A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
April 2021
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Rio Day Four – Barra, Tunga & Granny’s Kitchen




Just when you think it can’t rain anymore… it rains even more.

“When you plunge into water the shape you make is real. When I enter a room an equal quantity of air leaves the space” Tunga.

Louisa kindly offered to take me through to Barra where the great Tunga’s studio is. Novas Frequencias have pulled off an amazing coup by getting Tunga to create a wonderful sound installation for the festival and all week artists from all over Rio have been asked to engage with the installation in which ever way they want. First though Louisa takes me for some lunch to the most lovely place. Basically a kitchen on the side of someone’s house where home cooked Brazilian food is served for the workers in the area. Menas Refeicoes is so charming and the food, black beans and rice and salad, is just perfect. Back at the studio Pedro, the perfect host and Tunga enthusiast who works at the studio gives us a tour of the place. Floors and floors of workshops and objects and fruit trees and plants. The objects of Tunga’s art. A very inspiring place. So today’s intervention happens at 4pm by two chaps going by the name N-1. Old radios and contact mics and other little electrical things. The way they place the transmitters and objects around the space works really well. It feels very Aki Onda like, their poised meditative careful construction of their sound and also with the playfulness of Rie Nakajima. I get chatting to one of the guy’s partners Barbara who has a gallery of architecture in Lisbon. Really interesting discussion about sound and architecture which brings up Richard Young’s piece that we commissioned for Counterflows this year. Tunga’s generosity to open his studio to us is amazing. A great day. And then we have to get back from Barra. I have been warned about the traffic but really after my trip to India and experience of the Dehli streets the trip back to Ipanema is joyous. It’s an amzing ocean and beach road and in the pouring rain looks quite, well, west coast of Scotland like.

Tonights performances happen at the familiar Oi Futuro venue in Ipanema. It’s a great space with the whole lighting and sound system being exploited by both acts. Paula Rebellato’s project Acavernus is first up. Sitting front of the stage with a sort forest of lighting stands behind, her sound actually conjours up all sorts of natural images. It is a sort of Grouper like vocal approach but with more aural disjointedness. Talking to Paula on the way home it is no surprise that she is in a punk band and the project is a development from this.

Next comes the Italian, Roman duo, The Quiet Ensemble. Delightful guys who just before their soundcheck I drank some caipirinhas with. Their set is an explosion of light and sound. My eyes really struggle with flashing lights so I get a kind of half-lit version of their show. But there are some beautiful delicate sections where light and sound merge into a sort of mesmeric dust. The whole thing is like a firework display without the bonfire and half burnt bake potatoes.

The wonderous Pedro from Audio Rebel offers me a lift back to Flamengo. Another gesture of Rio friendship.

This research trip was kindly supported by: