Under the city of São Paulo last week, Red Bull Sounderground united the 20 participants of the 1st International Metro Musicians Festival in a special jam session to close the week’s agenda. A metro station called Paradise was the place to be.
The musicians spiced up the routine of around 3.5 million subway passengers each day through the course of one week. At the end, the 20 international acts participating in Red Bull Sounderground - 1st International Metro Musicians Festival - got together last Friday, November 12, in a special jam session under one of the most famous landmarks of São Paulo: Paulista Avenue. Below the chaos and the traffic upstairs, the musicians delighted approximately 4,000 commuters in a two-hour presentation.
When recounting their impressions of this unique experience, all the musicians mentioned the Brazilian public in a very special way. “During the week, I saw people who stayed there, watching us playing until the end of the presentation,” said Michael Ray from London’s The Nomadic Mystics. “They didn’t leave and wanted more music. Absolutely amazing!”
“The people were amazing, so warm and kind. Just 15 minutes after starting, there were 100 people around us." -Shayne Gryn
The show was divided into three parts, with individual and short sets for each solo, duo and trio. The first part brought rhythms such as the parisienne tango of Kutner and Koç, jazz, the 1920s ragtime from New York duo The Xylopholks and the folkloric music of Anatol Eremciuc, straight from the Barcelona metro stations. “Here, people interact more with us,” said Anatol.
The second part had more pop, R&B, a touch of opera from New York’s Tribal Baroque, and traditional Brazilian music with Vibrafone Chorão and Duo Benetiz, both from São Paulo. The guitars from Montreal, represented by O’Connor and Gryn, and the voice of Nadezda Gritzke, from Moscow’s Bloody Red Sombreros, pleased the crowd in front of the stage and throughout the station.
It was time for some fun too, with Mellow and Pyro, from Berlin. In a green and yellow visual - just like the Brazilian flag - the German musicians played, danced, sang and also showed some ability with knives…
The third part brought some rock ’n’ roll with the one-man-band from London, Lewis Floyd Henry - who plays guitar with his hands, chin and arms, and a little drum with his feet - and the powerful noise of Joe Volume from Mexico City. Akil Dasan gave a new beat to some of Michael Jackson’s classics and brought a NYC mood to the São Paulo underground.
At the end, all the musicians sang The Beatles’ “All you Need is Love” together, along with the company of the voices in the crowd. Good music and great vibes changed the commuters’ daily routine for the better.
Some other musician’s impressions:
“I will always remember the kids. As in New York City, they stopped to watch us here, too. It was funny to see the children begging their parents to stay with us a few moments.” –Jon Singer, The Xylopholks, NYC (pictured below)
“The festival reminded me of my time as a busker in the beginning of my career. I took a train to my past during this week here; awesome!” -Joe Volume, Mexico City
“We got here with no idea about what will happen. Now, we go back home missing everything, especially the people, who enjoyed so much to be with us.” -Mellow and Pyro, Berlin
“The people were amazing, so warm and kind. Just 15 minutes after starting, there were 100 people around us. I will never forget this, the city of Sao Paulo and the delicious coffee of this country.” -Shayne Gryn, O’Connor and Gryn, Montreal
“Fantastic festival, great people; it was so cool to see people dancing and enjoying each minute.” -Kutner and Koç, Paris
“It was a unique experience because it’s hard to play in the metro system of Moscow. Here, we could be very close to the public, interact with them immediately; it was great to play inside metro stations.” -Evgeny Petrov, Bloody Red Sombreros, Moscow
“It was an experience totally different from our reality, to play in metro stations. We are used to nightclubs, shows… Very unique these days under the city. It didn’t seem [to be] work - it was fun! I had a lot of fun during the festival; unforgettable.” -Carlos Maga, Les Maga, São Paulo
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