real real - Bruno Capinan - Progress Festival

Bruno Capinan_by Filipe Catto

Bruno Capinan_by Filipe Catto

Special blog post by Kristyn Gelfand

Last fall, when we were approached by Laura Nanni, Artistic and Managing Director of SummerWorks Performance Festival, about curating a performance as part of the 2019 edition of Progress, we knew right away that we wanted to work with Bruno Capinan. This was in November 2018, in the time right after the right-wing extremist Jair Bolsonaro was elected as president of Brazil. Capinan had just published a widely distributed OpEd in The Globe & Mail titled “In Jair Bolsonaro, we are seeing a truer reflection of what Brazil really is”. The piece is gut wrenching and eye opening, detailing some of his story as a young, gay, Afro-Brazilian growing up without acceptance and eventually fleeing to Canada as a refugee.Now… we’ve known Bruno both personally and professionally for many years. In fact, Uma Nota has worked with him a number of times in the past, in both his solo project and during his time as lead singer of Mar Aberto Soundsystem. Most recently we booked him as the opening act for our sold out concert with Liniker e os Caramelows last July. His unique voice and style have been intriguing to us both on and off stage. But this article, with it’s glimpse into his personal history and politics made us want to delve deeper into his performance as an act of creative resistance in the face of rising populism, both in Brazil and here in Canada.As it happens, Capinan was in the final stages of recording his upcoming album ‘real’, and was eager to give Toronto audiences a first listen, so our presentation of ‘real real’ was born. We teamed up with VJ Notivago (currently on tour in Brazil doing video for Anitta!), to create original video for the show tying in some of the themes that he explores in his music and through his own narrative.Bruno will be performing with João Leão (synth and guitar) and a three piece string section featuring Tanya Charles (violin), Mariel Gonzalez (cello), and Brielle Goheen (viola). The show plays one night only, Saturday February 16th at The Theatre Centre as part of the fourth edition of Progress, an international festival of performance and ideas that brings together progressive performance work from across the globe and expands the conversation around possibilities for performance and form. A bit more about Progress...Innovative in its programming model, Progress is collectively curated. Abandoning the traditional notion of singular, top-down artistic direction, the Festival brings together a different collection of curatorial partner organizations each year, enabling a diversity of perspective and representation that reflects the complexity and diversity of contemporary society. 2019 curatorial partners partners include the red light district, Native Earth Performing Arts, Uma Nota Culture, The Power Plant, FADO Performance Art Centre, SummerWorks Performance Festival, The Theatre Centre, and Why Not Theatre.Uma Nota will also be partnering with Progress on the festival’s closing party. The party starts at 10 (right after real real), at The Theatre Centre and features DJ Hadara (formerly J.Lai), and a live performance from Toronto’s best hidden secret, Nego Mozambique. We’ve been wanting to hear some new music from Nego Mozambique for a while now!! This party is free and not-to-be-missed. Stay tuned here for more on the party later this week!Tickets: $25To learn more.. Check out this interview in yohomo with Zymbul Fkara.

Maracatu You! Ritual in Theatre


We don’t normally delve into the world of theatre but this foray is entirely related to our extended community, our musical roots, and indeed part of the history of Uma Nota, Toronto and yours truly. In late 2002 I brought the city’s first alfaia (maracatu bass drum) from Brazil and began teaching a few individuals how to play maracatu rhythms in Riverdale Park West.
Not long after, Aline Morales touched down in Toronto and we proceeded to form Maracatu Nunca Antes, North America’s first maracatu. From there the story goes, and suffice to say (and proudly say) that the impact of the group was a great one for many people. Now that impact is being manifested on the stage for the first time in Canada in Maracatu You! as part of this year's SummerWorks theatre festival in Toronto. It is not to be missed.
The initiative for this project came from Suzanne Roberts Smith, a theatre artist whose experience in Maracatu dates back to the original Nunca Antes crew and who was NOW Magazine’s Fringe 2013 choice for Outstanding Performance & Production for her one-woman show Offensive to Some. Suzanne leads the creative process, acting as playwright, director, and producer, while the cast contributes their own stories and monologues about how they found maracatu and what it means and represents to them.The superbly magical Aline Morales is the musical director. Brazilian contemporary dancer Amanda Paixão and Candomblé priestess Lucia de Xangô are also featured, alongside members of percussion ensembles  Maracatu Baque de Bamba and Maracatu Mar Aberto (the two inheritors of the Nunca Antes legacy).
This goes down on stage at the stunning new Theatre Centre (formerly the Carnegie Library), a unique location for a "different kind" of theatre piece, one with a cast of mostly non-theatre professionals and which attempts to deal with some highly charged issue of modernity in a traditional cultural manifestation. This represents a delicate balance between joy, history, spirituality, redemption, and liberation, all calibrated with the inherent problems of privilege, identity, colonialism, and modernity. Let’s see how it "plays" out!


Maracatu You! is a show that anyone who loves music- or anyone who calls themselves a citizen of Toronto or the world- must see, because it tells the story of finding hope and salvation through art and community,” says Lani Milstein,  ethnomusicologist and theatre producer who is also a featured performer in the show.
“It’s full of soul-blasting music, haunting dance, powerful ritual, and true stories from right here in Toronto. We can’t wait to show audiences how a truly diverse group- bankers, lawyers, civil servants, teachers- from literally all over the world, have formed a Toronto family by celebrating a ritual that stems from a 17th-Century carnival tradition from Northeastern Brazil.”

fullMaracatu You! opens Saturday August 9th and runs until August 17th. For more info, times and tickets visit the Facebook event page. To donate to the project and help support the lovely cast and crew be sure to check out their indiegogo campaign. Also check out the video below. Although the music is more from the ijexá rhythm and afoxé line rather than maracatu, they are related, the video is truly inspiring and you can feel the magic that is sure to come out in the performance. For more info on maracatu, check this ethnography.