By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Local NGO (non-profit) Favela Brass will start its own Carnival celebrations this year, with a performance on Praia do Flamengo this Saturday morning, January 28th. The recital will begin at 9AM next to Posto 2, and parade along Flamengo until 11:30 AM.
The children who make up Favela Brass will perform a selection of musical numbers for their audience, but the event differentiates itself from Rio’s traditional Carnival parades, with a jazz focus instead of the traditional samba rhythms of Carnival.
Children performing will showcase a rare performance of the ‘second line’ style of New Orleans jazz, giving the audience the chance to participate by walking and dancing alongside the musicians as they parade. Second Line participants often wave umbrellas or handkerchiefs as props while they walk or dance.
Favela Brass was founded in 2014 by brass musician and British expatriate in Rio, Tom Ashe, who first visited Rio in 2008. After learning that Rio’s children, unlike those in the UK or U.S., do not have the same opportunities to access a musical education, Ashe decided to launch his own non-profit.
“It’s really great that our kids are having some kind of a participation in Carnival, because the whole point of the project is that kids from poorer areas don’t get access to quality musical education and they don’t get the chance to play wind instruments,” Ashe told The Rio Times.
Today, Favela Brass is based in the small community of Pereirão, between Laranjeiras and Santa Teresa. The NGO has over forty children and young adults, who learn how to play with lessons from volunteer teachers and donated brass instruments, both of which Ashe describes as otherwise “prohibitively expensive”.
For Ashe, children’s participation in the city’s Carnival celebrations gives them a chance to show off their dedication and talent, as well as allowing them to participate in the festivities.
“I think this show in Flamengo is important because when the kids play in front of people, they really enjoy it and they worked hard getting the show together,” Ashe continued. “We want them to experience how great it is to play music for people and to be appreciated by the crowd.”
What: Primeiro Grito de Carnaval da Favela Brass
When: Saturday, January 28th, 9AM – 11:30 AM
Where: Posto 2, Praia do Flamengo