Last year I put together a guide to finding good music in Rio de Janeiro for American Express, with recommendations for finding the best samba, for finding dance lessons, alternative rock, dance music, and so much more in Rio.
More than happy to have written the cover story for the latest edition of Huck magazine (issue #58). For the article I interviewed French photographer Antoine Bruy about his Scrublands photo essay.
Scrublands was an idea of Bruy’s to go and stay with people who have chosen to live off-grid, often leaving behind decent jobs and the city, in search of a more peaceful and self-fulfilling lifestyle. To do this, intriguingly he used WWOOF as a way of volunteering at various farms that were being run by people who had moved out of the city.
The photos are quite extraordinary and definitely worth a look.
I’ve put together a little selection of some of my favourite tracks of the year, featuring what ended up being an even split of tracks from North and South America, with a couple from Britain and Australia thrown in for good measure. So, if you want to find out what my 2016 was like, it was something like this:
I’m very happy to announce that the fourth Sounds and Colours publication is now here. This one focused on Argentine culture, with lots of great articles about underground movements and influential artists, as well as original illustrations, comics and photo essays. As with previous publications I was the editor and worked with a great team of contributors from all over the world putting this one together, our own cultural guide to Argentina.
The Wire published an interview I made with Elza Soares in one of their latest issues, #393. Elza, who’s now 79 years old, was one of the hardest people I’ve interviewed, largely because she distrusts the press (as the Brazilian press have been horrible to her over the years).
However, through my interview and through additional interviews I made with musicians who played on her last album, The Woman At The End of the World, I think I managed to put together a really strong piece. If you want to know why people are so blown away by her latest release, then have a listen to this:
So last week (Wednesday 26th October) we launched a night that could become a regular thing in London. It was our first collaboration with Battersea Spanish and Doodle Bar for an evening intended to transport everyone to Mexico, and it was a huge success with the event being sold out and everyone seeming to have a great time. Fitting in with the Mexico theme we screened the classic film Like Water for Chocolate, served up some really nice Mexican food via the street food caterers Tamales, played some Mexican tunes and topped it all off with a Skype Q&A with the film’s author Laura Esquivel, which went down a storm with the crowd (there’s a shot from the Q&A below). It was a great night, and hopefully we’ll get the chance to repeat it soon.
Stephanie from Battersea wrote a really nice blog post about the event which you can read here.
I recently got asked at very short notice (well two days notice to be precise) if I could lead a musical tour around Colombia for Songlines. The answer was of course “yes!” so from September 12th until the 22nd this year I was in Colombia, passing through Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena with a group of six Songlines readers on a journey into Colombian music. It was a great trip with time spent in San Basilio de Palenque (discovering the first free slave community in Latin America), Merlin Productions (THE production house in Medellín these days, home to Puerta Candelaria and Maite Hontelé), Matik-Matik (where Mario Galeano gave an expert talk on the history of Colombian music), Plaza de Bolivar in Cartagena (a great place for watching cumbia and mapalé on the streets), on a graffiti tour of Comuna 13 in Medellín (thoroughly recommended) and a whole lot more.
It seems the BBC must have my number as I was asked to do a short segment on tropicália for their Sunday morning current affairs show Broadcasting House last Sunday (August 14th). You can listen to the show at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07nn832 (my chat starts just after 56 minutes).
Hey, so recently I was interviewed by BBC Radio 1 for a special they were doing on hip-hop in Rio de Janeiro. You can listen to the show at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07mvwnc. I feature in the first 20 minutes discussing how rap got big in Rio and also sharing some knowledge on Gabriel O Pensador, one of the first rappers from Rio to make an impact both nationally and in Portugal.
I’m looking forward to hosting a talk at Rough Trade Nottingham as part of Truth and Lies‘ latest event, a celebration of Brazilian music, especially those revolutionary years at the end of the 60s. The event is called Revolution & Change: São Paulo 1969 and should be fun. I’ll be talking about the history of tropicália, pulling some interesting stories and facts out of the vaults, as well as looking at its enduring impact.
The event will be happening on Friday 27th May. There will be short films, followed by my talk, then lots of killer Brazilian tunes and dancing. If you’re in Nottingham you should pop by…