Braziladelphia Presents Rhythmic Uprising at Media Bureau, 10/22

Clear out your Friday night on October 22 for a multimedia evening of Brazilian music, dance, and film centered around a screening of the documentary Rhythmic Uprising.  The film shows how the transformative powers of Afro-Brazilian performing arts are used to fight racism and inequality in Bahia, Brazil.  Around the world, the celebrated Afro-Brazilian region of Bahia is known for it’s vibrant dance and music manifestations.  It takes a look behind the scenes of those grandiose carnaval spectacles to see how local cultural leaders utilize these arts to change lives. Bahia boasts the largest concentration of african descendants outside of Africa.As shown in Rhythmic Uprising, Brazil’s blacks have used Afro-Brazilian cultural conventions to maintain their African heritage and wage war on poverty, racism, and oppression over the last four centuries. As freed slave communities called ‘quilombos’ did during the time of slavery, cultural leaders featured in the film are dismissing the racist, unbalanced power structures of modern Brazilian society by organizing their own microcosms. They cultivate social institutions based on equality and African heritage that function as refuge for at-risk black youth. In contrast to larger Brazilian society, these groups empower and encourage their youth to pursue brighter futures.

Rhythmic Uprising is a Brazil-USA coproduction. Cultural projects featured in the film include an all-women drum corps named Didá, a circus group heavily rooted in Afro-Brazilian expressions named Circo Picolino, a theater group that portrays African myths named Bejé Eró and a Capoeira Angola association named ACANNE. Historical Afro-Brazilian cultural conventions featured in the film include capoeira, candomblé, quilombos, and blocos afros.

Braziladelphia, Alex Shaw, and Media Bureau Network Studios present: Rhythmic Uprising
Friday, October 22nd – 6 PM
Media Bureau Network Studios
725 N. 4th St.
$5.00 Admission
Event Schedule
6:15-6:30 pm Welcoming Remarks/Special Guests
6:30-6:50 pm Capoeira Angola Group Demo
7:00-8:15 pm Film Screening
8:20-8:45 pm Q&A
9:00-9:30 pm Alô Brasil performance/dance
9:30-10:00 pm Networking/Event Wrap Up

Braziladelphia Presents: TROPICALISMO Thursday 9/23 at Walnut Room

Philly has been missing out on that tropical bass, hot & polyglot kinda vibe that’s been popping off in all the major metropoles — New York, London, Paris, LA. Dembows mashed up with folk tunes, crunked out cumbia, dancehall mania en español, coupé décale collides with hip-hop, Carnival mass hysteria, kuduro avec grande vitesse, soca-fied funky house. That pan-American, transatlantic, equatorial soundclash is finally arriving here as a manifesto, nay a movement, with the debut of TROPICALISMO this Thursday, September 23 at Walnut Room. 9 pm – 2 am with complimentary Don Q cocktails from 9-11.

Uproot Andy, of NYC’s legendary Que Bajo?! party at Santos Party House, will set the tone, which will bring a cadre of top-notch, global-minded DJs that have rarely if ever graced the Philly club scene. His Diesel U:Music Radio mix and Guacharaca Migration mixtape bottle up the Que Bajo sound into your headphones. Resident DJs Gregzinho and Juanderful will be holding it down with hopscotch sets from across the hemispheres.

Check out Uproot Andy’s refix of the no contest riddim of the year, Gyptian’s Hold Yuh, on a Los Rakas Spanish vocal with a likkle extra beats’n'bass. Esto es Tropicalismo. Bring your passport and vamos lá!

Los Rakas ft. Faviola – Abrazame (Uproot Andy Hold Yuh Remix)

RSVP here and pay no cover 9-11 pm

Favela on Blast at International House Friday Night

Afrotaino Productions’ annual Afro-Latino film series, Perspectivas, starts this Friday at International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, with Favela on Blast, co-directed and co-produced by Philly’s very own Wesley Pentz (aka Diplo) along with the talented Brazilian filmmaker Leandro HBL.  The film is a gorgeous, lush portrait of funk carioca in Rio de Janeiro, told without frame or narrator, letting the DJs, MCs, and funkeiros speak for themselves.  After all the bombast and sensationalism that accompanied much of the coverage of funk in the media inside and outside Brazil, Favela on Blast deserves much credit for its honest portrayal of musical life in the favelas on Rio.  One admirer, in a thoughtful commentary, points out how the film even casts funk as a kind of folk music.

Favela on Blast
Friday, August 6
International House, 3701 Chestnut Street

Adeus America

Tom Cohen, a Philly-based jazz musician with a bent for Brazilified riffs, just sent Braziladelphia a fresh track from a collaborative album he is working on with some Brazilian musical greats — Filo Machado and Cidinho Teixeira.  Take a listen!

Tom Cohen ft. Filo Machada and Cidinho Teixeira by gregzinho

Brasil 2014

Ok, ok, so Braziladelphia overestimated the chances of the Seleção, especially against a pugnacious Dutch squad who clearly blinded the Brazilian team with that hideous shade of orange.  Still, we’re not as broken up about it as the Haitian fan of Brazil who threw himself in front of a bus.  (Haitian fandom for Brazil bordering on insanity is not a new phenomenon.)  The silver lining on the South African cloud is that the clock has begun ticking on the next Copa Mundial, which will take place in Brazil for the first time since 1950′s infamous Maracanaço/zo.  Hopefully history won’t repeat itself.

Even before Spain claimed Sunday’s title, however, the Brazilian delegation feted 2014.  Among other announcements, they revealed the (drum roll please) official logo, which will stamp the next World Cup as the “greenest” and most “transparent” (two promises that outgoing President Lula will not have to deliver on, since he leaves office next year!).  Of course, the logo design did not escape controversy — of the orthographic variety (the infamous ‘s’ vs. ‘z’ debate).  Spelling aside, Brazil has much bigger issues onand especially off the field.  One of the biggest issues is the appalling pace of progress for new stadiums in cities that don’t even have a strong soccer tradition to begin with (hard to believe, but not every city in Brazil brings in fans by the tens of thousands).  Meanwhile, the focus is on stalled legacy projects like the bullet train between Rio and São Paulo, when FIFA’s rejection of Morumbi (the biggest stadium in the city) means that the Brazilian metropolis may not even end up hosting any games!

All we can say is “boa sorte” to whichever new president takes over in 2011, and it seems pretty clear that the 2014 election (funny how the Brazilian presidential election cycle ended up mirroring the four year schedule of the World Cup) will depend heavily on how the Brazilians fare both as a soccer team and a host nation.

Meanwhile, while the public sector may have trouble preparing itself for the 2014 World Cup, the private sector is already capitalizing . . . cf Coca-Cola’s “Brazil, we are with you in 2014,” which ends with the note “how much sweeter it will be to enjoy the next World Cup at home.”  All true — and Coke is madly popular in Brazil — but the four year head start on marketing still seems just a little excessive:

PhillyBloco and DJ Rahsaan at Kimmel Center Summer Solstice

Props to the Kimmel Center, Philly’s citadel of high culture, for loosening its collar once a year for a full-on all-nighter.  June 19 is the Saturday closest to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and the soaring glass atrium becomes the best spot in the city to great the new day.  The Summer Solstice runs 3 pm until dawn, family friendly during the day and more of a party vibe at night.

There are two Brazilian-themed acts of note: PhillyBloco kicks off the nocturnal festivities at 9:30 pm and Braziladelphia’s own DJ Rahsaan carries you through from 3:30 am to dawn with Afro-Samba-Salsa-Soul-Disco-fied grooves.  Tickets are only $10 for all day/all night, come and go as you please, and BYOD (bring your own drum) for the greet-the-sun drum circle.

Brazilfest London

If you’ll be on the other side of the pond any time in the next month, stop by London’s Festival Brazil running June 19-September 5.  Highlights include riffs on classic themes like a capoeira extravaganza; performances by Tom Zé, Os Mutantes, and Gilberto Gil; a soccer-themed “conversation with Sócrates” with Alex Bellos, author of Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life (there’s a bit of a preview online already); and of course live screenings of World Cup matches.  The more obscure include a wall-sized strip by comic book artists Fabio Moon and Gabriel Dá, and the considerably more pedantic Portuguese Achievement Conference.

London is no stranger to embracing Brazilian culture.  While you’re there, you can get a Brazil fix by night at the clubs Guanabara and Favela Chic.  Both are especially known for some of Europe’s premier bailes funk.  Meanwhile, the Barbican Centre, a veritable arts citadel in the City of London and the largest performing arts center in Europe, has hosted Rio’s Grupo Cultural AfroReggae countless times, ultimately launching the AfroReggae UK Partnership, a joint effort to reduce gun violence through music.

Full schedule here.

Brasil 2, North Korea 1

One down, seven to go.  But the Seleção hardly walked all over a tenacious North Korean squad.  Not scoring until the second half — though Maicon’s geometry-defying goal set the right tone for futebol bonito (beautiful soccer) — the Brazilians were stymied but a tight NK defense that swarmed every attacker.  That didn’t exactly give the Democratic People’s Republic much chance for offense, though, only scoring a fluky goal in the 89th minute, by which point Brazil’s victory was basically secure.

While the narrator is a bit rudimentary, there’s some fun footage of the scene in Rio, though I have to admit I was jealous not to be 90 miles north in Newark, where live shots of the scene in the Ironbound District showed quite the street party.  The traditionally Portuguese, now also very Brazilian, neighborhood is also prepared for a friendly but fierce rivalry for June 25′s Brasil x Portugal match.

On to Sunday for the next trial in the Group of Death: Africa’s great hope in Côte d’Ivoire, with superstar Drogba’s broken arm but unbroken spirit.

Brazilian Rhythms, Copa Edition, Thursday June 17 in DC

If you’ll be in the nation’s capital this Thursday, samba your way over to Cafe Saint-Ex.  Braziladelphia’s DJ Gregzinho will join host Neville C, proprietor of Som Records, one of D.C.’s finest record stores, for his several-years-running Thursday monthly Brazilian party featuring old and future classics, as well as the best tracks you’ve never heard from his baffling record collection.  By then we should be celebrating a victory over North Korea, and there will be classic futébol on the projector along with cold caipirinhas at the bar.

Febre Pela Copa / World Cup Fever

After four long years, tomorrow begins the Seleção Brasileira’s quest for a record sixth World Cup title when they face off against North Korea.  Perennial favorites, Brazil’s squad nonetheless has a considerable challenge early on, as they are in Group G, this year’s Group of Death.  Between 2006 semi-finalist Portugal, Africa’s best hope Côte d’Ivoire, and top-ranking Brazil, someone isn’t going to make it to the knockout stages.  That means Portuguese prettyboy phenom Cristiano Ronaldo, Ivorian superstar and African footballer of the year Didier Drogba, or Brazilian linchpin Kaká will be watching from the couch before the end of June.

Brazil vs. North Korea — Tuesday, June 15, 2:30 pm EST — Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Brazil vs. Côte d’Ivoire — Sunday, June 20, 2:30 pm EST — Soccer City, Johannesburg
Brazil vs. Portugal — Friday, June 25, 10:00 am EST — Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

It’s a scary proposition for a team that always has everything at stake — nothing less than a championship is good enough — and will inevitably lead to outcries about Coach Dunga’s unorthodox player selection.  Legend Carlos Alberto has taken the coach to task and 1982 midfielder Sócrates calls them “a very bureaucratic team, very conservative” in a recent interview.  That said, the infamous Pelé has come to Dung’as defense and the coach himself has not been silent to his critics.  Above all, the concern is that each year the Brazilian national team gets further and further from the artful soccer that Pelé, Garrincha, and the ’60s and ’70s teams made famous, in favor of methodical, European soccer.  Good for winning, sure, but then Brazilian soccer has always been about winning with style.

But Dunga’s team will take the field whether you like the picks or not, so the more pertinent question is how will they fare?  Despite the Group of Death draw, the odds are still strong they will make it out of the group stage.  The real contest will be between Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire for the second spot.  Once they enter the round of 16, it’s anybody’s Cup depending on where Brazil ends up.  The real key is Kaká — the team is structured around him in the pivot from defense to offense — but he may not be 100% healthy heading into tomorrow’s opener after persistent thigh problems.  But the star himself says he’s ready to go and with less than 24 hours before kickoff, we’ll find out soon enough.

Braziladelphia hopes to organize a World Cup viewing party for the June 25 match against Portugal — the Lusophone showdown.  If you are interested in attending, RSVP to so we can get a headcount when contacting establishments where we can host the party.

And as a final good luck send-off, here is Carlos Alberto’s 1970 World Cup final goal against Italy, widely considered the greatest Copa goal ever.