Musicians in Residence, Brazil 2019-20
We’re partnering with PRS Foundation once again to bring some of the UK’s most talented up and coming musicians to Brazil for three incredible musical residencies.
Musicians in Residence sees three musicians make temporary homes in three cities abroad. This year, Belfast-based musician and producer Chris Ryan, who also tours with the post-punk/jazz act Robocobra Quartet, is going to São Paulo; multi-talented singer and musician Anaïs is going to Salvador; and violinist, writer and composer Midori Komachi is going to Diamantina.
The residencies offer the opportunity for each musician to create original work, build networks, reach new audiences and explore the different cultural influences of Brazil. Activity will also engage artists, teachers, students and the wider local communities, aiming to raise awareness of UK and Brazilian creativity.
They follow in the footsteps of our six previous Brazil residents. Last time out this was AWATE, Emma-Jean Thackray and Tom Calvert AKA Redinho, who travelled to São Paulo, Bragança Paulista and Fortaleza respectively. Before them, the three artists were Phantom Chips, Lady Vendredi and Nathaniel Mann. You can find out more about their time in Brazil in this special edition of our arts podcast.
Meet the Musicians in Residence, Brazil
Chris is a Belfast-based musician and producer who has received acclaim for both his solo work and his work with Robocobra Quartet. His music has been featured on The Quietus and BBC Radio 3, and he has previously been invited to play at Montreux Jazz Festival (CH), Latitude Festival (UK) and SXSW (USA). His work as a writer has also been featured on BBC Radio 1, premiered by Ulster Orchestra, and sync on the HBO documentary Game Of Thrones: The Last Watch. He also spends a lot of time in the studio working with other artists as a producer and engineer, most recently with Just Mustard (Beggars Music) and Exmagician (Bella Union).
Chris’ residency in São Paulo gives him the opportunity to truly focus on is writing. As São Paulo is the most populous city in Brazil, the Western Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, there will be plenty of opportunity for collaboration as well as soaking up the cultural influences and exploring the music of the city. “I’m excited to head to São Paolo for a focused period of writing and collaboration,” he says. “I’m purposely going into the experience with a sense of malleability (as distinct from the usual structure of my studio and touring work). I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn what I can along the way both in a musical sense and also in terms of language and speech, which the main thrust of my writing.”
Chris will connect with people at Semana Internacional de Música de São Paulo (SIM SÃO PAULO) - the most important music convention in Latin America. During five days, the city becomes a meeting point for professionals from all sectors of the music industry, as well as artists and media from Brazil and beyond. The event focus on the new music market, providing a platform for the discussion of new ideas and concepts, which are transforming the music scene.
Having moved from Toulouse, to Dublin, to Dakar, to California, and then finally to London, Anaïs’ feeling of belonging everywhere and nowhere has added many colours to her creative palette. Her music explores narratives of blackness but purposefully seeks to defy any attempts to reduce blackness into a singular narrative, instead showing human nature in all its complexity. Her latest project “Darkness At Play” carefully exposes a world in decay, yet resists the temptation to minimise this world to its doomed fate and goes on to explore political contradictions, selfhood, and the divine feminine.
Anaïs’ residency in the port city of Salvador gives her the opportunity to expand her musical horizons and explore the city’s Afro-Brazilian heritage. She says: “I cannot express how blessed I feel to have been given the privilege to travel to Salvador and immerse myself in Brazilian culture. I’ve always been drawn to the music, the language, and the people and I cannot wait to see the work and the relationships that will blossom during my time there. I know it will be a life changing experience and forever influence the way I connect with my art."
Salvador is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, as the only City of Music in Brazil. It is also home to hundreds of percussive Afro-Brazilian groups, including Olodum, Ilê Ayiê, Muzenza and Timbalada. Salvador is known for “Axé music”, a genre that began in the carnival. It is home to one of the biggest carnival street parties and Anais' visit will coincide with the eight day long carnival in 2020.
Midori Komachi is a violinist, writer and composer who has developed a diverse career in bridging cultures through music. Komachi’s works explore music in relation to space, architecture and cultural heritage of places. Over the years, she has written music for site-specific projects, including Musicity x Sculpture in the City and LIFE Exhibition commissioned by Maggie’s Centres (2017-19). As a violinist, Komachi made her debut as a soloist at the age of 12 with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra and since then she has performed extensively throughout Europe and Japan, appearing in venues such as Tonhalle Zurich, Tokyo Opera City Hall, Philharmony Warsaw and Wigmore Hall. Komachi has founded several projects between the UK and Japan, focusing on fostering a deeper understanding of music from both countries.
Midori Komachi’s residency in Diamantina, a city rich in culture which has earned it worldwide recognition with the title of Cultural Heritage of Humanity granted by UNESCO, will provide an abundance of music. “I am thrilled to be selected for this residency,” she says. “I am fascinated by the culture of Diamantina – from the beautiful Baroque architecture, which takes us back to some of the early music from this period, to Vesperata, a traditional outdoor music event with musicians performing from balconies of surrounding buildings. These distinctive musical footprints are deeply embedded around town, and I cannot wait to discover the sounds that will emanate from my journey, through collaborating with local musicians, and engaging with the community.”
Follow #MIRBrazil to keep up with these residencies as they unfold.