In 2014 our new series of cine-concerts called SILENT|LOUD will be presented in various venues in Rio de Janeiro ranging from Leblon and Gavea to cultural centers in favelas of Zona Norte, tour around Brazil (São Paulo, Parati, Ouro Preto, Recife, Olinda and Belem) and overseas (US and Russia).
The live events of the series are expected to reach more than 20,000 people, including communities where access to culture, especially classical films, is limited or nonexistent.
In the early 1990s, downtown Manhattan’s Knitting Factory has been running a “Loud Music with Silent Films” series that featured masterpieces of world’s silent cinema with the live music by the most prominent experimental musicians John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and others. Since then, similar events took place around the world.
First event of the new Brazilian series SILENT|LOUD was held on December 13th 2013 in Rio de Janeiro’s leading avant-garde venue Audio Rebel. It combined works from 1920s’, the most experimental period of Russian cinema, with today’s improvised live Brazilian music. According to a 2012 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, only 27% of Brazilians viewed Russia favorably. On the other hand, perceptions of Brazil are mostly positive in Russia, yet there is very little knowledge about the variety of its contemporary life and culture.
Typically only traditional styles of Brazilian music, such as samba and bossa nova are known overseas, leaving out most of the regional and contemporary genres (38 music styles are shown on 2013 musical map of Brazil by musicologist Raul Luna). SILENT|LOUD aims to highlight lesser known forms of Brazilian music while introducing best of international classical cinema.
Brazilian instrumental trio Chinese Cookie Poets (CCP) and Russian saxophone player Alexander Zhemchuzhnikov created live soundtrack for Soviet silent cinema classics: Storm over Asia (Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1928), Kino-Eye (Dzyga Vertov, 1924), Bed and Sofa (Abram Room, 1927). Produced almost a century ago, these films are not only the masterpieces of the cinema with lasting influences; they also raise timeless issues that are still relevant in contemporary society: national independence, social justice and women’s rights.
Music of Brazilian instrumental trio Chinese Cookie Poets is an eclectic combination of brutal intensity and subtle harmonies, compositions and improvisations. The band leader Felipe Zenícola, told us that performing music for a film was his longtime dream. The trio was formed in 2010 by Marcos Campello (guitar), Felipe Zenícola (bass) and Renato Godoy (drums). After two EPs in the first year, they released the album Worm Love in 2012, with participation of renowned music producer, songwriter and guitarist from the US Arto Lindsay on one of the tracks. In April 2013 CCP released a new album in collaboration with Brazilian trumpeter Nicholas Lafetá. The band toured over ten cities in Brazil and Chile and recorded performances with such musicians as Polish composer Zbigniew Karkowski, Argentinean saxophonist Sam Nacht, Brazilian composer and performer Negro Leo and Swiss trio MIR.
Russel Slater a chief editor of Sounds and Colours Brazil, the most comprehensive contemporary review of Brazilian music and culture, called CCP “arrhythmic rock, a cornerstone of Rio’s new experimental music scene.” He also referred to Alex Zhemchuzhnikov’s music as “throbbing Gristle-esque noise assault.”
Saxophonist Alexander Zhemchuzhnikov was born in Stary Oskol (Russia) and currently lives in Rio de Janeiro. Alex co-founded [Br]om, one of the first jazzcore bands in Moscow. Far From Moscow, Eastern European music review, described [Br]om as ‘extreme forms of improvisation to counter the oppressive nature of local experience..jazz nightmares.”’ Today he is a member of Brazilian avant-garde groups BIU, Bonifrate and Sobre a Máquina and his performances are known to mesmerize the audiences with noisy and grim walls of sounds.
Paal Nilssen-Love (The Thing), Felipe Zenícola (Chinese Cookie Poets), Alexander Zhemchuzhnikov (Sobre a Máquina) (2013):
Alexander has also collaborated with artists and bands such as Paal Nilssen Love, Eugene Hutz, Hype Williams and Eyal Maoz. His musical influences are ranging from free jazz of Peter Brötzmann and Evan Parker to folk music from the Middle East.
Chinese Cookie Poets and Alex Zhemchuzhnikov recordings are consistently featured on top 2012 and 2013 lists by Brazilian music journalists and bloggers.
‘CCP and Alex represent new experimental and innovative trends in Brazilian music, contributing to avant-garde scene of Rio with new projects capturing more and more local and international audiences’ – O Globo
‘Chinese Cookie Poets is a cornerstone of Rio’s new experimental music scene.’ – Russel Slater, Sounds and Colours
‘Since its creation in 2003 the band brings nu-jazz the to Brazilian territories and enters into global urban music dialogs between new genres of music as one the leading bands of instrumental rock today.’ - Cruzeiro do Sul
‘The extreme dynamic range of electric instruments became necessary to keep up with the inevitable crescendo of the drama’- John Y. N. Cho, IMDB
The largest Brazilian newspaper O Globo wrote the following about Audio Rebel where the event took place on December 13th, 2013: “you enter an underground temple. Everything about the place is rebellious – the music, the ambiance, the crowd… In the land of samba and funk these small tribes hold the universe of indie music in Rio.”
“With SILENT | LOUD we are developing international cultural exchange ,” commented cultural producer Daniel Furrer in the interview about the project to Voice of Russia in Portuguese:
Audio Rebel was crowded; the event attracted large audiences beyond CCP fans. Musicians were very inspired to play live interpretation of 50 minutes selections from the masterpieces of Russian cinema.
There was a feeling of intense dialogue between the films and the music, with the audience immersed in total audiovisual experience. Guitars, percussion and sax transcended the sounds of human drama and nature.
When the show was over, people remained paralyzed by the powerful interaction of poignant and beautiful historical images and live music. Brazilians found silent Russian films exhilarating: many in the audience suggested to have dedicated screenings of the movies in their entirety.
Fragments from the performance:
The performance followed by the encore that Chinese Cookie Poets dedicated to Polish experimental musician Zbigniew Karkowski. ” Let’s take a moment to honor great composer who unfortunately died today, whose crazy genius we had the honor of touching and breathing,”- said Felipe Zenícola, the leader of CCP.
CCP performance with Zbigniew Karkowski (2011):
Bed and Sofa, one of the films included into the program, attracted special attention of the viewers, as it was directed by Abram Room, whose works rarely screened in Brazil. Abram Room is also known for his ironic silent documentary Jews on the Land (1927) with script by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lilya Brik. You can watch the entire 18 minutes of the documentary here (no Brazilian soundtrack is created at the time of writing):
Jews on the Land opens with scenes of a war-devastated shtetl (all that is left of the central market is a single pathetic fish stall), then shows an elderly Jew wandering about an even more desolate wilderness. Soon, however, sod-brick settlements rise and, as irrigation ditch criss-cross the once–barren plain, the now-productivised Jews are equally transformed: a new-born baby is named Forget-You-Sorrow. Tractor drivers and Young Pioneers’ are given particular pride of place and the film-makers emphasise that, among other livestock, these new Jewish peasants are raising pigs.
from “Inside the film factory” by Richard Taylor, Ian Christie.
concept, logistics | alex minkin, felipe zenícola, daniel furrer
music | chinese cookie poets, alexander zhemchuzhnikov
promotion | bernardo oliveira, elayne bione
art | luca masud, alexander zhemchuzhnikov
videos | irina khokhlova, tay nascimento
special thanks | roberta manaa, erlena dlu, irina patkanyan, audio rebel
PAST EVENTS IN NEW YORK
Three New York artists: Anya Roz, Tanya Levina and Yuliya Levit, juxtaposed with poetic prose of Clarice Lispector, mystical Brazilian writer of Jewish-Ukrainian descent.
I keep looking, looking.
Trying to understand.
Trying to give what I have gone through to someone else,
and I don’t know who,
but I don’t want to be alone with that experience.
- Clarice Lispector
Clarice Lispector was born in the same part of Ukraine responsible for the birth of Hasidism and her work was shaped by the same experience of historical rupture and trauma that produced the great Jewish mystics. She became a national icon of Brazil whose face adorned postage stamps. Read more about her in this Tablet magazine article.
This show was a multimedia exploration of the tales of strangers in the strange lands – recurrent narratives of Jewish diaspora.
Clarice Lispector’s works were recited by renowned avant-garde poet Steve Dalachinsky:
The opening reception also featured a musical performance by an Israeli-American violinist, singer and composer Efrat Shapira.
May 7, 2013, 6.30 PM at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (240 E 52nd St.)
COJECO’s BluePrint Fellowship alumni joined Ticún Brasil for an evening of cultural exchange: young professionals from Russian-speaking Jewish and South American Jewish communities in New York got to know each other’s history, music, and food.
We were joined by the special guest, Gerard Edery (“master of Sephardic song“, The New York Times).
Screening of the documentary on history of converted Jews in Brazil was introduced by Rabbi Mendy Weitman from São Paulo, spiritual leader of The Jewish Latin Center in New York and Alex Minkin, director of Ticún Brasil:
On April 12, 2013 the Portuguese parliament passed legislation facilitating the naturalization of descendants of 16th-century Sephardic Jews who fled because of religious persec
Jews in Portugal were forced to convert and were henceforth known as New Christians or Marrano. As the power and pressure of the Inquisition grew in Portugal, the newly discovered land of Brazil became a favorite destination for Jewish converts to Catholicism, far from the Inquisition.
Jews helped build the sugar industry, roads, bridges, and a basic sewage system and were a fundamental part of Brazil’s cultural melting pot. In 1636 in Recife on Brazil’s northeastern coast Sephardic Jews opened the first synagogue in the Americas.
With researchers, scholars and members of the Marrano community as guides, this visual journey through exotic Brazil–its sights, sounds and people give the viewer insight into a chapter of history that has been hidden for too long.
The BluePrint Fellowship Alumni Projects are part of the Center Without Walls project of COJECO, sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group.
October 19th, 2012 at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts in New York.
Ticún Brasil cooperated with Lasar Segall Museum in São Paulo to present overview of Lasar Segall’s paintings. With live performance of guitar virtuoso João Kouyoumdjian, readings from João Cabral de Melo Neto, the greatest figure of the golden age of Brazilian poetry, and paintings by contemporary Brazilian artists Gustavo Braga, Alcinda Saphira, Rene Nascimento, Antonio Oliveira and Marcos Amaro.
Lasar Segall (July 21, 1891 – August 2, 1957) was a Brazilian Jewish painter, engraver and sculptor born in Lithuania who created his own modernist style, which combined Cubism, Futurism, and melancholic Expressionism.
Mario de Andrade (1893-1945), a famous Brazilian writer and art critic, wrote about the artist’s work: “L. Segall absorbs the world around him. The faces in his works exude a deep archaic beauty. Whether he painted a meditating Rabbi or an Indian woman, in his hands they became Humankind and the secret embodying it.”
The event aimed to promote volunteering in Brazil and raise funds to support after school and day care programs ran by União de Mulheres Pró-melhoramentos da Roupa Suja – Union of Women for the Improvement of Roupa Suja (UMPMRS).
See media coverage of the event below:
“The main challenge was not to fall into stereotypes about Rio de Janeiro. Too often, the city is shown as either a paradise in the hills, or a city of contrasts, or a very violent and depressing place. Works that we display at the exhibit this week are distinctive with poetic immediacy and honesty of an insider.”
Article on Orfeu Negro artist Leo Lima was published at the largest website in Portuguese speaking world (UOL). “I want my photographs to be known as artistic and political. Art for the art sake could be reflective, but lacks the political power of transformation. I’m not neutral, I have my politics and my photography has this bias and critical questioning. These are records of many lives that exist but never shown’ – Leo Lima:
HEEB Magazine: “Orfeu Negro Photography Exhibit reminded me of feelings I’ve had about the Jewish people in general: A little loud and uncomfortable, but very culturally interesting.”
“A mostra está sendo realizada pela Ticún Brasil, uma organização judaica que fornece suporte a voluntários no Brasil, e ensina inglês, arte e fotografia à crianças em favelas e regiões de periferia”