In 2012, September 7th is going to marked on the calendar not only as the Brazilian Independence Day. This year, as part of a project of the Archive of Contemporary Music that selects, each year, a country to homage, September 7th will be also considered the Brazilian Music Day – date that comes with a worldwide event that celebrates our national music all around the globe. To explain the details of the project, BrMusicExchange talked to ARC associate Béco Dranoff, co-director of the Brazilian Music Day project.
Based in New York, Béco has been involved in the Brazilian music industry for over 20 years. As a programmer, he has worked in prestigious venues such as Cielo, MoMA’s Sculpture Garden, Le Poisson Rouge and Nublu.
How do these special projects/dates work? How did this start? Could you explain the project to us?
The Archive of Contemporary Music is an NGO created in 1985 by an American, Bob George, in New York. The main intention of the Archive is to preserve two copies on LP, CD, of all the albums released around the world. Today they count with a collection of over 2 million recordings. The Archive has a team of amazing counselors, such as Martin Scorcese, Paul Simon, Keith Richards, Johnathan Demme, David Byrne, Youssou N’Dour, among others, who all help to maintain the institution. In 2011 Bob organized the first “Day” project, dedicated to middle-eastern music, from islamic countries. A special website was created with all the information the ARC team could collect about that kind of music. With the success of the project, he then decided to, each year dedicate a date to a different kind of music. In 2012 he chose to celebrate Brazilian music, and invited me to participate.
And why Brazil in 2012?
Brazilian music is very well recognized all over the world and manages to reach all kind of audiences – everybody likes our rhythms and voices. An as we all know our country is going through a very progressive case, and that makes people even more interested, curious, wanting to know more about our music and culture. So this year is going to be dedicated to Brazil. For the next years, the Archive plans projects with chinese, scandinavian music… each year a different country or region.
And how is the event? What are you preparing to celebrate the Brazilian Music Day?
There are two sides of the same project: The first one is the creation of the Brazilian Music Collection for the Archive. We’re making an effort to create the biggest and best collection of Brazilian Popular Music outside Brazil. We already have around 5 thousand records and we are sure we’ll have more soon. These albums are being organized and will be available to the general public online. We are looking for Brazilian institutions that could help us trade a few repeated records, things like that. The second part of the project is the launch of the Brazilian Music Day website (in english) that will concentrate information about our music around the world – live events, press, radio shows, record labels, critics, courses, thesis, videos – a very complete source and trustful source of information, an international reference. Everything should be ready by September 7th. We already have a Blog where we have further information about the project and those who are helping create it – http://brazilianworldmusicday.wordpress.com/
What’s the main goal of this project? What does ARC expect with the creation of the Brazilian Music Day?
The goal here is to make the research easier, to estimulate the promotion and education towards the subject to as much people possible, and, of course, completely free. Creating a main online source that will be easily and frequently updated.
And are these events going to happen exclusively in New York, where ARC is based?
No, it’s a worldwide event. We are going to have forums, shows, radio shows, everything that’s possible. The Archive doesn’t actually promote any event, we mainly ask for the artists and organizations that chose to participate to inform us of the program so we could then link them to our main website.
And can people still participate? How? What are you looking for?
All can participate, for sure – and there’s time. We’re creating a series of lists, and data bases, about artists, rhythms, musical instruments, schools. We ask for those who want to participate – not only in Brazil, but around the world, to e-mail us with their information so they can be listed. We are also accepting donations of records. We also want to publish essays and original studies about different aspects of Brazilian music. We’re creating the frame, and all can donate content.
How do you think that the Brazilian music is seen today? Do you think that the international audience is now more open to all the different rhythms produced by our artists – or are we still stuck to the samba/ bossa nova cliches?
I’ve been living in New York for more than 20 years and during that time I’ve been working as a producer and A&R exclusively dedicated to promoting Brazilian music around the world. And I can now see a huge transformation on the international acknowledgment of the Brazilian music, and the depth of the knowledge that the international audience now has of our music. In the 80′s people used to know only Samba and Bossa Nova. Today I see all kinds of national genres being recognized and incorporated in the global culture such as Tropicália, Funk Carioca, Tecnobrega, Pop, Forró, Djs, our electronic music. Brazil is emanating a lot of culture and the world is asking for more.