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19 mai 2008

Festival brings Arab pop musicians to Brazil

Bridgestone Music Festival, to take place in the city of São Paulo in June, is going to present stars of the so-called 'world music' like the Algerian Souad Massi and the Mauritanian Daby Touré.

São Paulo – International pop music stars that are little known in Brazil are going to play in São Paulo in June, during the three days of Bridgestone Music Festival. Among them are Arab musicians like the Algerian Souad Massi and the Mauritanian Daby Touré, both singers, composers and guitar players.

"The idea is to bring people who are not known in Brazil to the country to do something new and shake up the music scene," said to ANBA the artistic director and producer of the event, Toy Lima. According to him, Bridgestone Music is inspired on the European summer festivals, which bring together artists of several nationalities. "We want to diversify a little. In Brazil there is great presence of music in English and Portuguese," he added.

According to him, Souad Massi should be the main star of the event, as she is currently considered one of the main names in "world music" on the European continent. Souad sings her own songs and songs by other songwriters in Arabic and French, mixing modern and classical music.

Lima wants to attract Arabs and descendants who live in Brazil to the show, as traditional Arab music is part of the repertoire. "At her shows Arab audiences sing together with her. The songs should be translated on a screen, but the audience makes the show even hotter," he said. "In Brazil, although there is such Arab influence, music in the language does not play on radio stations," she pointed out.

Born in Algiers in 1972, Souad has been living in France since 1999. Before that, according to the organizers of the event, she was already successful in her homeland, where she also attracted protest from those most conservative when she was the lead singer of a heavy metal rock band called Atakor. A member of a family of musicians, her first musical influence was Flamenco, although she now has her own style with touches of several genres.

She is compared, according to the organisation, to artists like Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman and Joan Baez. In Lima's opinion, in Brazil she brings to mind Marisa Monte.

Daby Touré also comes from a family of musicians. Born in Mauritania and brought up in Senegal, he has been living in France since 1989. His style, according to Lima, is pop rock and brings to mind Gilberto Gil. Touré is sponsored by rock musician Peter Gabriel.

The festival should also include pianist Rachel Z, from New York, North American keyboard player Lonnie Smith, Indian pianist Vijay Iyer and singer and percussionist Dobet Gnahoré, from Ivory Coast. The genders, according to Lima, range from jazz to world music.

This is the first edition of the festival. Next year, Lima wants to promote it simultaneously in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. "This is an idea that I have been considering for a long time and we have now managed to get sponsorship from Bridgestone," he said.

Alexandre Rocha / ANBA

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