Local Musician Moises Borges Talks Openly About Pandemic’s Impact on Career and Shares His Advice for Aspiring Guitarists

The COVID-19 pandemic put millions of people out of work, especially artists. However, Brazilian jazz musician, Moises Borges was a lucky exception.

Cleveland roots 


Moises is a resident of Cleveland, Ohio who enjoys playing Brazilian rhythms such as the samba and the bossa nova; these are both different types of jazz music with unique dance patterns. He used to be a photographer until he picked up a guitar for the first time when he was twenty-nine. He began playing when he was thirty years old by teaching himself.

“I didn’t take classes,” he laughs.

Brazilian influences


Borges says that his biggest musical influence was the Brazilian artist João Gilberto “because of the way he plays…. He was the creator of the bossa nova.”

Playing through a pandemic


When all of the venues in Cleveland were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Moises was fortunate to continue his career thanks to a community movement that he started called The Front Lawn Concerts.

Moises Borges Profile Pic
Moises Borges Profile Pic. Courtesy of Moises Borges.

“I saw every front lawn as a potential concert venue, and they were on private properties so people were bringing lawn chairs and stayed six feet from each other in a big grass area without too much traffic, and at that time all of the musicians were available. They all wanted to play so I had any band that I wanted, and people that came were very generous with the tips so we all got paid, and every single sunny day we played live music. No matter what day of the week, it was because it was a shutdown anyway. We probably played seventy to eighty Front Lawn Concerts in 2020 and 2021,” he states.


Good Vibrations


He says that what he likes best about being a musician is tuning his guitar in a special way.

“I like to tune it at 432 instead of 440 which resonates with the hertz frequency of the planet and that is a curing sound. I don’t really tell the audience much about it. I feel that it is a curing sound that people really love and they don’t know why. It helps to heal,” says Borges.

He laughs when he tells me that what he likes the least about his job is setting up and taking down sound equipment.

Music’s rewards


During his short career, Moises has received numerous music award nominations; the one that he found most flattering was a Cleveland Music Award for Best Jazz Band that he received in the summer of 2023. He also placed fourth in a 2020 nationwide song competition at the BDO Live Song Festival. In 2020 he took second place in the Cleveland Power of Sport Summit-Sport Song Competition.

Moises Borges sits on the beach with his guitar wearing pair of sunglasses and bright color t-shirt.
Moises Borges sits on the beach with his guitar, wearing a pair of sunglasses and a bright-colored t-shirt. Courtey of Moises Borges.


Advice for young artists


Borges’s advice for aspiring guitarists can be summed up with one simple word.

“Breathe,” he tells them.

He explains that oxygen provides clarity that allows musical notes to flow through your mind like a river. He also advises young players to stay away from alcohol because that destroys clarity.

New album is out now!


Moises Borges’s latest album is titled Baiano. It can currently be purchased at his website: https://moisesborges.com/music.


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