Jazzfest Berlin – São Paulo
Negro Leo – São Paulo Underground – Quartabê – Mariá Portugal – Metá Metá
Disdaining neither pop and folkloristic traditions nor free improvisation and the avant-garde, the barely categorizable sound of São Paulo’s contemporary creative scene often ventures into experimental, virtuoso and intractable areas, taking turns that are at times political and at times humorous. With its cosmopolitan, open atmosphere, the city not only offers musical variety but fertile ground for the experimentation with new formats.
Manoela Wright and Juliano Gentile, the curators of the CHIII – Creative Music Festival and co-curators of Jazzfest Berlin – São Paulo, devised some innovative approaches of their own when they defied the pandemic this spring to produce an online version of the CHIII Festival.
Jazzfest Berlin could hardly have found more suitable partners – especially given the fact that the drastic dimensions of the crisis in Brazil made the possibility of a live contribution from São Paulo a remote one from an early stage.
Within an expanded curatorial team, Jazzfest Berlin has now commissioned four outstanding representatives of the local scene to create ten-minute audio-visual pieces for a special video presentation in the Betonhalle at silent green. In this way, via four independent simultaneous projections in between musical video installations, filmed concert performances and spatially expanded music videos, musicians from São Paulo will be able to maintain a creative presence in the live programme in Berlin.
“Just like the rest of Brazil, São Paulo is a city of contrasts. Musically speaking, however, it is possible to distinguish it from other Brazilian regions in terms of its relationship with local and foreign culture. With a population of over 12 million inhabitants, São Paulo has several countries, and also, we could say, several “Brazils”.
The most striking features of its music come from abroad, whether from immigration or other parts of the country – unlike cities like Rio de Janeiro, Salvador or Recife, where there is a strong local tradition. Perhaps this is the main reason why there is a territory so favorable to experimentation here, as its musical identity is constantly (re)created by artists based on cultural diversity. The intersections between genres and languages generated movements such as the so-called Vanguarda Paulista of the 1980s, going beyond the limits of the song format that is so appreciated in Brazilian culture. A more recent development is improvisation, especially free improvisation, which has been gaining ground in the last decade with new artists, festivals, producers, labels, websites and multidisciplinary alternative spaces.
The Brazilian artists selected for the Jazzfest Berlin bring experiences in several musical areas, creatively circulating along paths ranging from traditional popular culture, mainly of African or indigenous origin, to free improvisation.”
Manoela Wright & Juliano Gentile (São Paulo)