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Three Ticún events in New York this month

September 5, 2017

This month we want to invite our New York friends to 3 very different events: multi-media presentation ‘Jewish Spirits in Afro-Brazilian Religions’ on September 7th , ‘Captured by the Spirit’ – music, cinematic and poetic exploration of trance on September 13th and Pan-American Cultural Symposium on September 28th.

September 7th: Jewish Spirits in Afro-Brazilian Religions at Forest Hills Library, Queens, NY

jumbandaDedicated to Brazilian Independence Day, this multi-media presentation will look at interaction of Jewish and Brazilian cultures through the lenses of Umbanda, Afro-Brazilian spirit possession religion. While Americans and Europeans drew inspiration from alternative spirituality of India and Tibet, Brazilians found a native mystical blend of Umbanda. Spirits of Jewish rebels, sages and prostitutes have its particular place in Umbanda mythology: Jewish rebels refuse the oppression of dominant religions, rabbis invoke mystical forces of Kabbalah, and Polish-Jewish prostitutes offer advice on love affairs in Yiddish. Each of these characters can be traced to a specific wave of Jewish immigration to Brazil: from Portuguese Crypto Jews of 16th and 17th centuries and Moroccan Jewish Amazon rubber boom workers of late 19th century, to Eastern European immigrants of the 20th century.

The presentation will include excerpts from video footage of Umbanda spirit possession ceremonies and Brazilian films with Jewish themes.

September 13th
Captured by the Spirit: Reflections on Trance Experience
Steve Dalachinsky, poetry | Aaron Novik, clarinet | Vincent Moon, films | Asmaa Guedira, words | Konstantine Lunarine, photography

4799Collective exploration and reflection on the Experience of Trance

Suggested admission $10

Collective exploration and reflection on the Experience of Trance

Wikipedia defines Trance as “a half-conscious state characterized by an absence of response to external stimuli, typically as induced by hypnosis or entered by a medium.”

But Trance is much more than this. One can navigate Trance through many paths. Music, Poetry, Dance, Sex, Hypnosis, Spirituality, and many more. And Brazil is THE country where all are expressed in the most intense and diverse ways.

We will start with performance by New York jazz poet Steve Dalachinsky with Aaron Novik, avant-klez clarinetist from San Francisco. The set will feature automatic writing and medium poetry of Fernando Pessoa, contemporary Brazilian surrealist poets (Nelson Ascher, Leonora de Barros, Paulo Leminsky) and Steve Dalachinsky own poetry set to improvised clarinet music.

In the second part of the evening we will screen world premiere of two short films of Vincent Moon, part of HÍBRIDOS, his trans-cinema project exploring new forms of spirituality in Brazil:

• ANO NOVO LUMIAR • 23 min

Asmaa Guedira, Moroccan – French gender advocate and freedom evangelist, will perform poetic self reflections on her spirit possession experience in Brazilian Umbandaime temple featured in the films.

Come with your curious mind and open heart. We are looking forward to exploring this experience with you!

Poet Steve Dalachinsky occupies a unique place in the jazz firmament. Actually, he occupies several places: he writes poetry inspired by jazz, he performs and records with jazz musicians and he has supplied liner notes for numerous artists including multi-intrumentalist Anthony Braxton, drummer Rashied Ali and pianist Matthew Shipp.

American composer, clarinetist and bandleader based in San Francisco. Novik’s album Secrets of Secrets was released on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records as part of the Radical Jewish Culture Series and was hailed by The Jewish Week as “richly textured and eclectic avant-klez” for its use of the 13th century sacred Kabbalah texts of Rabbi Eleazar of Worms.

Being part of a “new generation of film-makers” for the Cinemathèque Française, and born in the digital and internet age, Vincent was the main director of the ‘Take Away Shows’ of La Blogothèque. The online project of music films on indie-rock band and other famous musicians, like R.E.M, Tom Jones or Arcade Fire, revolutionized the concept of music video and the way to film music in the entire world. In Brazil, he worked with artists like Gaby Amarantos, Tom Zé, Elza Soares or Ney Matogrosso. Since 2009, Moon dedicates himself to his nomadic label, Collection Petites Planètes.

Asmaa is a gender advocate and freedom evangelist. Moroccan by birth, European by adoption, nomad by philosophy and lifestyle exploring the links between gender, digital feminism, the new economy and creative communities through her Hyper-Gender project, especially in countries like hers where women and sexuality are oppressed.

French photographer Konstantin Lunarine has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar and received praise for a solo show at The SoHo Building in New York City. Currently lives in Paris, where nightlife and classicism are the dominant notes in his art. []

Alex is an independent scholar and social activist, founder of Ticún Brasil (, an innovative social justice NGO that implements educational, social and art projects in Rio de Janeiro, as well as organizes Brazilian cultural events in New York since 2008. He has lectured at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts, Mid Manhattan and Queens Libraries as well as published articles on Brazilian culture in Jewish Currents and Sounds and Colours.


September 28th
Tícun Brasil at Pan-American Cultural Symposium at Brazilian Endowment for the Arts (240 E 52nd St.), Manhattan


18h Dr. Domício Coutinho, opening remarks
18h10min Myths and Representations in Umbanda, Yoruba and Conga Traditions, Alex Minkin, Ticún Brasil, Prof Yanna Elsa Brugal, Havana University, Cuba. Mediator Prof. João N. Neto, Columbia University

18h50min History / Capoeira – Presentation by Prof. Luciano A. Tosta, University of Kansas.

19h20min Cordel Literature, Presentation Prof. Mark Curran, Arizona State University
20h Debate with Professors Mark Curran, Arizona University;
Yanna Elsa Brugal, Havana University, Cuba; Luciano Tosta, University of Kansas; Professor Daniel Dawson,
Columbia University; Alex Minkin, Ticún Brasil;
Mediators: Liza Papi and João N. Neto

20h20min Q & A open to the public
20h30min Cocktails

Free Admission

Simpósio Cultural Pan-Americano de Literatura, cinema, música e tradições culturais, de 28 de setembro 2017, Nova York.
Pan American Cultural Symposium on Literature, Film, Music and Cultural Traditions, September 28, 2017, New York.
Mesa Redonda sobre a Cultura Popular Brasileira e os Mitos da América Latina
Local: Biblioteca Brasileira, the Brazilian Endowment for the Arts
18h30min – Professor Domicio Coutinho, boas vindas aos convidados.
18h40min – Debate com os professores Mark Curran, Ph.D. Arizona University; Yanna
Elsa Brugal, Ph.D., Havana University, Cuba; Luciano Tosta,Ph.D. University of Kansas;Daniel Dawson, Ph.D. Columbia University; Alex Minkin, fundador da Ticún Brasil; Marcos Antonio Alexandre, Ph.D. New York University.
19h40min – Q & A aberto ao público.
20h – Fechamento com coquetel.

até lá!


Der Dybbuk (1937) with live score by In-Sone

June 14, 2015
In-Sone performing Der Dybbuk at Midrash

In-Sone performing Der Dybbuk at Midrash, June 15th 2015. Photo: Roberto Marques

Chesney Hearst, The Rio Times: Why do you like InSone, what strikes you personally there as nice and different?

Alex Minkin,  Ticún Brasil: Few months ago when I was in Rio for Umbanda studies Bernardo Oliveira from Quintavant suggested attending instrumental rock trio In-Sone live performance at Audio rebel. They are abstract and radical, he told me. Indeed, In-Sone improvisational music was a trance like experience for both the audience and the artists, at times having vibes of Umbanda spirit possession ceremonies. As Philip Glass observed, ‘in the state of trance, as in the musical creation, the witness is withdrawn’.

Back in New York I shared In-Sone CD with Avant Music News critic Dan Coffey who praised ‘experimentation and an apparent skill at listening to each other that seems telepathic’ and placed the record on the top of 2014. He wrote, “At their best, it took King Crimson several minutes to achieve the kind of delicate tension which In-Sone arrive at in seconds.” In-Sone is now working on their next CD to be released later this year on Quintavant label and the rumors are that it will be a killing conceptual record.

In-Sone perfoming Der Dybbuk at Midrash. Photo by Roberto Marques

In-Sone perfoming Der Dybbuk at Midrash. Photo by Roberto Marques

Brazil is music superpower and sometimes its best artists lost in the multitude of sounds. It often takes a gringo to notice new talents before they are recognized by Cariocas (we all remember David Byrne discovering Tom Zé, for example). Since 2013 SILENT|LOUD series is promoting Brazilian Avant-garde musicians like In-Sone, Chinese Cookie Poets, Rabotnik, Marcos Campello and Sobre a Máquina via cinematic concerts in various venues from Midrash in Leblon to communities where access to culture, especially classical films, is limited or nonexistent. Luckily, I can see these musicians getting more deserved recognition today.

Why did you choose Der Dybbuk and how In-Sone compliments the film.

The band has very cinematic sound and is up to the challenge to improvise with the film’s existing soundtrack. 1997 Roy Nathanson/Anthony Coleman duo’s version of “Sadegurer Khosid’l,” which samples a 1917 recording, with live clarinetist improvisation could give one some idea of what to expect:

Der Dybbuk, directed by Michal Waszynsky in 1937 is an early black and white sound film with strong silent film aesthetics. It combines mystical folklore of the Yiddish theater with some of the German Expressionist imagery that we explored with Der Golem last year.

Michal Waszynsky’s masterpiece tells the story of the spirit (dybbuk) that possesses a young bride on the eve of her wedding. In his Classics of the Foreign Film Parker Tyler called it” one of the most solemn attestations to the mystic powers of the spirit the imagination has ever purveyed to the film reel.” The film is praised for both rich ethnographic tapestry and exquisite musical and dance scenes. Finest Jewish artists of the time contributed to the film that played for Yiddish speaking audiences of 3 million in Poland. Only 3 thousand survived the Holocaust. Der Dybbuk is a beautiful time capsule of Yiddish civilization, coded message into the future from the (almost) disappeared world of Eastern European Jewry that often referred to as Atlantis today.

We could have chosen a more conventional live soundtrack for Dybbuk by inviting Klezmer musicians,
Brazilian rock musicians could however amplify universal messages of the film. In-Sone vocabulary of harmonious melodies and various colors of noise will be radical and contemporary dialogue with the classic work.  Improvisation with the original sounds and images from Der Dybbuk will be a spiritist session of sorts, an exercise in remembering. In the words of Daniel Furrer, who produces the event in Rio, you should expect a contemporary ritual of ancient mysticism.

We dedicate this screening to the revival of Yiddish culture. The film is a perfect example of why it needs to be preserved. We are very happy to host it at Rio’s Midrash – one of the few places in the world where a group of Yiddish speakers (80 people strong on a good month) still regularly meets to learn and practice the language.

Quoting from Nobel Lecture by Isaac Bashevis Singer, “Yiddish has not yet said its last word. It contains treasures that have not been revealed to the eyes of the world. It was the tongue of martyrs and saints, of dreamers and Cabalists — rich in humor and in memories that mankind may never forget. In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of frightened and hopeful Humanity.”




more on the event, including short interview with Leo Monteiro:


Fotos for Favelas

September 30, 2012

Favela Rocinha is located in the heart of one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro. With roughly 200,000 residents it is the largest and the most developed shantytown in South America.

Artist Lais Lacher volunteered with Ticún Brasil as kids photography teacher in Rocinha. At the end of 2 month course Lais let the participants of the photography course use her Nikon D60 digital camera to capture their interpretations of the place they call home. The result is Fotos for Favelas series – not influenced by adults’ favela mythology, but rather a plethora of slice of life photography done by local kids with no political filters or artistic embellishments.

© Fotos for Favelas

“I went to teach English for one month, however when I got there and met the spirited children that were my students I saw the amazing opportunities for photography in Rocinha, I decided also to teach a photography class. I was impressed with the quality and creativity of
their photos and decided to continue the project from the United States as a fundraising opportunity for their community…With the money the day care center will be able to make improvements in the children’s after school and day care programs. The children will gain further confidence in their ability to change their lives and the lives of others through their hard work and creativity,” says Lais Lacher.

Léo Lima (known as Léo do Jacarezinho) was born, raised and lives in Jacare, one of Rio’s 600 favelas. His works at multimedia group “Imagens do Povo” (“Images of the people”), Brazilian NGO that teaches photography in favelas, are distinctive with poetic immediacy and honesty of an insider. Leo’s mission is to record the daily life of the favelas respecting human rights and local culture.

© Léo Lima. Fios e cores do Conjunto de Favelas do Alemao.

Ticún Brasil brought together Fotos for Favelas and Léo Lima’s photography for the exhibit at FB Gallery of Brazilian art in New York. “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, ” wrote Brazil NYC.

Orfeu Negro exhibit ©Alexander Ra

The works are impressive because they show an organic POV of a very different world that isn’t often documented,” concluded Heeb Magazine.

Following the exhibit, the article about Leo Lima was published at the largest website in Portuguese speaking world (UOL) and his exhibit opened in Rio de Janeiro. “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,” commented Leo Lima.

Ticún Brasil later helped organize a series of seminars for Fotos For Favelas kids. Imagens Do Povo send Léo Lima and photography professor Tatiana Altberg to teach the ‘Pinhole Project‘ in favela Rocinha. We wish best of luck to their new students!


“We put photo paper inside the can which reacts to light. There’s no need to focus or to set the aperture,” explains one of the amateur photographers, 13-year-old Julia.

Taking a pinhole photo demands patience. Whereas a digital camera can snap several images per second, to be immediately looked at, a pinhole camera demands standing still for seconds or for minutes, and only seeing the result once the film is developed.

Kids are taken by this other notion of time that is the opposite of the speedy world in which we live,” photography professor Tatiana Altberg said.

Find out how you can teach art in favelas and about other volunteering options in Brazil on our Ticún page.

Umbanda in Multimedia exhibit to promote religious tolerance

September 23, 2012

On October 16th a mass march for religious freedom in Rio de Janeiro along Rio’s Copacabana beach drew more than 200,000 people, according to CONIB, the umbrella group representing Brazil’s Jewish communities.

10 days later in New York “when much of the Jewish community was still bolting bagels and lox to break the Yom Kippur fast, about 50 Jews were taking in the art and music of Umbanda, an eclectic religion unique to Brazil, at a downtown gallery,” wrote The Jewish Week.

Ticún Brasil curated selection of photographs depicting Umbanda rituals, images were projected to large baloons transforming the gallery’s space and creating the immersible environment.

Umbanda in Multimedia at FB Gallery
©Francois Baron

‘Umbanda reveals isomorphisms and similarities between so many cultures that it can be seen as exemplar of coexistence.’ says Mel Alexenberg, head of the Emuna College School of the Arts in Jerusalem in his “Educating artists for the future”.

Photo by Bruno Morais/Pandilla Fotográfica

The exhibit featured works by acclaimed Brazilian artists: Antonio Bokel (paintings), Marcello Vitorino, Daniel Protzner and A Pandilla collective (photography).

Live performances by Café da Silva (Umbanda percussion) and Yesenia Selier (spirits of the ancestors dance) brought the vibes of Afro-Brazilian mysticism to downtown Manhattan.

Yesenia Selier (Dance of the Yemanja) and Café da Silva (percussion) at Umbanda in Multimedia
©Alexander Ra

Discussion of religious tolerance and Jewish volunteering in Brazil followed the performance.

©Alexander Ra

Ticún Brasil Volunteer Trip to Rio November 17th-24th 2012 (Thanksgiving)

March 23, 2012

The weeklong trip features volunteering, Jewish activism and sightseeing


Participants will volunteer in a favela (shantytown – Portuguese).  Our main partner is Iko Poran, the oldest and most respected Brazilian volunturism NGO in Rio (according to March 2012 edition of O Globo, the main Brazilian newspaper). Iko Poran’s mission is to help improve the lives of Brazil´s poorest.

To create a tangible effect in the course of just one week, several activities will be selected  to cover everyone’s abilities (i.e. mix of gardening, renovations, painting and library work). Each volunteer will be spending most of the daytime Monday to Thursday on one of the projects.

Jewish activism:

One of the goals of Ticún Brasil is to link two Jewish communities – US and Brazilan that share similar values and challenges. In the course of the week volunteers will have informal meetings with local Jewish leaders, intellectuals and activists of social justice (i.e. Hillel Rio de Janeiro, Centro Cultural Midrash and Edelstein Center for Social Research).

This video echoes Passover dayenu (“it would have sufficed”) story, telling about all the Hillel Rio initiatives (alas, in Portuguese only, but images are self explanatory):


Every day we will go out to explore authentic live music scene of the city. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be fully recreational and spend on the beaches, mountains and other natural wonders of Rio:

Program Dates:

November 17th – November 24th (Thanksgiving holidays).


R$ 1260 (Brazilian Reals)* per participant includes 7 days/7 nights of accommodations, transportation to and from the volunteering center, donation to the partner favela community organization (50% of the cost!), daily breakfasts, lunches on the volunteering days (Monday to Thursday), city guidebooks, 24/7 emergency contact and farewell BBQ.

Airfare, visa (needed for US citizens, but not for Israelis,  Russians, Ukranians etc.), dinners, non volunteering related transportation and activities are not included.

*Price is quoted in Brazilian Reals and valid up to May 31st,  2012. It is approximately € 550 (Euro), or $700 (US Dollars). For current exchange rates, click here.


The guesthouse (Casa Aurelia Bed and Breakfast or similar) is at Santa Teresa – hilly bohemian area with superb views over Rio, vibrant cultural life and winding cobbled streets.

The volunteers stay in shared rooms. Limited number of private rooms are available at extra cost of R$600/per person.

Application Procedures:

Request additonal info/application from After we review your completed form, you’ll be contacted for in-person interview with local Ticún Brasil coordinators.

Application Deadline:

Commitment Form and 50% of the Cost (non refundable deposit) per participant are due by May 31st, 2012.

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