A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
April 2021
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Rio Day Five – I Hair Rio




It was a quiet day that got louder and louder!

So I have ditched the hair clippers. Barbers are the way forward. Today there was a task. To find a barbers and explain with no hair why I needed a haircut. Round the corner from the apartment in Flamengo I found the very thing and it was busy, which must be a good sign, surely. I loved the sign too. Unisex! A great word that means what! University sex? Surely not? I ventured across the threshold and with a little Brazilian that was not needed, the hairdresser new exactly what was needed. Zero! Zero! We watch channel Zero as Chuck D once said. A great haircut with open razor and oils. Perfect. And so friendly.

Then after much deliberation on my attire for the day, the weather still hadn’t lifted, I go with Charlie to his talk in the afternoon to Casa Rio. Talks in the afternoon are a great thing at festivals but it is always tricky getting people out to them. I like talks as it expands the idea of music as communication. I like to hear what & why. I suppose sometimes we don’t need this, art should speak for itself, but really it gives a more human context for what is happening.

Then it is off to see Mika Vainio for a catch up before his show at the most lovely bar. Bar Astor is an Ipanema legend. Not the one where that song was written although as we pass that bar our taxi driver does start to sing those opening lines. It really is a great song. Bill Wells’ version is the one to listen to.

I bump in to the lovely Barrao from Chelpa Ferro on the street. It is great to see this kind and generous and amazing artist. He always has such great t-shirts on.

It’s Oi Futuro again for the early evening shows. Thingmajicks is up first. A young Rio electronic artist. He actually uses visuals really well which if anyone who knows me is one of those things that can certainly not work. They do this time his set of swirling beats and sound works really well.

Mika Vainio has been out in S.America for a tour and is a bit tired but his history and music are so amazing that one minute of his sound is just so special. He composes one of his reductionist Techno sets before us and it still seems fresh and alive.

Off into the party night of Novas Frequencias. The club space is way over the other side of the city but what a club, with built in wall of rock courtesy of the Rio land mass. Curiously it is the first chance I get to talk to Chico and Tathiana. Not the ideal place to discuss our plans but actually totally perfect. Here again I must say what a great team of people that Novas Frequencias has. They are so committed to the festival and believe in what it is doing for Rio. All respect and love goes to these guys. Chico, Tathiana, Bernardo, Luisa, Stephanie, Duda, Lia, Maria, and those who I don’t know yet. But it is also the community around these guys that is so important. Pedro from Audio Rebel, Bernardo the great, Renato, Chelpa Ferros and all the great musicians that are supporting what Novas Frequencias are doing. It is such a privlige to feel a part of this. Here is what Counterflows shares with Novas Frequencias. It’s a social thing.

Auntie Flo pull off an amazing collaboration with the joyous Siri who had graciously looked after us earlier in the week. Esa and Siri joust with their berimbau’s and then Brian Joins them wit samples sounds and beats. The crowd love it and it really is special. Unfortunately i only catch a couple of The Bugs dance hall mashes before I reckon I need to go…

And on the way back in a taxi the driver and I sing together Beatles songs. Penny Lane was his favourite but we go through A Hard Days Night, And Your Bird Can Sing (I do the guitar part), Tax Man and Norwegian Wood before I reluctantly have to get out at Flamengo. Can you believe it he only takes half the fare. What can you say to this!

This research trip was kindly supported by: