Day Thirteen – Will the real Samba please stand up

Firstly apologies to Chico and the team but on day thirteen Clare and I decided to venture off in to Rio to soak up some of the life of the city outside of the festival.

We made our way to Gloria metro station and met a lovely man clutching a ponseta (still can’t quite grasp Chistmas in the sun). He was going to deliver the plant to his aunt who lives in Santa Teresa also our destination. He mentioned that a good way up the hill to Santa Teresa, if we felt adventuress, was by motorcycle taxi. After a few minutes trying to find said bikes and much debate we went for it. 3reals to take us up the hill to Largo Do Guimaraes the centre point of this old bohemian hub. Ramshakle and beautiful Santa Teresa has many beautiful restaurants and the views across Rio’s downtown are great. After lunch at Cafe Alto a Northern Brazilian food stop we then stepped out into Largo Do Guimaraes to find that a samba band had set up in the bar and were blasting out beautiful rhythms with voices sifting through the steets of Santa Teresa.  It may have been a band in a bar but they were great.

We then meandered down the hill to set off for the Modern Art Gallery in Parque do Flamengo. What an amazing building. Designed by Alfonso Eduardo Reidy and built in 1955. My thoughts of course turned to Counterflows’ new commission with Richard Youngs. How great would it be to perform his new work for singers based on modernist architecture here at next year’s Novas Frequencias. Beneath the building there is a social space where dancers and musicians gather. This would be a perfect setting for Richard’s new piece.

The main exhibition in the gallery was a show of the Brazilian artist Amilcar De Castro. A really nice show of his sculptures and big black and white canvases. His wooden and iron sculptures were really great. Upstairs there were collections themed by various strands of Brazilian life and philosophy. A remark made on one of the panels struck a cord with me – that it has taken a long time for the old European and American guard to take notice of Brazilian art. Culture flows slowly generally in the direction from the affluent to the poor… now that the world has changed so dramatically economically the old powers are hanging on by looking to the new areas to almost patronisingly say, it is Ok for you now to be seen as culturally sophisticated. This will not do!

The partnership between Counterflows and Novas Frequencias to me is about a cultural equality. It is a sharing of the new and exciting. Of closely exploring differences and similarities and of developing new friendships.

Modern Art Galleryphoto