A conversation with Beá Tibiriçá, Wilken Sanches and Hernani Dimantas, the founders of Coletivo Digital [Instagram], an organisation who have been developing software livre, digital integration and open culture in São Paulo for around 20 years. We met on 12 October (a holiday for o dia de nossa senhora aparecida) at Coletivo Digital’s space in the Pinheiros neighbourhood, which serves as a gallery, performance venue and also houses a recording studio that runs on free and open source software. The podcast features the song ‘Canção tem samba’, by Trilha Sonora, which was recorded here.
Our conversation, with translations and contributions by Wagner Miranda [Instagram] occurred after the first presidential elections on 2 October which were inconclusive. A second run-off election had been announced for October 30 and when we met the collective were actively campaigning ‘for democracy’.
fugitive radio landed in São Paulo, Brazil in the midst of the 2022 presidential election, taking up residence in the Bixiga neighbourhood where it is being hosted by Lanchonete.org at Conjuntos Santos Dumont. This episode of fugitive frequency is a collage of sounds collected around central São Paulo in the days leading up to the October 2 election, which was inconclusive. A run off election is scheduled for 30 October between the two remaining presidential candidates — the incumbent ultra-nationalist Jair Bolsonaro and former-president representing the workers party (PT), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known simply as Lula.
Music is what first piqued my interest in Brazil when I was teenager. When I was last here, during the 2018 presidential elections, my language tutors would often emphasise that the folk and popular music of Brazil kept a social history of the country that had been a dictatorship for much of its existence and in which illiteracy was still relatively high. As I was making these recordings, I sought to tease out the musicality of the everyday, however listening back I recognised a familiar melody threaded through most of my recordings. “Olé olé-olé olé…” As Marina Marchesan [Instagram] pointed out to me, it is a familiar football chant re-purposed for the iconic statesman Lula. I wonder if any other politician has a catchy jingle, and one that is so readily incorporated into any number of genres? (Out walking one morning I found myself among a Lula blocco in Bixiga where this anthem was impressed into my conscience. Also, kudos to Clarissa Aidar [Instagram] for inviting me to the Pensante Monde blocco carnaval rehearsal soon after where this melody was once again played.)
Melody, and in particular catchy jingles, are a recurring motif of this podcast that captures some of the soundscape/soundclash of this Latin American megacity. Device notifications, arguably jingles of sorts, disrupt the playback of regional pop songs in local bars. Noise—traffic, alarms and the distortion of audio equipment— textures these recordings, sometimes punctuating the sound in amusing ways. In a networked world where we are all ‘prosumers’, people’s reactions to my microphone reveals something about our relationship to audio/media culture, for example when a group of boys break our conversation to speak directly into my microphone.
Language (and translation) emerges as another theme, as at times speakers of português and english overlap. As a português language-learner I certainly don’t understand all that is being discussed, and I’ve found that different strands of information and meaning emerge by listening between languages, sounds and music (I think of discussions around noise/signal/information). For example, early in the podcast is a recording of Marina Silva (main image) addressing a climate justice rally on Friday 23 September via a troublesome sound system. Silva is a politician with Rede Sustentabilidade (Sustainability Network) REDE. She was formerly Environment Minister in Lula’s government (2003–2008), a presidential candidate (2014) and is world renown for her environmental activism. When editing, I often find myself listening to the sound of the recording rather than what is being said; for its musicality or ‘charisma’.
Another section documents a songwriting workshop led Gabriel Edé [Instagram] and Vitor Wutzki [Instagram] for Radio Santos Dumont, 1 October. Sheltering from the rain in Luduina’s fruit and vegetable shop as other activities, conversations and exchanges continued on around them, Edé and Wutzki’s workshop culminated in the performance of ‘Carro e Dágua’ (circa 36 mins) with the local youth: Pitter, Thiago and Gabriel.
Towards the end of the podcast is a recording of Cicero D. Silva and his band busking on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of Avenida Paulista. With the major corridor free of car traffic for some hours, I drifted into this trio of elderly men performing hypnotic music on drum, triangle and piano accordion.
Many thanks to the residents of Conjunto Santos Dumont for their hospitality and a special mention to Todd Lanier Lester [Instagram] and Andrew O’Conner [Instagram], the architects of Radio Santos Dumont.
fugitive radio: radio em fuga in Brazil is supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.
‘Story of the Storyteller’
An audio fanzine about Agus Nur Amal PMTOH [Instagram], an artist and storyteller from Aceh Indonesia. He employs a ‘Tri Tangtu’ way of thinking that combines rationalism and spiritualism. Drawing on tradition and child-like imagination he has developed a unique form of object theatre. Our interview was recorded during the opening days of documenta fifteen, June 2022, at his exhibition at Grimmwelt Kassel.
‘Buy 1 Free 1’
An audio travelogue/proto-riddim mixtape, featuring music, musicians, friends and recordings of events made traveling through Sri Lanka and Malaysia in July and August.
In Kuala Lumpur, the artist Sau Bin Yap [Facebook] suggested I search for bunga telang (butterfly pea blue flower) at Pasar Chowkit. Browsing a spice stall, I heard a DJ Slow Bass mix and was struck by DJ Acan’s Koplo take on ‘Joko Tingkur’.
Tharagai is a young KL-based rapper who I came across via Rap Porkalam, a TV talent show fostering Tamil rap in Malaysia. My cousin Prem, who works as a producer on the show, claims the music phenomenon burst forth from KL’s underground hip hop scene.
Search-engining for more I got hooked in by ‘Namma Aalu’, a shopping centre sponsored Deepavali ‘anthem’ by Roshan Jamrock, Yunohoo and Arvinder Raina. You can hear a snippet before being transported to Kuala Lumpur’s famous Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. I did try to interview the temple musicians G Mohan (Tavil) and Samugam (Nagaswaram) from Chennai, but after an afternoon’s work they more interested in lunch than a chat … and besides my Tamil ist nicht sehr gut!
Cut to a recording of the so-called ‘Nine Gods’ ritual I walked into near Pataling Jalan, while out with a friend Amalen. You can hear Amalen’s commentary during this season of ancestors and ghosts, before the night took a dramatic turn. It’s not in the mix, so for the record: I witnessed Amalen and two young holidaying nurses we met save a man’s life! Even more surreal was that their extraordinary efforts to keep him breathing as his anxious companions sought to bring an ambulance into the blocked-off alley were perfectly timed to the ritual playing out around us.
The mix is interspersed with reworkings and mashups of the productions mentioned above. In particular is a remix of ‘Metal Walk’ riddim by Dinoj Mahendran [Instagram] made during our Thaalam Riddim Reapers workshop during Dinacon 3. I intend to push this riddim further, so expect more to come.
Moving in reverse, the travelogue ends at DreamSpace Academy Batticaloa on the final days of Dinacon. This is where I learned of Sandaru Sathsara, the Sri Lankan-born viral YouTube singer. Bruce and Bruce who manage the DreamSpace cafe towards the end, get in the last word.
It features an interview with DreamSpace Academy co-founder Kishoth Navaretnarajah (Instagram), alongside the voices of other Dinacon ‘dinasaurs’ including founder Andrew Quitmeyer (Instagram) and Hannen Wolfe. There are also snatches of speeches delivered by DreamSpace Academy co-founder Aravinth Panch (Instagram) and co-director Anna Jeyaraj Moses.
I must make special mention of DreamSpace’s Music Lab, organised by Prasanna Sivagnanam and Dinoj Mahendranathan where I focused my time. Extra special thanks extends to all who participated in the many spontaneous jam sessions and singalongs, whose voices also make a significant contribution to this episode.
lumbung in the ‘air’ (a pun on the Bahasa Indonesia word for water) is an anachronistic mix-tape of musical moments recorded during the opening days of documenta fifteen in Kassel Germany, 15 –20 June 2022.
Curated by the Jakarta-based collective ruangrupa, documenta fifteen is concerned with lumbung, the Indonesian word for a communal rice-barn where surplus rice is stored for the benefit of the community. Lumbung was adopted as a practice by the documenta organisers pursuing alternative economies of collectivity, shared resource building and equitable distribution. fugitive radio has become part of the lumbung ekosistem through the lumbung radio / station of commons platform.
A montage of field recordings, performances and other audio documents collected since August 2020, when fugitive radio began. Recordings include Vallilan vapputanssit Finnish Tango dance in the Vallila neighbourhood for the vappu May Day celebrations; Thomas Moose speaking at Pride Is A Protest in 2021; Pekka Pylkkänena from the musicians union interviewed in 2021; MC Ghepetto at Elements mini-Ball 2022 and Suva Das performing playground equipment at Pixelache Festival #BURN____2021.
This special episode features an interview with Alanis Obomsawin, an Indigenous Abenaki filmmaker, singer, activist and ‘national treasure’ from Turtle Island/Canada. We spoke online late in February with reference to a major survey exhibition of Alanis’ life and work, ‘The Children Have to Hear Another Story’, 12 February – 18 April, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin.
Many thanks to Lilli Heinemann from HKW and Michael Shu from the National Film Board of Canada for making this possible.
Bush Lady (2018)
Vignettes: June in Povungnituk – Quebec Arctic (1980)
March is a mix ∞ or rather a sound clash. A recording from RUB’s 2202022 special with unknown participants on SonoBus meets the rally in support of Ukraine in Helsinki a few days later (26 February). It’s not quite in time, nevertheless it’s of the time.
An incomplete playlist includes:
‘LINELEH I’ – Eleh + Richard Chartier
‘Fifth Worship II’ – Kali Malone
‘Move Down Low’ (Dubplate Mix) – Grievous Angel
‘Culebra’ – Arca
‘Barnacles’ (Kode9 Mix) – Hyph11E
‘Travel Light 2010’ (Tekz Keyz 3-5-7) – DJ Phil
‘Ratnam’s Riddim’ (Nonfuture Remix) – Iyer
‘Feels Like Free For All’ (Fisky Bootleg) – Kevin JZ Prodigy x Errorsmith
‘Hold Pattern’ – Osheyack & Nahash
‘Dancing‘ (Instrumental) – Omar and Zed Bias
‘gum on ur shu remix‘ –
‘Click Clack’ – Leonce feat. Divoli S‘vere
‘Blaze ‘n‘ Cook’ (Radioslave Remix) – Stereotyp Vs Al Haca
‘Tourist‘ (Nídia Rework) – Lafawndah
‘Circulate False Notes’ (Suckerfish P Jones Remix) – Filastine
‘Rakkama, Clap Your Hands’ (Wellbelove Remix) – Iyer
‘Tar’ – Myxomy