Tree Planting at Ban Papai

Elena Edwards
Chiang Mai Friends Group would like to invite everyone to join them in their planned ‘Friendship Tree Planting’ trip to Ban Papai self-sufficiency village, to take place on Wednesday, April 1.
This planting session will involve placing around 300 fruit trees in the 279 villagers’ gardens. Everyone in the village has promised to look after the trees, and will prepare fertiliser and support sticks for the saplings in advance. Each tree will be registered, and will be checked out on the Friends’ regular Sunday visits for the afternoon English class.
Everyone must surely be aware of the positive effects on the environment of planting trees, particularly as, to date, over 70% of Thailand’s natural forests have disappeared during the last half century. ‘Trees are the lungs of the planet’ is not just a convenient catch-phrase, it’s the truth, and ‘the more, the merrier!’
Cost will be 100 baht per person, which will include transportation from one of the pick-up points (see below), documents and lunch. If you intend to use your own transport, we would still appreciate your 100 baht in support. If you can’t come and would still like to donate and have a tree planted in your name, please let us know.
The meeting points are as follows:
8 a.m. at the Amari Rincome’s car park on Nimmanhaeminda Road and at Boutique Travel Service’s office on Sridonchai Road. Approximately 8.15 a.m. at Rimping supermarket, Mee Chok Plaza, and 8 30 a.m. at Horizon Village on Highway 118, the Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai Road.
Full directions to Ban Papai village: Follow Highway 118 to the Doi Saket turn-off (Rd. 1007) with the temple at the top of the hill seen on your right. Turn right at the traffic lights, with the temple directly in front of you. Pass Doi Saket District Office, then take the first left and follow the blue sign with white lettering stating ‘Papai, Home Stay.’ The village is 9 kilometres from the sign. To confirm your participation, please contact Khun Tick at Chiang Mai Friends Group on 053 206 121 or 089 433 4926. You may also email on [email protected] gmail.com, but please do let us know by 3 p.m. on March 31.


Local Thai consumers prefer wine to whisky

Enjoying the Wine Tasting at Wine Connections were Jonathan, Oriol,
 Wilathinee with Kike, Annie and Sine from Mi Casa Restaurant.

George Powell
An early evening event was held recently at Wine Connections to promote wines from the Spanish vineyard Vallformosa. Oriol Domenech, guest of honour and representative of the family winery, explained to guests that Vallformosa is literally translated as ‘beautiful ballet.’ Oriol’s family has owned the winery for 5 generations, and was more than happy to pass on his wealth of knowledge about the vineyard and wine production in Spain to the assembled guests. Although this was not his first visit to Thailand, it was his first to Chiang Mai, he was surprised at the level of appreciation of wine he had found amongst younger Thai consumers. Wine, he remarked, is becoming more fashionable and more of a social drink in the city, rather than just a means of getting drunk!
Three white and three red wines were on offer. One of the most popular was the Vallformosa Sauvignon Blanc, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, dry, crisp and fruity and perfect as an aperitif. Another favourite was the Primum Vitae Rioja, 100% Tempranillo, with its fresh bouquet, light and fruity with a notable presence of strawberry and raspberry plus contributions of rose and geranium. Canapés were served to accompany the wines, and the neighbouring food shops stayed open in case more substantial alternatives were needed! To complement the wine, musical entertainment was provided by ‘Triple,’ whose regular venue is the Riverside Restaurant.