“I felt it would be better to immerse myself in the liberal mayhem of the tropics than to surrender myself to the European disaster.”
Walter Smetak (1913-1984) is one of music history’s forgotten characters. In 1937, he emigrated to Brazil and once there, he lost his western identity in a most inspiring way. He transformed into an artist who combined a multitude of influences into a fascinating oeuvre – driven by the search for collectivity, inner transformation, freedom and spirituality. As a musician, poet, sculptor and instrument maker, he was a pioneer of Brazilian counter-culture and significantly influenced the Tropicália movement.
The project “Re-inventing Walter Smetak” is the result of a thorough exploration of Smetak’s syncretistic world, carried out by four different composers. Their works created within this framework address various aspects of his work, amongst them his microtonality (conceived as an act of liberation from the norms of tonal systems), his collective improvisation practices, his experimental instruments and “sound sculptures”.