Comprador e Imagem, Part I: Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Melting Pot

The first day activities for the nine participants in the Comprador e Imagem project was a set of showcases in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city. Sao Paulo’s music is a reflection of the myriad of cultures that have met and fused there: European, African and indigenous.

Sao Paulo has excellent cultural centers. Many of them are part of the SESC (Serviço Social do Comercio) system. SESC is a nonprofit institution of national scope. It was created in 1946 to promote  Brazil’s cultural and artistic development, and social welfare.

Four showcases were held Saturday evening, August 11, at the beautiful SESC Vila Mariana. The first group to appear was a trio named Axial. The group played pieces from its most recent CD, Senoide. The music is a dreamy collection of songs that combine recreations of traditional music from Brazil, Haiti and Africa with electronica and jazz. The group’s members are: Sandra Ximenex (vocals and keyboards), Felipe Julián (bass and computers), and Leonardo Muniz Correa (sax and clarinet).

The next performance was an electric guitar fest by a legendary figure in Brazilian music. Rock guitarist Lanny Gordin performed in ther past with some of the biggest names in Brazilian music. He treated the audience to instrumental rock music with blues, jazz and Brazilian influences. Gordin has a brand new album titled Duos(Barravento Artes/Universal Music) where he is joined by many of his friends: Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Chico César, Adriana Calcanhotto, and many more. 

The third act was Moises Santana, a charismatic singer who is categorized as MPB (Brazilian Popular Music). Santana blends pop, rock and electronica with Afro-Brazilian rhythms.

The last performance of the night was by virtuoso jazz bassist Dudu Lima. He used acoustic and electric basses, showcasing a mix of contemporary jazz and Brazilian sounds. 

On Sunday, the 9 international guests participated in a seminar at SESC Vila Mariana. The group was split into two. The Compradores group, formed by Pat Berry of world music label Six Degrees Records (USA), Beverly Koeckeritz of video game giant EA – Electronic Arts (Canada), Jordy Trachtenberg of The Orchard (USA), and Tom Windish of Windish Agency (USA) talked about their respective companies and mentioned the processes they follow to acquire new music or talent.

The Compradores were well chosen by BM&A. Video game company EA is a multibillion dollar enterprise with sports (FIFA) and simulation (The Sims) games that are popular worldwide. The video game industry is larger and generates more revenue than the movie industry. EA licenses hundreds of music tracks every year, which means tremendous international exposure to the artists selected.

Pat Berry was invited as representative of the record labels. His company, Six Degrees Records, is an eclectic label that produces and markets world music and ambient recordings. It has been very successful with two Brazilian artists, Bebel Gilberto and CéU.

The digital distribution industry was represented by Jordy Trachtenberg of The Orchard. The company is a leading digital distributor of music. It distributes music MP3s from independent record labels and independent musicians. The Orchard represents thousands of labels and artists spanning 73 countries and every music genre. It supplies music to eMusic, iTunes, MSN, Rhapsody, Napster and over 150 other digital music stores throughout the world. They provided valuable about how to approach their companies and how to present music.

Touring in North America was part of the agenda. American booking agent Tom Windish explained how booking agents in the United states work. He created the Windish Agency in 2004 and exclusively represents pop, rock, and world music artists for bookings in the USA and Canada.

After the buyers came the second set of participants, the Imagem group, formed by Marc Benaïche of world music site Mondomix (France), independent publicist Jody Gillett (UK), Tracy Mann of PR firm MG Limited (USA), Angel Romero of World Music Central (USA), and Andrea Sbaragli of www.bras.it (Italy). The journalists and PR experts provided expertise about the best ways to promote Brazilian music in their respective countries

During lunch there was a show by Orquestra de Rua at SESC Vila Mariana. The group includes street musicians who were organized by musician and conductor Livio Tragtenberg. The musicians come from various regions of Brazil as well as artists from Paraguay and Bolivia. The musical influences include Japanese, Paraguayan, Bolivian, and Nordestino music. Of special interest is an style performed by two musicians from northeast Brazil. "The style is called embolada, " says Livio Trachtenberg. "It is poetry improvised in a kind of question-answer structure with the pandeiro’s rhythm. It is typical in the northeast of Brazil; it is our rap."

The Orquestra de Músicos das Ruas de São Paulo includes: Emerson Boy – sax and accordion; Alfredo Luis – percussion; Peneira & Sonhador – emboladores; Jorge do Cavaco – cavaquinho; Franco – vocals and guitar; Reiko Nagase – shamizen; Yuko Ogura – koto; Rubén Vera – vocals, guitar and accordion; Eric Paredes – Paraguayan harp; Walter Castillo – vocals and guitar; Frank – guitarrón; Nazaré – percussion, Claudio dos Santos – trombone; José Ortiz Dorado – zampoña, Andean flutes; Verinho – accordion; Livio Tragtenberg – clarinet, keyboards and direction. The group has a CD titled Neurópolis (SESC, 2007)

Livio Tragtenberg is working on a new creation for next year mixing musicians from The Street Musicians Orchestra from Sao Paulo and members of his "Nervous City Orchestra" from Miami. They will be performing a new work first in Brazil and later in Miami, Florida, in 2008.

After lunch, the nine international representatives had one on one meetings with Brazilian producers, musicians and record labels. In the evening, the nine participants were invited to a performance at the magnificent Auditório Ibirapuera by two outstanding instrumentalists, guitarist Yamandú Costa and legendary accordionist Dominguinhos.

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All photos by Angel Romero, © 2007.

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