(There are no photos of the young people or the streets of Cabelo Seco because Dan and Mano have set clear rules to avoid any suspicion of exploitation in any way. He, however, is trusted to photo the sessions and the young people and has their consent so we will have some to share on our return which we will have had approved by them and their families. There is deep suspicion of child exploitation, prostitution and abuse as Brazil is one of the worst countries in the world for this.)
Waking to run a session with Caroline and Camila to help them find their voices and start the conversation about being young singing leaders. I have brought along the Sing Up book on YSL. It is a great little document and I use it to base a session on. I will follow it up later in the week. I start to learn the songs and understand their voices and the way that they approach their singing and songs. Then the percussionists arrive and we look at a few of the other songs and wait for Zequinha to come with his guitar. He is nearly 60 and a great singer, songwriter and band leader. He has been the mentor for the Latinhas and has been a key mediator/collaborator for them here in the favela. He is getting tired and depressed by the general troubles in the community and the outside pressures that are damaging everything here. However he brings good energy and the young people love his musicality and the session grows and grows.
The Orla in the sun
After a delicious lunch at home me and Kathryn go for an extended walk in the sun along the seafront past the life going on there. So many swimmers, people playing in boats, listening to loud loud sound systems in the backs of cars and sitting in bars watching the football.
We chat and reflect and soak in the sun and then head back. I dive in on the way. The current is so strong I nearly get swept away. I swim hard back to cling onto the railings. Wah ! Danger danger !
Playing and Learning
I have a session with Zequinha to prepare for the presentation in the school but also just to have a bit of fun with him. We play Girl from Ipanema, Pretty Africa, Besame Mucho, Summertime, Guantanamera and And I love her ! Then slowly the band arrives and we work on the songs and remember them. There is a set of 10 or so songs made with him over the last year and they are beautiful and played with real feel. Then some of the dancers dance along and the movement is truly inspiring. Totally natural with body and feet. We feel privileged to be in their presence and watch and listen. To see young women in such a focussed musicmaking is really lovely and inspiring. Later we go to street side food stall and eat shrimp soup before walking home in the torrential rain.