Samba is Community

samba da vela

On Wednesday night, Samba da Vela came to play. Literally meaning Samba of the Candle, the concept is simple: a candle is lit in the center of the space and the band plays until the candle burns out. The band is in the center of the room and plays with the audience, who is sitting all around them. Musicians bring people up to dance, have the audience call and respond, and they share stories about their music.

I was immediately struck by how comforting and warm it was. Even though my experience was probably much different than that of most of the audience — I didn’t grow up with this music — I still felt at home. There were people of all ages there, from children to college kids to older people. And even the space it was held in, a subterranean hole, made it feel even more intimate.

samba da vela

While Samba da Vela usually plays in the southern neighborhood of Santo Amaro on Monday nights, they came to Centro Cultural São Paulo (CCSP) as part of Estéticas das Periferias, a six day festival that celebrates the art and culture of the periphery in the literal and metaphorical sense — those who live on the outskirts of the city tend to be the poor, marginalized classes. This Sunday, Estéticas closes in Vila Nova Cachoeirinha in Zona Norte with DJs, poets, samba and a performance by rapper Emicida.

Inviting the audience to stand and get in closer, Samba da Vela closed with their song “A Comunidade Chora,” or The Community Weeps. The community weeps because the candle has burned out, ending the samba. Until Monday, where they’ll light another candle in Santo Amaro.

Histórias

Exposição Histórias Mestiças, Instituto Tomie Ohtake

The Instituto Tomie Ohtake recently opened their newest exhibition Histórias Mestiças, or Mestizo Histories. While the word history in English mostly refers to past, factual events, in Portuguese história has a more broad meaning to include both factual and fictional, public or personal accounts.

This exhibit is based on the notion that there are multiple histories that occur, not just a singular narrative. These histórias are shown through a variety of paintings, textiles, photographs, sculptures, historical documents and other objects. The organization of these objects is key: instead of being grouped by culture or time period, they are grouped by theme. There are seven in total: trails and maps, encounters and dis-encounters, masks and portraits, cosmologies and national emblems, rites and religions, work, weavings and graphic inscriptions. The result is seeing, for example, the myriad of ways work has occurred in Brazil, with torture devices used on slaves displayed next to indigenous peoples’ hunting tools.

Histórias Mestiças are marginal and subaltern, anthropophagic and post-colonial, multiple and inconstant, fractured and transversal histories; they are histories of flow and reflux, full of segregation, prejudice and discrimination. As we reestablish connections with other matrices, we rewrite histories of the past and propose new ones for the future.

-Adriano Pedrosa, curator

The exhibition runs from August 16 to October 5.

mesticas

Cosmologies and National Emblems

mestica2

Rites and Religions

Olodumaré; not a textile but actually an acrylic painting!

Oxumaré by Caetano de Almeida; not a textile but actually an acrylic painting!

Tanga or loincloth

Tanga or loincloth in Weavings

Slaves' shackles; presented in the Work section

Slaves’ shackles; presented in Work

Indigenous spatulas, used to flip over manioc cake.

Indigenous spatulas, used to flip over manioc cake.

Nego Bom (literally "Good Black") is a banana candy. With each numbered worker here, you learned their monthly salary, how many people were in their family and other info.

Nego Bom (literally “Good Black”) is a banana candy. With each numbered worker here, you learned their monthly salary, how many people were in their family and other info.

Each tube is labeled with a skin color.

Each tube is labeled with a skin color.

Retrato Silenciado (Silenced Portrait) by Dalton Paula. Notice their eyes are closed.

Retrato Silenciado (Silenced Portrait) by Dalton Paula. Notice their eyes are closed.

Part of the Masks and Portraits section.

Part of Masks and Portraits.

Slave's passport

Slave’s passport

Map of Brazil from 1565. The Rio de la Plata (which is southwest of Brazil, between Argentina and Uruguay) is labeled on the northwest part. The top portion is labeled Terra Non Descoberta, or Undiscovered Territory.

Map of Brazil from 1565. The Rio de la Plata (which is southwest of Brazil, between Argentina and Uruguay) is labeled on the northwest part. The top portion is labeled Terra Non Descoberta, or Undiscovered Territory.

Encounters and Dis-encounters section. The top row is a series of drawings by an indigenous artist. The second row is a series of paintings done by a European artist of indigenous Brazilians during colonial times. The last row is a series of photographs taken by a Swiss- Brazilian photographer during the 1980s when Brazil was taking measures to distribute vaccines. Because this particular tribe do not have any known names, they were given numbers for government records.

Encounters and Dis-encounters. The top row is a series of drawings by an indigenous artist. The second row is a series of paintings done by a European artist of indigenous Brazilians during colonial times. The last row is a series of photographs taken by a Swiss- Brazilian photographer during the 1980s when Brazil was taking measures to distribute vaccines. Because this particular tribe do not have any known names, they were given numbers for government records.

 

 

Brown Rhythm

Earlier this week the MIS (Museu da Imagem e do Som) had singer/songwriter/composer Carlinhos Brown as a guest for their monthly series Notas Contemporâneas, where he discussed his career, axé music, and the background of specific songs, performed by a guest band. While the whole evening was great, my favorite moment was at one point where in the middle of the band playing a song, Brown suddenly got up from his chair and uncovered a dusty piano sitting in the far corner, nearly obscured from view. He decided to play a bit to accompany them, but given that it wasn’t mic’ed up, it didn’t add much. The next few songs he stuck to sitting with the moderator and fingering the chords as the band played.

But then another song came on that provoked him to get up, make his way through the band and varying instruments, and arrive at a drum sitting in the corner. He inched a microphone on a stand near it, crouched down in the back and played that drum.

Carlinhos Brown at MIS

Brown crouched way in the back.

Journalist Cadão Volpato moderated the event as Brown discussed Timbalada, Tribalistas, Carlitos Marrón and more.

Journalist Cadão Volpato moderated the event as Brown discussed Timbalada, Tribalistas, Carlitos Marrón and more.

Thanking everyone in the end. Afterwards he did an impromptu performance of "Verdade, Uma Ilusão" with just him on the keyboards.

Thanking everyone in the end. Afterwards he did an impromptu performance of “Verdade, Uma Ilusão” with just him on the keyboards.