MUSIC

 

Winter,
summer,
music
&
colors

This Summer in Finland, in the meeting points, cafés and most popular bars in the city of Helsinki, a public of between 17 to 71 years of age were able to enjoy good Brazilian popular music as if they were in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador or São Paulo. The most interesting feature of this developing fashion was that, even on a first hearing, the Finns were able, without much effort, to double-guess the Portuguese language lyrics of the songs in Finnish.
"Portuguese is one of the official languages of the European Community. At least four countries of the Community share languages with a similar structure and all the countries in the world are familiar with the Brazilian rhythm. It’s not a surprise to me that an enormous quantity of successful electronic music, house, dance, disco etc. has shades of Brazilian percussion in its structure. One of the best ways to introduce styles of Brazilian music to other countries is to translate the best known local pop artists in a country into Portuguese. In this way, people can feel the same musical emotions as we do in Brazil and they can even guess what the lyrics are about."
It is in this way that Eduardo, his right arm Anthony Johnson, and their band, "Brazilian Aeroplane", have entered into the history of the Finnish pop music: creating in the process a pioneering cultural bridge between the two countries which extends way beyond the entertainment value of the project. In its initial work, the "musically polyglot" Eduardo translated and recorded 12 songs of J. Karjalainen in Portuguese and the famous "Oceano" of Djavan in the Finnish language.
"The popularity of J. Karjalainen songs is very similar to that of Djavan’s in Brazil: as is demonstrated by the fact that, over the course of his career, "J's" songs have sold circa 1,5 million CDs in a country with 5 million people. So, naturally, I'm one more, among the Finnish people, who also enjoy J. Karjalainen's music."
Eduardo's project and its idea captured the attention and interest of the successful Swedish music industry (which publishes its productions on a worldwide scale), and now the project has assumed its own form. In the beginning it created an opportunity for the Finns to meet a with wider range of Brazilian music styles than normal: extending beyond the stereotypes of samba, bossa nova and lambada. The songs were a success on the Finnish radio, receiving highest ratings from the best music journalists and music magazines in the country. (Surprisingly, even rigid "heavy-metal" aficionados generously gave them space for a review and rated them, too, with high scores). Translations, personalized interpretations, well measured allusions to the music of João Bosco', Bebel Gilberto, Gil – Eduardo goes the "Caetano Veloso way" with his voice and band, piloting an Aeroplane full of exotic colours and names which carries a remarkably rich musical background in its luggage. Loaded with enthusiastic creativity, the band has brought to light a unique project offering plenty of international content as well as ways to grow. As Eduardo puts it:
"Djavan’s ‘Oceano’, sung in Finnish, evokes the peace and the beauty of the Amazon landscape as if it had been intoned by a native of our forests in the Tupy-Guarany language... so far, yet so close. As the translation process evolved, the whole song turned surrealistically beautiful in this Nordic language. Anthony used a "Kantele", a traditional Finnish folk instrument in his adaptation of Djavan's and Paco de Lucia's original arrangement."
Managed from Sweden, the album "TELEPATIA" will soon be released in Brazil, Portugal, Italy, France and Spain.

Someone
else's
music

But, anyway, why copy the songs of others? Why not make your own songs? Why translate Djavan's songs into Finnish and who ever heard about this J. Karjalainen in Brazil?
"
Everything we do in this life is initially learned from somewhere: a book, a school, or life itself. My idea is surely not a novelty, but its results are. It is not so much a matter of copying art as creative adaptation: for in the act of inhabiting someone else’s work and empathizing with it in a constructive way, something new naturally begins to appear, something else is created, and that happens in all forms of art. The painter Picasso copied masterpieces from his mentors with the agility of a falsifier. But the resultant work wasn't a fake: rather, it represented an enormous accumulation of knowledge and the opening of new windows onto vistas of ideas never dreamed of before. To learn in a good school, good books are also needed, not to mention a good pedagogical method, a situation in which it is possible to experience the fruits of competent teaching, mature learning materials and developed sources of knowledge. Instead of turning himself into a falsifier, Picasso walked step by step along the same roads as had been traveled by other masters, always learning, feeling and assimilating a little of everything into himself. I'm confident that anyone, and especially young Brazilian musicians, add an enormous wave of quality and energy to their own production when they closely study, for instance, the Velha Guarda, Jobim, Pixinguinha, Dino Sete Cordas (many people around the world don't even realize that one of the best guitars for Brazilian music has seven strings!). Djavan, too, is a master – even for those who have never met him. Just by listening to his music, one can learn a million things (for instance, the loving craftsmanship with which he fuses together his melodies). The Finnish composer J. Karjalainen has contributed as much to his own people as we in Brazil have gained from the likes of Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, Caetano, and Djavan."


Italy,
Brazil,
Africa,
France,
Spain

&
Finland

Eduardo was born in São Paulo, Brazil in a family of Portuguese immigrants. He graduated with the best grades at the Fine Arts Academy of Milan (Brera) where he disputed his thesis and obtained his academic diploma, equipping himself in the process not only for teaching in the Fine Arts but also for his entry into the world as a product developer. Over the same period in Italy, he also involved himself in complementary studies at the Polytechnic and at the Faculty of Economics, where he embraced an education in computerized industrial methodologies with administrative techniques for product development. In Finland, Eduardo studied as a post graduate at the Business School, and Computer Sciences and Product Design Management at the University of Industrial Arts in Helsinki, where he hasn't left a stone unturned in the arts: bringing to Scandinavia the insights from Brazilian folklore and the history of art that he had learned in Italy.
"In Brazil, a person has a job in the morning, another job in the afternoon, a university preparation study at night and we still have a look in a bar to see who is playing before we go home. That ‘mañana’ stereotype about Latin people doesn't really work for most Brazilians I know. In Europe, life is different and many people have difficulty in believing that young Brazilians work so hard and do so many things: that besides an academic life there's still space for music, culture and fun. My friend Anthony is the same thing: he is the head of British literature at the University of Oulu and divides his time in order to create a balanced and productive life that is dedicated to writing, teaching, performing and friendship. That is quite Brazilian..."

Eduardo also became known in Finland as an actor in a MTV3 television serial named "Lämminveriset" ("Thoroughbred") as well as being a creative industrial designer, successfully achieving patent approvals in the mobile phone industry and for other products. He also weathered two periods of the Finnish economy in which many people (including himself) rose and fell with the waves of the international economics. In each country where Eduardo has stayed he has helped his studies costs by playing Brazilian music. In Italy, Eduardo studied also Gregorian chant, breathing, and vocal techniques with professionals at "La Scala di Milano", near its Fine Arts Academy. It was in this period that he started to experiment with different phonetic and linguistic approaches to singing, creating, en route, his own distinctively chromatic vocal style.
"I love Italy, its culture and the love that people gave to me in the same way as I love Brazil, with its unique cultural mix and historical roots. I do think, however, that I developed a new attitude to the idea of nationality by the perfect matching I got working with music in Spain, France and naturally my family roots in Portugal. In a concert in Helsinki, we had about 100 university exchange students from all over Europe trying to climb on the stage and dance with the band: we felt as if we were in Brazil... and outside the theatre, it was about 32 degrees below zero..."

When Eduardo studied Picasso's art in Italy, many of his musical ideas started to assume an interesting shape. While he was at the Fine Arts Academy of Milan, Eduardo studied African percussion, the construction of African instruments and its Brazilian variations. Eduardo’s major source of percussion inspiration is Nana Vasconcelos.
"One of my dreams is to go to Africa to learn more and collect ideas in order to produce more music. The everyday music we all listen on the radio has more African roots than one can imagine. Blues, jazz, funk, bossa, techno are some of the everyday styles which have direct links to African percussion. In modern art, too, one can find many references to African culture."
In Finland, Eduardo met and currently works with many artists from different professional arts. One of them is Kaj Stenvall, nowadays an internationally known Finnish painter, famous for his painting of ducks endowed with the personalities of portraits by the grand masters. When Stenvall listened to Brazilian Aeroplane’s music, he made an exception to his usual subject matter and painted a very special "parrot" for the cover of the CD. This marked an important moment in the artist’s work: a further gesture in the direction of internationalization coherence, a movement towards brotherhood through art. The "Brazilian Aeroplane" project is also set as artist curator to bring Kaj Stenvall’s work to major art museums in Brazil and Europe, supported by musical entertainment and art seminars.


The
Band,
Eduardo
&
Toninho

Eduardo originally created his "Brazilian Aeroplane" as a small Brazilian popular music and chorinho style in a part of São Paulo called Bixiga. When Eduardo went to study in Italy, he brought the idea of "travelling with music", forming and reforming his band with the same name in every country he visited. In Finland, besides a top class team of local musicians and passionate Brazilian music players, Eduardo met his "right arm" Anthony Johnson, also called "Toninho", a renaissance man with many artistic talents (as well as being a professor at Oulu University). Eduardo and Toninho rapidly became famous as a duo at the city of Turku, melting the Finnish ice to the sound of classic bossa nova with a stylish British accent. Returning from one of his trips to England, Anthony brought back a series of books about Brazilian percussion, CDs of Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Djavan, Milton Nascimento, João Bosco, Lobão and Rita Lee, and loads of other Brazilians. Toninho then started to play his violin with the shadings of Brazilian nordeste music, Bahian melodies, adding here and there a twist of Pat Matheny, Irish folk music, sweet waves of the Beatles: blending them all into his own wonderful style. For his birthday, Eduardo gave Toninho a cavaquinho, the Brazilian four-stringed guitar, in the confidence that, in this way, he would get closer to the chorinho (Brazilian blues) tunes. Indeed, that was what Toninho did, but from the right door: the Portuguese fado. Although, however, Eduardo's and Toninho's work is a mosaic of massive cultural research, their project is much more focused on entertainment, leaving aside its intellectual labels in order to concentrate on popular enjoyment and their own fun with music.
"Toninho plays cavaquinho with the heart of a Portuguese musician performing a fado, he arranges music on his violin and exports it to guitar, drums, and the saxophone. He arranges the parts for each musician of the band, tailoring them to the musician's personality and playing style. The music is still Brazilian, but something else is also developing. If is as if we have the opportunity to find really new ways of playing music, moving outward from and then back towards tradition so dynamically that another type of music starts popping out. The Telepatia album is beautiful team work, but thanks to Toninho it has already become, for many, a collector's item."


Piracy!

"Hi Edu! Man this album came great! I just got it from a friend and copying it on my laptop, I will burn a CD just for myself right now! A big hug from Helsinki and GOOD LUCK! " This is a real email that Eduardo got from a "friend" in Finland, a big fan of his band, as soon as the album hit the shops.
"In our album I try to approach the piracy problem. I realized that many people don't like the COVERS of the various CDs of different bands in the shops. Some people see CD packages as meaningless containers. Instead of becoming polemical about it, I work on my own contribution to a possible solution for the problem: to make of a CD which is also a design object, something that people want to own – an authentic, original item."
With the same passion that he art-directed each step of the project, Eduardo put his creativity and product development experience to work and included one more value in its multi-cultural equation:
"There's a great deal of ignorance about the consequences of pirating a CD. The temptation to burn down is great and it places the work of the artist beloved by a fan in treacherous waters because, while piracy empowers the music and musician through the assertion of popularity, it weakens his strength and support from the music industry. Artists and the music industry are married, both must be happy so that more music can be made. There are bands that earn their living mainly by giving concerts, others through rights from radio/tv broadcasts or other types of media promotion, but for most bands – as if the case for Brazilian Aeroplane’s current project – it is necessary for people to purchase our CD so that the whole project is strengthened. Putting myself in the position of those who are tempted to copy one of our songs from internet, I try to see other sides of the situation. What do I do with the cover? What if I like most of the tracks on an album but the cover of the CD, for instance, is absolutely un-interesting or in my opinion ugly? The answer, of course, is to put a great deal of effort into making sure that the CD has a cover which can also become a part of Finnish art history, and with this in mind I figured that the best possible way of generating more than a CD with good music would be to create a design object that people would like to collect. The principle was explained to Kaj Stenvall, the most popular Finnish painter in the last 20 years, and he shared my opinion. Immediately liking the idea, he painted us a cover that is rich in symbolist and cross-cultural combinations. So, the result was really achieved and the sales in Finland where extremely good."
Over the last two decades, Kaj Stenvall’s work has flourished in Finland. This artist has also rapidly achieved a phenomenal popularity in Europe. Stenvall paints his trademark "duck" figures in an extremely classical manner. His post-modern personifications of this subject act in many ways as a mirror to many aspects of life and and they often capture aspects of the personalities, not to mention the paradoxes, of contemporary people. As already mentioned, on Brazilian Aeroplane’s Telepatia CD, Stenvall conceived of an idiosyncratically Brazilian parrot, the only exception to his rigid rule of staying with the "duck" thematic of his other work. This stands on cover for the album as an icon of cultural brotherhood; but the cover can also be folded out to reveal the same image (this time, full size!) in its own right as a wonderful poster.
"The mission in Finland has been accomplished. Finnish people loved the music and the idea. The album managed to be the number 8 among the most sold 10 hits from whole world in the Stockmann shops, the most popular shopping chain in Finland. Now I hope that Brazilian people will like it as well. We will release it there in February 2004. Imagine – Karjalainen in Portuguese, Stenvall in Amazonic, Djavan in Finnish..."


Travelling
with
music

Eduardo believes that much more Brazilian musicians should have more channels to direct its work also abroad so Brazilian music could empower its exports, he want to make his part in it using the successful Swedish music industry as a reference point.
"Brazilian music styles are more in varieties than the Brazilians themselves can know its existence in full. That also means that there's low risk that people in Europe, USA or abroad in general would get bored by listening to similar shades of music. There's cultural and musical material from Brazil to be divulged for decades to come without repeating the styles, and also, as the process evolve, the variations can enlarge enormously the novelty, year by year. One example, among many, is the "Lambada" of Kaoma: the style of dance and music where known in Brazil long before it exploded as a hit on the radios of the world. The original song was in reality a popular tune from Bolivia that where re-arranged on the Brazilian style. In Brazilian music, one may have the impression that the more it is mixed with foreign styles, the more it becomes even more Brazilian...
Travelling with music:
"In Brazil we have 178 million people that born and grow with music. I can easily imagine success abroad with other music styles as maxixe, chachado, baião e gafieira becoming versions of "dance", "drum & bass", "house", "techno" and electronic music. As "Telepatia" album will be in Brazil, I will once more make my best to meet people working in music and make the Aeroplane land back again abroad, bring people and music from Brazil, in Europe, loaded with even more love for music and music to love.