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

Friday, 7 August 2015


With one year to go before the Rio 2016 olympics, we have an announcement to make, and would appreciate help in sharing it with as many people as possible:

The main objective of the Favela Brass project for the next 12 months is to perform at the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics

Here are 5 reasons why we think that our children deserve a shot:
  1. To prepare for and play at the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 olympics would be an incredible experience for the children and provide an excellent focus for the project.
  2. Olympic opening ceremonies represent and reflect the best all sections of a city’s society. Our children would be excellent ambassadors for the favelas of Santa Teresa.
  3. Favela Brass is a music school for Brazilian children, founded by a British musician in the time between the London 2012 Olympics and Rio 2016 and funded in large part by donations in the UK. In this way it provides a bridge between the two games.
  4. FB represents something innovative and new that is happening in Rio. We are mixing Rio’s percussion tradition with New Orleans’ brass tradition to create a style all of our own.
  5. The exposure that playing at the opening ceremony would generate for us would raise the profile of the project, helping us to continue our work into the future.
Our strategy for getting ourselves included in the opening ceremony is to:
  • Publicize the project and our desire to participate, through regular public performances, our own events and a series of short documentary videos about our journey on social media, all brought together under the #FavelaBrass2016 hasthag, and
  • Try to establish direct contact with the artistic directors, organizers and sponsors of the opening ceremony.

For the reasons outlined above we think our children deserve a shot, however we are under no illusions about the scale of the task ahead. This is an extremely ambitious goal for such a new project, which will take serious amounts of planning, a lot of hard work and more than a pinch of good luck. If anyone out there thinks they can help us, please get in touch.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Coast to Coast Mardi Gras! (2)

The Sandhouse Stompers Coast to Coast Mardi Gras was a huge success. As well as raising a game-changing £3,747 for Favela Brass, it was also a great opportunity for the project to make new connections, and to renew existing ones.

Over 9 days the band (pictured below) travelled 120 miles from Morecambe to Whitby, each day walking for 6-8 hours before playing their hearts out at the next local venue on the route. All through the trip a continuous stream of donations came in from family, friends and amazed locals (it's not every day that a nine-piece band turns up in your local pub and starts belting out New Orleans jazz!)

Nothing that I could write here could adequately thank the musicians for what they have done on behalf of the children in the Favela Brass Project, and especially trombonist Stuart Garside for conceiving, planning, and organizing the whole thing. I will leave the final word to Stuart:

"A big thank you to everyone who has donated, there have been some very generous amounts of money donated and it will make a huge difference to a lot of young people. Thank you to the venues who made us really welcome. Thank you to everyone who came along and supported, especially those who traveled long distances to see us, but most of all thank you to an incredible group of talented musicians who really suffered a lot of physical pain, dug deep and put on 10 high-energy shows in 9 days. Not once did anyone complain. You are good people."

The Sandhouse Stompers: Paul Grady, Neil Morley, Stuart Garside, Gareth Smith, James Stretton, Mark Kerrigan, Rowena Smith and Mark Ellis

The Sandhouse Stompers performing at The One-Eyed Rat in Ripon.

Stuart Garside (centre) navigating the group across the moors.