The best underground musicians are tuned up and ready to play their part in Red Bull Sounderground. The week-long festival kicks off on Monday with all 10 venues having one thing in common: they are all part of São Paulo’s subway network.
Millions of people from Buenos Aires to Beijing start their week with a journey to work on a crowded underground train. High-flying businessmen rub shoulders with blue collar heroes, coming together on the arteries which keep every metropolis running smoothly.
The soundtrack which echoes through the tunnels of major cities across the world is provided by buskers, and it is these musicians who take center stage at Red Bull Sounderground.
All 20 acts are already in Brazil and ready to breathe new life into the bowels of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest city. All the songsters featuring in the festival have been handpicked on account of their originality, creativity and charm.
There’s Anatol Eremciuc and his accordion all the way from Moldova, via Metro de Barcelona. Also on the scene are the Russian trio Dmitry Dyskho, Evgeny Petrov and Nadezda Gritzke, better known on the Moskovsky Metropoliten as Bloody Red Sombreros.
Elsewhere in the mix are acoustic Afro-Reggae outfit The Nomadic Mystics from the London Underground, The Xylopholks, who play their ragtime numbers on the New York City Metro, plus a carriage load of innovative international artists who have taken the train to São Paulo.
There’s also Brazilian representation in the line-up, with 10 groups of natives ready to go toe-to-tapping-toe with the best buskers on the planet. The locals on the bill include Vibrafone Chorão, a trio specializing in choro music, and Rafael Masgrau, who also provides the powerchords behind the Brazilian Monkeys.
All the musicians will be in action on Monday, November 8 as Red Bull Sounderground, aka the first International Metro Musicians Festival, strikes up the first tune.
The performances will continue on the platforms of the Blue, Green and Red lines of the São Paulo subway network until the festival closes with a jam session featuring all 20 acts on Friday, November 12 at Sé Station.
The idea behind Red Bull Sounderground was hatched last year as Brazilian Marcelo Beraldo went on a trip around the world. For the first stop of his tour he headed to New York and an immediate obsession with the music scene on the Big Apple’s metro began.
During his visits to London, Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon, Moscow, Hong Kong and Shanghai and other cities of the world, he spent more time with subterranean songwriters. The more Marcelo learned about the busking world, the more benefits he found.
“During my trip, I spoke to managers of underground stations in several cities. According to them, the public likes listening to music while they wait for the train, it even gives them a feeling of safety."
As soon as Marcelo returned home he started organizing Red Bull Sounderground; one person who was quick to get on board was São Paulo subway employee Aluízio Gibson.
“I love the plan of a festival that aims to offer intimate performances, allowing a closer contact between artist and audience. When we tested out the idea with musicians in our stations what we saw was great appreciation for great music.”
From a musician's point of view there is no better way to get your music heard – 4.5 million people use the NYC metro every day and new tracks mean an estimated 10 million will be using the São Paulo subway network each day by 2014.
It seems São Paulo is the place to be to get the latest sounds coming from the underground scene, so join us for Red Bull Sounderground.
- An inside look at New York's subway music
- Marcelo Beraldo interview
- More music from the World of Red Bull