Monday December 16, 2019

Bridges for Music

valen 663x359 Bridges for Music

Last winter I was lucky enough to visit two of the most beautiful cities in the world: Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro.

Both cities have many things in common. Besides the energy, the light and natural beauty, electronic music is playing a very important social role in disadvantaged communities. More specifically, in favela Rocinha and in the townships surrounding Johannesburg and Cape Town.

This helped me reconnect with the real reason I started working in music. By making music our job we can often forget the real values that motivated us to start working in this. It’s something we should avoid. All of us usually start working in music because of how it makes us feel and I’ll tell you why I felt something special with music once again.

In both cities, I visited the more underdeveloped areas (the favelas in Rio and the townships in Cape Town) and I discovered how far electronic music can reach nowadays and how positive it can be for a community that is lacking many resources. It can be motivating, inspiring, it can bring everyone together and it can make everyone smile and enjoy the moment. Wherever you are, that´s the real power of music.

In Rio I met Zezinho, a Brazilian musician who’d returned from Canada to start a dj school in the favela he grew up in. Although he earned a living as a dj outside his country, he thought it would be a great idea to return and help the new generations at his home favela.  Spin Rocinha is the name of this school,  offering the younger kids a great opportunity to find new motivations in life.  Don´t forget to contact him if you ever visit Rio.

mzolis2 663x442 Bridges for Music

In Cape Town I was lucky enough to go to a party that is held every Sunday at a bar called Mzolis in the middle of Gugulethu township.  Mzolis has been open for 30 years and every Sunday the locals meet there to roast some meat and listen to music. What a surprise! There was a dj there, playing some wicked house at 120 bpm. A big sound system was turning the place upside down.  I was shocked to listen to such a good house music and to see how people were really giving it all.  An idea immediately came into my head: show this place to world class artists, to connect these two apparently distant worlds which in reality are joined by music. This would offer to the locals the opportunity of connecting with their stars and it would also send a very positive message to the world.

I started researching and meeting the local artists who told me about their personal experience and the movement that appeared on the back of deep house, with artists such as Black Coffee and new generations of artists such as Culoe de Song or Jullian Gomes. You could say that deep house is THE SOUND of the townships. Everything I heard was so interesting that I decided to record a documentary that portrayed this experience and the contrasts I found in a city where house music has once again managed to bring together people from different races after Apartheid had separated them. It was really special to listen to the local artists explain how music has become a vehicle for integration and motivation. My friend Gianni Aragno helped me out coordinating this documentary, which will be released very soon.

Things can be easy when you’re in the right place and you have the right contacts but they can be difficult otherwise. So, I started thinking about developing a network to connect these areas with other places in the world,  building bridges for music.

That is how the idea for Bridges for Music came to me. A platform I’m working on and which will see the light soon.

 

 

 

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  • http://isragarcia.es Isra García

    Next destination: South Africa and Brazil. Making things happen, congrats Valentino.

  • http://aitorcontreras.com/ AitorContreras

    I´ve just finished reading it, and trust me: I´m completely amazed. The way you merge music love and networking structure in order to achieve other people goals rather than yours really breaks through cultural and geographical barriers. Congrats. Eager to see the documentary.

  • ExHTML

    Valentino qué iniciativa más guapa, toda la suerte, energía y ánimos con ella!

  • Zeef33

    “…show this place to world class artists… offer to the locals the opportunity of connecting with their stars and it would also send a very positive message to the world.”
    I feel this strange. Why you want to take big stars in to take over from local DJ? Who cares Carl Cox or Villalobos at Mzoli’s??? These are YOUR stars not Guguletu stars. So you bring in big DJ and turn a strong independant local music community into a tourist attraction. THIS is your “very positive message”???!! Wow. I think you do not understand this place at all. You jus spend a few days and want to buy a part of it for yourself.

    • http://www.valentinobarrioseta.com Valentino Barrioseta

      Hi Zeel,

      the goal is not attracting people to the township by using a big star, neither creating a new tourist attraction. The idea is giving the opportunity to local artists to make a network with those artists, learn, connect, and why not develop their career. If you are an artist and you are producing good music, it will help a lot if you can have the chance to speak in person with one of this stars. I agree they are not stars in Gugulethu but they are world opinion leaders that can help any young talent to come through. Thats the goal.
      Regarding the positive message. Having one of this artists playing and visiting a township would make the people around the world understand better the music culture going on there, which is amazing, and is what motivated me to start this.

      I agree with you that it has to be done carefully, respecting and making it responsible.
      I don´t want to buy anything for my self, this is only created to support music as a tool to integrate, motivate and earn a life.

      I hope it makes more sense now.

      cheers, and thanks for leaving your comment.

  • Valentino Barrioseta

    Hi Zeel, 

    the goal is not attracting people to the township by using a big star, neither creating a new tourist attraction. The idea is giving the opportunity to local artists to make a network with those artists, learn, connect, and why not develop their career. If you are an artist and you are producing good music, it will help a lot if you can have the chance to speak in person with one of this stars. I agree they are not stars in Gugulethu but they are world opinion leaders that can help any young talent to come through. Thats the goal. 
    Regarding the positive message. Having one of this artists playing and visiting a township would make the people around the world understand better the music culture going on there, which is amazing, and is what motivated me to start this. 

    I agree with you that it has to be done carefully, respecting and making it responsible.
    I don´t want to buy anything for my self, this is only created to support music as a tool to integrate, motivate and earn a life.  

    I hope it makes more sense now. 

    cheers, and thanks for leaving your comment.

  • Guy Herman

    Fantastic!! Great initiative

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