Jumat, 08 November 2013

Music that changes lives

If you take a walk in the streets of Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia in Brazil, you'll soon hear music - probably the amazing rhythm of drum groups, or the sound of a berimbau (a one-stringed instrument) as people dance capoeira.

Most tourists don't go to the small neighbourhood of Candeal. But if they're interested in music, maybe they should. Carlinhos Brown was born here in 1962. He arrived on the Brazilian pop scene in 1982 and in the 1990s he became known internationally as the leader of the musical group Timbalada. The group consisted of more than 100 percussionists and singers, the majority of them young kids from Candeal. They recorded eight albums and toured various countries around the world.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Candeal was a very poor area, and Carlinhos wanted to do something for the kids. So he opened the Pracatum Music School. On a classroom wall he painted, 'This is the school of my dreams', to inspire the students.

Hundreds of young people between five and twelve have learnt to play music there. They start by playing complex samba rhythms on plastic containers and tin cans. Then they go on to other instruments. Many of the students at the school have become very successful musicians.

The school has been training young musicians from the area since 1994 and it's been doing it for free. 'My musical work began here as a student with Carlinhos', says Jair Rezende. He lost both his parents as a boy and says Carlinhos was like a second father to him. Jair is now a teacher himself and he's been working at Pracatum Music School for many years. 'We've been helping kids to stay away from drugs and violence and to get good marks at school'.

For some years now, the school has been working together with govemment programmes, and now there is a big project for improving the neighbourhood of Candeal. 'What's the miracle of Candeal?' Brown asks. And he answers, 'It's a labour of love'.

By : Cindy Angelina

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