Brazil­ian acts learn­ing to DIY or call it a day

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

Think of Brazil and mu­sic comes to mind al­most as quickly as foot­ball. Samba and bossa-nova may be the mar­quee sounds that dom­i­nate the land­scape, but Brazil’s mu­si­cal smarts are as wide and deep as the coun­try it­self.

Of course, that sound­track changes and morphs from state to state. The gau­cho sounds which linger over the border from Ar­gentina and Uruguay and are heard through­out Rio Grande do Sol, for in­stance, have com­pletely dis­ap­peared by the time you reach Mi­nas Gerais. There, more lyri­cal, melan­cholic sounds fea­ture in the mu­si­cal con­ver­sa­tions.

Add in those bands who op­er­ate in the broad rock, pop and elec­tronic area, many of whom are in­flu­enced in one way or an­other by their lo­ca­tion, and you have a tremen­dous mu­si­cal melt­ing pot to con­sider.

Yet th­ese mu­si­cians still have to en­gage with the mu­sic busi­ness, re­gard­less of the style of mu­sic they’re parad­ing. And when they do so, Brazil­ian mu­si­cians ex­pe­ri­ence the same is­sues and prob­lems – the demise of the record in­dus­try, the rise of the live sec­tor – as their peers world­wide.

For the last week, this writer has been part of an in­ter­na­tional mu­sic in­dus­try trade group tour­ing the coun­try giv­ing work­shops and sem­i­nars to mu­sic pro­duc­ers and in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als. The group’s ex­per­tise cov­ers such ar­eas as me­dia, mu­sic su­per­vi­sion, brand­ing, live pro­mo­tion, record la­bels, artist ser­vices, mar­ket­ing and mu­sic con­ven­tions.

This Com­prador & Imagem tour, which vis­its Porto Ale­gre, Belo Hor­i­zonte, For­taleza and Belém, is or­gan­ised by the Brazil­ian mu­sic ex­port group, Brasil Mu­sic & Artes. The main aim of the project is to al­low Brazil­ian acts to ob­tain in­for­ma­tion about how get­ting their mu­sic pro­moted abroad and make con­tacts.

While some acts are con­tent to make a de­cent liv­ing at home, many know they will have to look over­seas to grow rev­enue and sales. The for­eign suc­cess of Brazil­ian acts CSS and Bonde Do Role means that the sem­i­nars an­a­lysed how th­ese acts have cap­i­talised on tour­ing, hav­ing songs placed in ad­verts and cre­at­ing an on­line buzz.

Iron­i­cally, both bands are prob­a­bly still bet­ter known out­side Brazil than they are at home.

What clearly comes across at all the sem­i­nars is that Mu­sic Busi­ness 2.0 is about the act tak­ing the ini­tia­tive and do­ing the work – work that once would have been del­e­gated to a la­bel or third party. Acts not pre­pared to do such heavy lift­ing and use read­ily avail­able pro­mo­tional and mar­ket­ing tools, such as MyS­pace, to plug their wares would be bet­ter off find­ing an­other ca­reer.

For the vis­i­tors, the tour is an op­por­tu­nity to check out re­gional scenes and hear acts who are some­times rarely heard out­side their home states.

The mu­sic on show is quite mind-bog­gling in terms of di­ver­sity. One of the very first acts seen was ac­cor­dion player Gil­berto Mon­teiro, the swash­buck­ling and dra­matic Porto Ale­gre mu­si­cian mak­ing that in­stru­ment sound like it has never done be­fore.

Oth­ers who’ve made an im­pres­sion in­clude post-rock duo Músi­cas In­ter­mináveis para Vi­agem; teenage metal band Pleiades (who made the Top 10 of BBC World Ser­vice’s Next Big Thing com­pe­ti­tion); clown-rock­ers Band­inha Di Da Do; Belo Hor­i­zonte’s Erika Machado with her soul­ful, slo-mo songs; and vet­eran jazz gui­tarist Ton­inho Horta.

An­other old-school fig­ure in ac­tion at the BH show­cases was Marku Ribas. The samba-soul singer has col­lab­o­rated and played with ev­ery­one from Mil­ton Nasci­mento to The Rolling Stones. With a killer band be­hind him, Ribas is still very much in the game. A les­son there for all the new kids on the samba block.

Bonde Do Role: a role model for Brazil­ian bands look­ing to go global

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