Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Thank you John Ellis and the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association!

Thank you so much to John Ellis and the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association for raising money for Favela Brass at their Christmas event at the Earl of Doncaster hotel on Sunday. We really appreciate the generosity of all who kindly contributed to the collection, which came to a total of £342 in the end!

It was wonderful to see the Jazz Association thriving, with band after band of talented youngsters playing to a packed auditorium. Congratulations to all involved and also to Dennis Rollins on his appointment as the new musical director of DYJO.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

British and Commonwealth Society Christmas Lunch

On Saturday afternoon Favela Brass played at the Christmas Lunch of the
British and Commonwealth Society of Rio de Janeiro. The children played excellently and the show was well received by the 170 guests present at the event.

As well as being a great day out for the children and opportunity to publicise the project, the BCS donated the funds raised from the event to Favela Brass. This money, combined with the further money that we raised by selling T-shirts at the event came to a total of R$5,680 - a great achievement and a much-appreciated boost to our finances as we enter the final phase of our preparations in the run-up to the Olympic period.

Thank you so much to the British and Commonwealth Society for inviting us to play at their Christmas lunch and for donating the proceeds of the event to us. We are also very grateful to BCS members Alison Correa, Victoria Staniforth and Anna Whyte for coming to visit our lessons in the favela in the run up to the event. Happy holidays to you all from everyone at Favela Brass!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Olympic Demo Video

Today Favela Brass submitted our application to play on the cultural stages that will be set up around Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic period. In support of that application we put together the following demo, showing the various rhythms and styles that the children can play:

Fingers crossed!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Teesside University School of Science & Engineering Donation

A big thank you to Dr. Paul W Shelton, Assistant Dean of Student Engagement, Employability & Business Partnerships, and his students at the School of Science & Engineering of Teesside University​, who have donated the proceeds of their Enterprise Week fundraising activities to Favela Brass and the Ichthyosis Support Group​.

We are very grateful for their donation of £550, which will go a long way to helping us to continue our activities. Here is the video that the students produced to promote their on-campus coffee delivery service: t' u!

Thank you ever so much guys!!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra + Favela Brass

Here it is! The moment when the children of Favela Brass played together with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra at ABCD restaurant in favela Pereirão!

The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra are a world famous ska band from Japan, who are currently on tour in Brazil. They decided that during their trip to Rio de Janeiro they would visit the Favela Brass project, and not only do a workshop and concert with the children but also donate a trumpet, two melodicas and TSPO T-shirts. The concert and workshop happened in our local restaurant ABCD and was a huge success - as you can hear from the video above, the bands sounded great playing together!

Another great piece of news is that the TSPO will return to Rio for the Olympics next year and have asked us to play a show with them - our first confirmed show at the Olympics! So not only does Favela Brass link the Rio 2016 olympics with London 2012 - we now have a link with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as well!

Thank you ever so much to the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra for such a special day at our project and for our new instruments and T-shirts. We look forward to seeing you next year at the Olympics!

Thank you also to restaurant ABCD for hosting the event and providing food and drinks for the children for free.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Visit from Annaelis De Jong and Codarts Students

Yesterday we received a visit from Annaelis De Jong, head of the Latin Music Department at Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts) along with students Diogo Carvalho, Mose Franssen, Klara Gallardo, Fernando Camas and Pablo Rodriguez. As well as helping with the lessons, the group brought with them 6 melodicas and a set of drum sticks, bought with money donated by the teachers at Codarts. Both drum sticks and melodicas are essential items for our children to have at home to practice on, so this will mean even more music learning going on outside of lessons.

We are very grateful to Annaelis and all who gave the money to make this donation possible and really appreciate the group coming to get to know our project. Favela Brass already has a strong connection with Codarts because two of our volunteer teachers studied there - trombone player and violinist Sigrún K. Jónsdóttir gave lessons here for 3 months earlier in the year and percussionist Roman Sielert is giving lessons here at the moment. It was really great to deepen that connection with this visit.

Thanks guys!

Monday, 2 November 2015

New Olympic Promotional Video

Favela Brass has a new promotional video, all about our desire to play at the Rio Olympics in 2016:

The video was created by London-based Canadian documentary maker Alex Kryszkiewicz (Ostia! Media). Alex has been filming the project as part of his forthcoming documentary, titled "Discovering Ginga", and used his footage and interviews to create the video for us without charge.

To get our own promotional video done to such a high standard would otherwise have cost us an absolute arm and a leg, so for Alex to take the time to do this for free constitutes a massive donation to the project. Thank you ever so much Alex and best of luck with the documentary!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

6 Years of the Curry Clube

Last Sunday we celebrated 6 years of the Curry Clube! It was a really cool party and even with the rain lots of people came. Thanks ever so much to all who came along and helped with the event, including students Vinícius, Patrique and Pedro, who, as well as giving a short musical performance, also ended up helping to serve and distribute the food!

And the icing on the cake... the party raised R$620 for the project.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Gig at the Market and New Volunteer Roman Sielert

Favela Brass just had quite a big weekend...

On Saturday morning the children played at a street market in the Laranjeiras district of Rio, where we made lots of contacts, sold a fair few Favela Brass T-shirts AND the owner of the pasty stall decided to donate a tray full of pasties to the kids - result!

It was great to have the presence of so many of the families of the children at the event and I’d like to say a special thank you to Ronnie, Lorena’s dad for driving the equipment and the children around all day.

Saturday was also the first Favela Brass show for our new volunteer teacher, German percussionist Roman Sielert (pictured below), who specialized in Brazilian music as part of his degree at Rotterdam World Music Conservatory (Codarts). Roman has fitted in straight away with the project, seems to know Brazilian music and rhythms inside out, has already been giving lessons for the kids and needless to say, was a great help playing snare drum in our percussion section on Saturday - welcome to the project Roman!

And then yesterday we celebrated the 6th birthday of the Curry Clube - more about that in the next update...

Monday, 12 October 2015

Children's Day Show

Favela Brass celebrated children's day (in Brazil) with a show in the Praça Paris as part of the Amiguinhos da Onça party yesterday. It was a really fun day for the kids and they played great!

Big thanks to Tarcísio Cisão and the band Amigos da Onça for the invite and to all of the stallholders who gave so much food and drinks to the children. Nobody arrived home hungry yesterday evening, that's for certain!

Congratulations to the children and thanks to all of the parents and family that helped to look after them on the day. Thanks also, as ever, to our percussion teacher (and supreme expert in crowd control!) Mangueirinha.

Photos and video: Bindu Mathur (thank you!)

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Thank you Andy Casterton and The British School

Thank you ever so much to Andy Casterton and The British School, Rio de Janeiro for the donation of a Technics digital piano to the project. Believe it or not we were a music school without a single keyboard or piano in sight - until now! Thanks also to João Neri for driving us down to the British School in Urca in his van to pick it up.

João Neri (above left), Andy Casterton (above right)

Mangueirinha and class 1

Monday, 28 September 2015

Thank you Denize Rodrigues!

One of the main reasons for the Favela Brass project is the high price of instruments in Brazil. All of our wind instruments are from abroad. Except one: after giving her first lesson for our students, Brazilian saxophonist Denize Rodrigues donated a mint condition tenor sax to the project. As well as being an extremely generous act given the price of saxes in Brazil, it's really helpful for us - we were with two sax students (Vinícius and André) but only one sax. Now both can study at home and we have avoided a very tricky situation at our next show!

Thank you ever so much Denize.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

#FavelaBrass2016 - Our First Chance!

The first concrete opportunity of our ‪#‎FavelaBrass2016‬ campaign has arrived!

Yesterday Rio's Culture Ministry invited Favela Brass to the the launch of a new program, which will award the 120 winning bands with R$20,000 and the chance to play up to 5 shows on the cultural stages that will be set up around the city during the "Olympic period" (May - Sept).

[Above: Culture Secretary Marcelo Calero announcing the program yesterday]

Applications will open on Tuesday and we'll probably have about 6 weeks to put our bid together. Part of this application will almost certainly be a showreel of the children playing, so the challenge over the coming weeks will be to put together a show that does justice to our childrens' talents, then get a top quality recording of us performing it in public.

Exciting stuff!!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Joe Howe, Jonas Corrêa and Tyler Willoughby

American percussionists Tyler Willoughby and Joe Howe from Southern Oregon University in the United States, currently in Rio performing and teaching at the Brazilian Music Conservatory, visited the project last week and decided to come back on Thursday, this time to help with some serious rhythm and snare drum training for our students. At the same time Brazilian professional trombonist Jonas Corrêa worked with our up and coming new crop of young trombone players, giving them a crucial orientation on basic trombone technique.

The aim for Favela Brass is to be a centre of excellence, not just providing kids with music lessons, but allowing them a chance to be guided by top-notch professional musicians right from the start. That's clearly what was happening on Thursday and we are extremely grateful to Joe, Jonas and Tyler for donating their time and talent so generously to helping our young musicians.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Favela Brass and Volunteer in Brazil

Favela Brass is very proud to announce that we are now being supported by UK-based charity Volunteer in Brazil (also known as VinB).

Volunteer in Brazil was conceived by its founder, Joe Howson, whilst he served as a volunteer in North East Brazil in the early 1980′s.

VinB founder Joe Howson

The charity exists to help individuals and communities in Brazil and Europe to create bonds of solidarity. Their primary focus is to support educational and small scale development projects in the urban communities of Rio de Janeiro and isolated rural communities in the region of Cristino Castro, North East Brazil. They also provide opportunities for individuals to volunteer in communities in Brazil and the UK, facilitate exposure visits and deliver experiential learning activities that raise awareness of poverty, injustice and the need for global solidarity.

We are honoured that VinB have seen fit to help Favela Brass and are very grateful for their support.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Lots of Students + Lots of Teachers = Lots of Learning!

In the 18 months that the project has been going there have been times when we've had lots of teachers and there have been times when we've had lots of students. Predictably, we always seemed to end up with the most teachers when we had the least students and vice versa!

That has now changed. Thanks to the help of everyone who has donated so generously to the project we can now afford to hire more teachers to maintain our standard of tuition as our numbers steadily rise. Hence even with 29 children arriving for lessons yesterday, our team of 4 teachers was still able to cater to the educational needs of each of them - not one child was left behind and not one was left twiddling their thumbs!

It was a great days' teaching. Thank you ever so much to teachers Yann Vatheley (African drumming), Marco Serragrande (trombone) and Manguerinha (percussion) and to all of our donors for providing us with the resources to keep all of our kids learning at full tilt!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Thank you John Escreet!

Here is star student Vinícius playing the Yamaha tenor saxophone kindly donated to the project by jazz pianist and composer John Escreet (originally from the UK, now based in New York). Vinícius is absolutely thrilled to bits with the instrument and has really taken to it - the video was taken after he managed to pick up "When the Saints" in his first lesson.

Well done Vinícius and thank you ever so much John Escreet!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Thank you to Les Goldman and The Band Upstairs

At our show in Pateley Bridge during the Sandhouse Stompers Coast to Coast Mardi Gras, we met amateur musician Les Goldman, who generously offered to donate the proceeds from his band's next show to the Favela Brass project.

Last weekend the band, called The Band Upstairs and based in Guiseley near Leeds, played on the bandstand in Ilkley to entertain shoppers at the weekend Continental Market. The band played from 14:00 to 15:30 and raised altogether £98.40 for Favela Brass.

Thank you ever so much to the members of The Band Upstairs - yet another act of kindness on the part of fellow musicians to help the project on its way!

Final Total for the Coast to Coast Mardi-Gras