Special Series: Music, Culture, and the World Cup in Brazil. Issue 3: Adventure v. Apprehension

When I travel, I often experience a mixture of adventure and apprehension. There are so many places to go, things to do, people to see. I am a rather adventurous person. Going somewhere to be locked in a room or to do and eat the same things I would at home are an absolute negative. The world is meant to be explored!

It is not, however, meant to be explored alone. I don’t mind being alone, but adventures are always more fun with friends. Being the “classic” friendly, extroverted American that I am, I have been able to make many friends in all parts of the world over my various travels. At the same time, I have also always traveled with friends or family. By participating in music tours, mission trips, or family vacations, I was ensured the “safety net” of those I knew loved and accepted me, allowing me to be more open and friendly with others.

Traveling to Brazil this summer was the first time that I have ever gone somewhere completely on my own, not knowing anybody ahead of time, unsure of the social climate being caused by the World Cup, and what’s more – uncertain of how I, as a “Brazilian,” would be viewed. I have dual citizenship, but I was born and raised in the States; my habits, thought processes, and accent are all American. True, my first language was Portuguese, I’ve been surrounded by extended family my whole life, and it’s not the first time I’ve been to Brazil, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect.

I am overwhelmed by how I have been received. My hosts are absolutely marvelous and treat me like family, the administration at Programa Aprendiz view and treat me as someone with valuable skills, and the student musicians are starting to consider me their friend. Even random people on the street think that I’m from São Paulo (my father actually is a Paulista), and say they would never guess I was American if it wasn’t for my slight accent (this phrase makes me so happy!).


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I am loving my time here in Brazil. All of my fears about being accepted as a Brazilian
have completely dissipated and have continued to make new friends and acquaintances almost every day, despite not having a “safety net.” Well, that’s not true. I do have one, but not my normal one; I have created a safety net of people from those I’ve come to care about and they’ve come to care for me. Knowing that my time here in Niterói is almost over, many have already started asking me when I will return. For me, there is no higher praise.

A mixture of apprehension and adventure – guess which one always wins? That is why I keep traveling. There is nothing like knowing that you have friends around the world. We may not always be able to be together, but the memories we make last a lifetime. That is why I am here.Copy of DSC02742

 

Written by Juliana Baioni

Performing Arts Abroad music intern in Brazil

Special Series: Music, Culture, and the World Cup in Brazil. Issue 2: Musical Melting Pot

DSC02195Juliana Baioni is a dual citizen (American and Brazilian) doing a Performing Arts Abroad music internship in Brazil from June 15th to July 13th. During her time in Brazil, she is writing a weekly series for us on the World Cup, music, culture, and the intersection of the three. This is the second post of the series, and be sure to check back next week for the next post!

What is attractive about the music of Brazil is its melting pot characteristics. Brazil is a country with a wide variety of people groups, all with their unique musical traditions and practices. There are the native Indians who had a style of music that Heitor Villa-Lobos, a 20th century Brazilian composer, sought to feature in several of his works for both voice and instruments. Then you have the Europeans (Portuguese, Italian, and German) with their traditional Western classical music, and folk music as well. Descendants of slaves from Africa brought along and carried on many religious and musical traditions. There are other groups in Brazil as well, such as those of Japanese descent, but the three previously mentioned groups play the greatest roles in the formulation of Brazilian music as it is known today. The Indians had an endemic sound, the Europeans brought melodic and harmonic understanding, and the Africans brought what is most recognizable – the rhythm.

DSC01067Classical Brazilian music, such as works by Villa-Lobos and others, are thick and complex with harmonic and melodic texture, a result of the composers’ training, study and ability to manipulate and morph techniques found in the Western classical music tradition. Popular Brazilian music, however, was much simpler harmonically, essentially using the classic I-IV-ii-V-I, I-ii-V-I, or I-V-I chord progression with minimal harmonic texture. For example, if a piece of music was in C, and used the first progression listed above, we would find that the piece is made mostly of chords C, F, Dmin, and G.  It was not until the 1950s that Brazilian popular music began to expand harmonically to match its famed rhythmic complexity. Composers such as Pixinguinha and Antônio Carlos Jobim, the composer of the Girl From Ipanema, were essential in this shift and the genre of Bossa Nova developed as a result of this harmonic exploration.

There are many sub genres of Brazilian popular music – samba, choro, tropicalia, maracatu, embolada (coco de repente), frevo, forró, axé, brega, and more. Each carries special elements and rhythms that make them recognizable and unique. All of this as a result of the mixing of peoples here in the largest county of South America! What a beautiful testament to the creativity that occurs when cultures meet and learn to embrace one another, creating something that is special and unique.

DSC01220Part of my time here in Brazil involves learning about the popular music, both harmonically and how to perform, singing and playing the flute. I was surprised to learn that not many people take the time to study this amazing music and that I, by the time I leave, will have a better understanding and ability than most Brazilian citizens. Well, my gain, I say. To study and learn about this music not only helps me develop a better understanding of my country, but of myself. For in reality, of music, cultures, and peoples I, too, am a melting pot.

Written by Juliana Baioni

Performing Arts Abroad Music Intern in Brazil

Special Series: Music, Culture, and the World Cup in Brazil. Issue 1: Music and the Games

Juliana World Cup Game

Juliana Baioni is a dual citizen (American and Brazilian) doing a Performing Arts Abroad music internship in Brazil from June 15th to July 13th. During her time in Brazil, she is writing a weekly series for us on the World Cup, music, culture, and the intersection of the three. This is the first post of the series, and be sure to check back next week for the next post!

Me? Honestly, I’m not a big sports fan. I was always attracted to more artistic rather than athletic endeavors growing up. Sometimes I’ll pass a group of friends swapping statistics about this player or that game and mostly, it goes over my head. I understand that for many people sports are important and that there are some amazing stories that come from the sports world, but team against team is nothing special for me.

Insert country rivalry, and it’s a whole new ball game.

There is nothing on earth like the World Cup. Thousands upon thousands of individuals decked out in their country’s colors, all hoping for victory, are pouring into the stadiums around Brazil. Brazil’s second time hosting the World Cup–the last time being 1950 when the competition resumed after hiatus during the Second World War–has been filled with mixed emotions. Excitement and anger, passion, and frustration… Had you asked me last year if I was going to be in Brazil during the Cup, I would have told you absolutely not. Funny how things work, huh?
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Walking in streets glowing yellow and green from passionate Brazilian citizens, I have to admit that I am glad I came. To know this country, my country¸ in its fervor, its joys, and its challenges was something I simply could not pass up. When will I ever get the chance to see Brazil like this again?

I found it refreshing, however, to find that not everyone in Brazil has a head filled with futebol. Programa Aprendiz, where I am interning, is an exciting and successful program initiating a culture of music education in public schools in Niteroi, a city just across the bay from Rio de Janeiro. Mostly, teachers of Aprendiz educate students in basic musical knowledge and theory. DSC01099Those who are interested participate in a strings class that prepares them for a chance to perform with an auditioned performing group that has gained national and international attention, with the organization having created strong connections with artists in Germany and Norway over its fourteen years of existence.

“One thing you must know,” Daniel, program coordinator for Aprendiz, told me during my orientation, “is that Aprendiz is not just about teaching kids how to play instruments but it’s about giving them confidenceDSC01110 in themselves and respect for others.” Confidence, in themselves as a Brazilian, as a musician, and as a human being. This is the power of arts education.

Me? I’m looking forward to the weeks to come, not only for the games, but for the culture that I’m coming to know and experience through the arts. I may be cheering, donned in yellow and green, but more importantly, I’m getting to know and love the people. Honestly, I couldn’t have chosen a better place to do so than Brazil.

Written by Juliana Baioni
Performing Arts Abroad Music Intern in Brazil