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.
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
"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
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?
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."
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 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
"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.
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.
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."
"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
"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..."
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
"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.