Beats, accents, sounds. “There are many Brazils”, former president Juscelino Kubitschek used to say last century. He wasn’t talking about the nuts. In a period of under 60 years, the country’s population jumped from 72 million in 1960 to 210 million in 2018. This made the many “Brazils” grow, from north to south, while maintaining their individual characteristics in terms of food, customs, culture and music. With the digital revolution, local agents began to engage, to converge and grow stronger in small niches, which have become more consolidated every year.
Artists from all over the country continue to create music and music scenes by amplifying the voice of the new generations. From the dity of Goiania - home to the Bananada and the Goiania Noise Festivals - , Boogarins was sprung to the world. From Rio Grande do Norte - home to Do Sol and Mada fests - Far From Alaska advanced great lenghts by recording an album in the US and touring festivals in Europe. In the Northern state of Pará - home to the Se Rasgum Festival and also the technobrega music - Gaby Amarantos and Dona Onete were propelled into the hall of fame. From Pernambuco - home to the No Ar Coquetel Molotov, Abril Pro Rock and Rec Beat fests - Johnny Hooker spread his wings with his flaming soulful rhythms.
States such as Pará and Amazonas have achieved significant success in the contemporary production, despite the lack of public support.
States such as Pará and Amazonas have achieved significant success in
the contemporary production, despite the lack of public support. “There
is a moment of effervescence (in the local scene) like we haven’t seen
in ages”, confirms Erick Omena from the band Luneta Magica, who is also
the producer of the festivals Nema and Noites do Norte, both in Manaus
(the capital of Amazonas). He celebrates the recent passing of a
municipal law for culture incentives, while also noting that although
still modest, it may bear great results in the future."
now move to the Midwest. The Federal District is famous for its public
policies and incentives to the local scene. Awarded with the SIM Project
of the Year Prize in 2017, Conexao Cultura DF has taken regional
artists and professionals to expos, events and festival across Brazil
and the world. “It has demonstrated efficiency not just in music, but
across all artistic languages”, says Daniela Diniz, Undersecretary for
Cultural Development Policies in the Federal District. “A Culture
Support Fund was already in place, but it was more focused on training.
Generating new avenues - such as tours, internships and exchanges - has
helped artists to access public resources for activities vital to their
career”, she explains. “The SIM Award was a market recognition of a
grassroots public policy, demonstrating that culture is indeed a factor
for the District social economic development integration”, she adds.
The support for the local production encouraged the creation of new festivals, such as CoMA (Music and Arts Conference) and Picnik. They joined forces with the already established Porão do Rock (which just turned 20) Satélite 061 and Favela Sounds, amongst others on the extensive Brazilian live music circuit list.
The music from the Northeastern state of Bahia, which for several decades has been identified simply as Axé Music, is now experiencing a moment of aesthetical diversification. “Outsiders assumed we only listened to Axé and carnival music, but that has never been the case. The demise of Axé was fundamental, asit - perhaps unwillingly - left a gap for things that already existed, but only within a niche”, evaluates Luciano Matos, in charge of the website El Cabong, and also of the radio show and festival Radioca, in Salvador (the state capital). In the past few years, we’ve seen many artists emerge: BaianaSystem, Baco Exu do Blues, ÀTTØØXXÁ, Afrocidade and also the winners of the SIM Prize 2017 New Talents category, Giovani Cidreira and Larissa Luz.
Luciano believes that the internal market played a central role in the dissemination of this new scene, as well as the public sector. “Up until 2006 we had not Culture Secretary, but instead a joint Culture and Tourism Secretary, and their aim was to support parties and artists that would be attractive for tourists. Axé Music benefited enormously from this. There were no public policies aimed solely at culture. Things began to change that year, and the production chain became stronger. We had public tenders and frameworks, more solid support. Sadly, this has disappeared in the past few year. The economic crisis was to blame, and no one anticipates a return to the golden years”, he laments,
The activity in the Northeastern of Ceará is very intense. Ivan Ferraro, coordinator at the Feira da Música de Fortaleza (Fortaleza Music Expo) and also at the accelerator Dragão do Mar believes that the growth of small music venues - for the consolidation of festivals and events such as the Expo and Maloca Dragão - is responsible for the good moment. Getúlio Abelha, one of the participants at Porto Dragão Sessions (a project that selected 15 local artists - from a total of 133 applications - for a live TV and YouTube show) notes: “I can feel a chain of artistic activity where an artist feeds the other in order to produce something. The internet and the market decentralization have enabled us to understand that we can trust our aesthetics and market. People from Ceará began to perceive themselves as a cultural force to be reckoned with in Brazil”. In Ivan’s opinion, the public sector is vital for this artistic renaissance. “This current government has focused on culture like none of its predecessors. The Culture Secretary plays a central role, and the Centro Dragão do Mar has also played an important part as a space for promoting music.
The state of Minas Gerais has the third highest number of applications for the showcases at SIM São Paulo (only behind São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro). It has always been one of the cradles of Brazilian music, and it’s now experiencing an excellent movement: “We’re witnessing a fantastic moment starting with the number of new musicians and composers constantly producing new work, releasing music, and also networking across the globe creating an alternative to the Rio-São Paulo cultural hub. The only ones outside the axis are those who have not yet realized they are hubs themselves”, comments Barral Lima, CEO at the UN Music group.
Producer Renata Almeida believes that the public sector has given us good “examples of how to develop policies in a partnership with sector stakeholders, thus fostering the local creative and industries in the past few years”. Minas Gerais now hosts more festivals than any other state in Brazil, with more than 20 events this year alone. “There have been important milestones and the fight goes on so that we don’t lose what we have already achieved. At the same time, we also have to establish new initiatives. The fear comes from the future, and the possibility that these projects may be discontinued.
Henrique Staino from the band Iconili says it’s necessary “to get rid of the red tape in the government tenders and to strengthen public sector policies in order to vouch for the health of our cultural output, regardless of government change”. May it serve as an example to the rest of the country.
In the southern state of Parana, the busiest time of the year is around the festivals Coolritiba, Estopim, Panapaná and FIMS, the international Southern Music Expo. “When we set an expo here, many festivals artists and music scenes began to converge and talk, all under one huge umbrella”, notes Estrela Leminski, artist, producer and event director (alongside Teo Ruiz).
In the neighboring state of Santa Catarina, actions such as Turn Sound Festival - which is aimed at new business, audience development and career ladder in the music market - have resulted in very good results for the local scene. “In addition to the business side, Tum also promotes learning through music workshops”,comments Chico Abreu, bassist of the band Skrotes. He mentions the legendary initiative Psicodália. “It inspired other festivals and helped to place Santa Catarina on the independent music map of Brazil”, Chico affirms.
In Brazil’s southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, the potential is pulverised beyond the capital Porto Alegre. The Vale dos Sinos area gave birth to the chillwave exponent Supervao and the Lezma Records label. Caxias do Sul is home to Honeybomb, which has spread the psychedelic Catavento to every corner of the country, plus it’s also where the Brazilian Street Music Festival takes place, and the birthplace of the artists Yangos and CCOMA.