Gathering first-hand feedback from members of these communities, Sarah O’Sullivan (journalist and lover of Rio) gives the voices of the unheard a microphone as she follows police attempts to clear gangs from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Listen to her radio documentary, unveiling the feelings of those directly affected by these changes, here: THE RIGHT TO REMAIN IN SILENCE
Read about how Sarah’s love story with Rio began and her personal views on UPP ‘triumph’ below:
Love at first sight
My connection with Rio started nine years ago, when I spent Carnaval, sharing a tiny flat in Copacabana with around ten girls from Ireland, England, Australia, and Israel. My plan had been to spend Carnaval in Trinidad, and was on my way north to look for a boat when an Irish friend Laoise successfully harassed me into coming to Rio. A huge city, Rio was not on my itinerary for my trip around south America, preferring to keep it local kinda styling. Best laid plans and all that - coming to Rio changed my life. I instantly fell in love with the beat, the smiles, the energy, the messiness, that was and is Rio de Janeiro. I knew I wanted to spend some part of my life living in this city that made me feel so very alive and excited by life.
Anyway, life passed a few years, and I suddenly noticed how bored I was in my Dublin life, so decided to take the plunge and move to Rio, with my young daughter (she was two at the time). It was a spontaneous decision, and immediately seemed daft when I arrived to a wet and rainy city, not knowing a soul, and not speaking the language (turns out my fluency had been greatly whetted by Cachaca the first time round). Stubborn to the core, I didn’t admit my mistake, and stayed for the long haul.
The dual jewels of travelling, be that there are few things more exciting as wondering alien landscapes and harbouring a sense of where-the-fuck-am-I-ness can - upon consideration - be whittled down to two altogther more human experinces- that of acquiring new friendlings and new musical knowledge.Taking this to an extreme beyond most of out more modest capabilities is Wes Pentz, aka Diplo
I mean think about it - how many of us have been able to form friendlingships with people resposible for creating the sounds that are defining a culture? I know I havent, but Diplo has…
Moreover, who then re-works these sounds and introduces them to thousands of our personal fansbase… I certainly dont, but Diplo does
And finally, not many of us then merge these friendlingships and music together in an immaculate documentay called Favela On Blast which then gets screened at Film festivals the world over? I didn’t, but I think we all know who did…
And its thanks to Favela On Blast that Wes might now consider himself as a seriously talented documentor in addition to being one the most relevent and respected dj/producers in multiple subculture scenes the world over.
So CLFmag decided to pick the brain of our favourite DJ//filmmaker/ all round superfly guy Diploooooooooooh!
What should have followed is an interview, but as with many things in life - it didnt work out that easy. First off, pinning this guy down for an interview is like catching a fly in chopsticks a la old dudee in Karate Kid. This gentleman skips the light fandango at such a pace you wonder if owns an i-wormhole for just vanishing and reappearing in far off lands. Or mebeez he just flies alot, who knows.
So in the build up to the interview went something like this -
Colin (PR guy): Wes is in Berlin, so we can arrange something there
Me: Time difference to Rio? Plus 6 hours. Great! (Yay!)
Colin: No hes not he inTokyo,
Me: Time diference from Rio, plus 12 hours. (Boo)
Colin: Now hes stateside, LA,
Me: time difference minus four hours. (Yah!)
Colin: But And then he has a meeting really soon, (Boo)
Colin: And you have to do this by phone
So there I was running all over Rio trying to find someone whose landline I could call of after shitty poo-poo skype wouldnt connect. And then I didnt have the cash to buy recording equipment (damn you muggers for stealing my credit crard).And then friend laptop which I was to tpe out the interview decided to repeatadly switch off at will…. cute! Aha! I thought, no worries, Diplo’s slow southerm drawl should buy me some time to note some of his quotes by hand. Turns out however Wes actuallytalksquitefast so I sat there with my head in my hands as journalistsic liquid gold flowed through my ears and was lost in the proverbial toilet that is my memory for al enternity. It was at once my greatset acheivemnt and biggest failure as a journalist. However, thanks to my great questioning and soothing tones, Mr Pentz has aggreed to a follow up, In the meantime here a few things that he said to me…
On knowing who to select to be in Favela On Blast
We had emtional bond with these people, sometimes you just have to get someone from the outisde in the help you”
On commitment to his art
“Its a relationship - you have to give it attention.I lost a relationship during this…”
On writing the screenplay for the film
I wrote a screen play where I was going to be kidnapped and then I was like - fuck this!”
Now if that doesnt have you wanting more… hahahaah! Yes, yes, I am a standout amongst my peers. A. A. Gill learnt all he knows from me people.
Seriously there is more to come…. stay posted.
Holy Moly! So as I mentioned in an earlier post I was wading through a load of interviews, and soooo, just doing a bit research on our up&coming EXCLUSIVE with MIA protege Rye Rye, when turns out she is indeed with child, much like her mentor who gave birth earlier this year! Talk about following in the pitter patter of tiny footsteps! So CONGRATS to the young lady! And gotta split but interview that was done with her before baba news coming up…. stay posted!
What makes graffiti in South America, and in particular Brazil, and even more specifically Sao Paulo as good as it is,could be down to the fact that as street art or graffiti, it really does stand out as being the most non-aggressive form of the genre you’ll ever be likely to encounter. Whether it constitutes as graffiti is certainly an issue for writers from NYC, who consider that ‘graffiti’ as a definitive term works within strict parameters and attitudes, but In true Brazilian style, Brazilians have thrown off any adhererance to structures and the streets of Sao Paulo have blossomed into some of the most mesmerising sights you’re likely to see anywhere. Amongst the artists who make Brazilian graffiti what it is, is Waleska Tudo Nomura a stand out artist by all accounts and graffiti royalty here in Brazil (her brother Tinho was one of the original SP writers, and her husbad Adam Neate is highly acclaimed for his work). Her ideal is to “Spread Love And Positive Energies To The World’, which kind of spits in the face of old skool atitoods and aggression - cherry-blossom flavoured love-spit of course…
First of all can you tell me what it was like growing up in Sao Paulo (the people, the area, the politics)
Sao Paulo is a very crazy city to grow up in. Is one of the biggest cities in the world! And one of the most populated as well but the people are very friendly and happy and they know how to enjoy themselves no matter what life throws at them.
The grafitti in South America, particularly Brasil is - in my opinion - is the best in the world - what do you think makes the grafitti there so unique?
Since graffiti started in Brazil, we didn’t have that much exposure to the american and european styles, so, Brazilian graffiti kind of evolved in its own direction, thanks to the pioneering Brazilian graffiti artists like Tinho who decided to change his style from the traditional New Yprk wildstyle and pieces.
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Coming soon, exclusive interview with the gorgeous Sao Paulo graffiti artist by the name of Waleska as per featured in Thames and Hudson’s Graffiti Woman, on what its like to be able to go out onto the meanest streets of South America and spread a little love - as seen doing here with in collaboration with graff artist husband Adam Neate…