Joie de Vivre

Eduardo and me

It took me over a year to find the man you see pictured above. His name is Eduardo Gaya and, although he may not show it here, he may be the happiest person I’ve ever met.

Some people seem happy, but it’s a bit of a phony veneer. It’s the kind of look-at-me happiness that they’ve adopted after spending too many hours in the self-help aisle of the local bookstore. But Mr. Gaya’s buoyant mood swells from deep within. You know, instinctively, after spending just a few moments with him that he is organically imbued with a wellspring of joie de vivre.

I first caught sight of him walking through my neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. I actually heard him before I saw him, for Eduardo is an extraordinary whistler. He is, as you can see, a dapper dresser too. So, here comes this elderly bon vivant..dressed to the nines…whistling his way with singular intent through the heart of the big city.

He whistles the Great American Songbook with more than a nod toward the preeminent Latin portfolio. He knows his Gershwin, his Berlin, his Cole Porter. Because Eduardo was born in South America, he has got the birthright rhythm of Antonio Carlos Jobim deep in his bones. The Bossa Nova and the Samba percolate just beneath the surface. If there’s a Latin lilt in his step, it’s because he’s never more than a beat or two away from breaking into a complete dance.

So I saw him, in passing, a couple of times over the past year. He was always whistling a terrific tune…a song I recognized instantly. And I made a pledge that one day I would stop this frisky fellow on the sidewalk and discover his story.

Finally, one day a week or so ago, it happened. The whistling Eduardo walked up behind me while I was waiting at a cross walk. I broke the ice.

Today, accompanied by a cameraman, I visited Eduardo at his Toronto home and discovered the artist within. For most of his adult life Eduardo Gaya has crafted the most extraordinary enamels. His work is breathtakingly detailed…a meld of intricate metalwork amid plains of kiln-fired, jewel-like colour. Exhibitions of his work have spanned the globe.

And he is almost pathologically happy. His gestures are big. His passion for life is raw and robust. He is one of the most entertaining interview subjects I have ever found…and I’ve been putting people on television for more than 35 years.

Some people boost your mood by welcoming you into the sphere of their spirit. Eduardo Gaya is one of those souls. And we got together only because I happened to catch him whistling.

I can’t wait to bring you his story.



11 Responses to “Joie de Vivre”

  1. Am looking forward to hearing that story!

  2. I know exactly what you mean, I love connecting with people like that and look forward to hearing this story!

  3. I am looking forward to the story as well.

  4. Would love to see pictures of his work Dave. Does he have a website?

    • He does not have a website. I spent only an hour or so with him but it was readily apparent that Mr. Gaya is a true renaissance man, in every sense of that term. I asked him if he considered himself ‘a man out of his time’ and he quickly agreed. After all, he is immersed in an ancient art form that dates well back into the Byzantine era. He feels the world lacks a sense of style and has become ‘mundane’. Technology, aside from the cd player on which he enjoys his music, leaves him cold. I wish I had his moxie.

  5. I will be looking forward also to that story! 🙂

  6. Karen Deegan Says:

    Hey Dave – I say it takes 1 to know 1, meaning you have that sparkle in your eye – don’t try to deny it, you can be humble all you want, with instance maybe cooking, although I know you are a gourmet as well – it’s all true, imho, the joy of life is in your blood as well and I’m grateful for when those nuggets of fun and all else that you share with us – whistle me a tune and I hope to be wandering the streets when you do

  7. When I met Eduardo in 1978, he and his work effected a fundamental chjange in my life and that of my spouse, Sharon. Eduardo is a rare example of a man who exhibits humanity with an abundance of joy and huge talent. My life is better for having been associated with him–as is my art collection.

  8. Kimberly Ann Race Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS DAVE!!! on winning The International RTDNA Edward R. Murrow award for this FABULOUS work. Your communication – written and verbal is TRULY A GIFT for all of us to enjoy!

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