DEVELOPING AND PLAYING MUSIC IN PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS
SALVADOR - BAHIA, Brazil's first state capital strung out along the shore of the Bay of all Saints on the coast of Brazil is one of the liveliest centres of music in the world, blessed with creativity and activity. Here African traditions of cults and culture survived at their most undiluted functioning as nourishing ground of a peculiar and unique AFRO-BAHIAN MUSICAL CULTURE. In Bahia, they say, the unmistakably Brazilian carnival and Samba-music have been born. During the sixties and seventies the first Bahian generation of CONTEMPORARY BRAZILIAN COMPOSERS came to the fore, influenced by German Hans-Joachim Koellreutter and Swiss Ernst Widmer, both of them composers, conductors and school directors. It was here where in the sixties the amazing rise of MPB, the rise of MUSICA POPULAR BRAZILIEIRA took place with the TROPICALISMO-MOVEMENT of Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. In the seventies Bahia's black social movements gained momentum, and AFRO-BAHIAN POPULAR MUSIC sprang to life spreading into suburbs and favelas alike through the dynamic initiatives of the percussion groups OLODUM and TIMBALA led by Carlinhos Brown. With a background like this it was and is evident to this day that the GOETHE-INSTITUTE BAHIA has a strong focus on the world of music, be it classical or improvised like jazz, be it pop, music for theatre or musicals - each time produced in creative and intensive intercultural encounters and workshops concerned with the individual occasion. This time-tested and consistent concept of Bahian-German co-operation has spawned off the project PATA-BAHIA running from Sept. 4 to Sept. 21, 1997, with a series of studio productions and live concerts dedicated to a meeting of the Cologne jazz ensemble PATA MASTERS and seven outstanding musicians from Bahia.
PATA - BAHIA
Academically trained GERMAN JAZZ MUSICIANS formed by both classical and contemporary music meet AFRO-BAHIAN POPULAR MUSICIANS who grew up without much of a theoretical background [Image] following oral traditions, forged by a lively musical environment of Afro-cults, brass bands, carnival music, and the manyfold traditions of Brazilian popular music as well as the countless musical events in theatres, public places and bars... Wouldn't such an encounter fill many a European with sceptical thoughts, wouldn't it fill many a Brazilian with doubt and reservation, making them afraid to be "taken in"
MUSICAL TRANSGRESSIONS CEREBRAL AND VISCERAL MUSIC
At the beginning of the introductory concert the Bahians got a bit uneasy as the Cologne "FREE JAZZ" felt somewhat "aggressive" to them, while the Germans noted to their own surprise the "JUICILY PULSATING AND TWISTING MUSIC OF THE BAHIANS where even the percussion", as Norbert Stein commented, "is conceived in melodies". During the daily workshop routine musical convergence got under way at an astonishing speed for both sides. "This is a new generation of Bahian musicians", says Carlinhos Brown. "They want to be able to play with everyone in the world". With unexpected nonchalance the Germans absorbed the Bahian RHYTHMS, the CULTIC CHANTS, the BALLADESQUE SONGS and the IMPROVISED POETIC LYRICS. With equal ease and spontaneity the Bahians picked up on the improvisations and the ideas introduced by the Germans concerning programme-sequences and arrangements. They work hard and with discipline, but at the same time they stay relaxed and avoid pressure, being carried along by curiosity and sheer fun. "It's not just a get-together of musicians", remarks a Cologne musician, "it's people opening up for each other - our relation is genuinely communicative". There is no shapeless concoction of shallow "fusion" sounds, however. Each musician feels and is aware that despite the extensive multiple "MUTUAL PENETRATIONS" the individual musical language and gesture remain intact: INTERMINGLED STRANGENESS & PECULIARITY! For the Cologne musicians strangeness & peculiarity come to the fore also in the Brazilian's different feeling where the emphasis of the beat should be placed in the complex and sophisticated rhythmical structures of Brazilian music - with the Bahians employing their atabaques, berimbaus and voices to ride these structures in absolute dexterity irrespective of their buoyant impulsiveness. "As far as melody and harmony are concerned", says Norbert Stein, "we move on equally well developed grounds with our Brazilian colleagues". The musicians from Germany, though, contribute Europe's highly developed language of improvisational sonority which in terms of expression and emotion is not in want of explanation and translation.
After just seven days of intensive and highly motivated rehearsals recording sessions started. These at the same time offered a final opportunity to mold the pieces of music into a definite shape before introducing them to the public audience during the final concert on Sept. 19. The actual concert had the musicians unwind from the tension and concentration of the preceding recording sessions. THE PULSATING DANCE-FEELING of Bahia was filtered into the musicians from Cologne, and the spark was transferred to the audience. The audible and visible vibrations of the musicians were triggering off an overwhelmingly enthusiastic audience response seldomly experienced in Bahia - STANDING OVATIONS! A TROPICAL FEVER broke out in the heated atmosphere of the concert hall cumulating in a feeling of blissful relief over what had been achieved in a mutual effort during the creative and productive rehearsal period. One could have thought the ORIXÁS DA BAHIA, the Bahian Gods, had come down from the heavens descending to inspire the musicians - was it the god of fertility and creativity, OXALÁ, who repeatedly had been invoked during the concert, or was it IEMANJÁ, the "majestic nymph and sovereign of the oceans" (Jorge Amado) Angela had sung about?
BAHIA - BLACK ROME
"Bahia, mother of Brazilian cities, Portuguese and African, abundant with stories and legends, maternal and powerful. In a likeness to the legend of IEMANJÁ, the black godess of the oceans, the city is a manifestation of the EDIPUS-COMPLEX. Bahians love her as mother and lover with both adoring and lascivious tenderness. Bahia does not need benevolence, but she needs our understanding and support for her MAGIC TO BE LIBERATED FROM MISERY, to remove the stain of hunger from her beauty." (Jorge Amado) How did the musicians from Cologne react to BAHIA? "You get captured by the whole life of this city. There is no feeling of separation - just open hearts. Music is everywhere - they drum on the bodys of cars, they play in open squares, in ballrooms and bars...muqueca for lunch and for dinner, the culinary pleasures of Bahian cuisine, and capirinhas, capirinhas, capirinhas..." At the farewell party the band plays TRISTE BAHIA, the song Caetano Veloso composed during his London exile, and NOSTALGIA - that's when the musicians from Cologne begin to understand what the longing of SAUDADE means to a Brazilian... BAHIA again in seven moons...maybe already by next carneval...maybe even a CONCERT TOUR THROUGH BRAZIL AND GERMANY for the presentation of the CD that has just been produced... Lourival, the poet of Berimbau, promises to send over tapes he is about to record. "YOUR HEART IS NOT A CD-PLAYER", muses flutist Michael Heupel.
Our special thanks for the support both forebearing and sensitive, ideal and financial granted to this musical project by the musical department of the GOETHE INSTITUT MUENCHEN, the MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM of the State of Bahia, to LUFTHANSA, to BREWERY KAISER, to TV stations TVE-BAHIA and 3Sat/ZDF, to Wesley Rangel and his STUDIO WR, and last not least we want to thank our coordinator CLAUS JAEKE. Dr. Roland Schaffner Goethe-Institut Salvador Bahia/ Brazil