This video was created to accompany a photography exhibition in December 2006. I am currently fundraising for a follow up project here, the 2013 instalment, same people same places 8 years on: pozible.com/livinginthemiddle

Viver No Meio Do Barulho/Living in the Middle of the Noise

During September and October of 2006, I spent time accompanying young members of Grupo Cultural AfroReggae documenting their activity and environment. Many people know of Banda AfroReggae’s exciting stage performances but the focus here was on the lives and activities of AfroReggae’s community life.

The title, Viver no Meio do Barulho (Living in the middle of the noise), is taken from lyrics of a samba song written and performed by young members of AfroReggae‘s sub group AfroSamba. It speaks of young life interrupted by chaos but lived with courage, finding a way between the barrage of gunshots and drums. Before AfroReggae arrived, there was only gunshot, and in the 14 years since, they have been working tirelessly to replace the guns with drums. AfroReggae is not just Banda AfroReggae a group of talented musicians; it is a protective, nurturing and powerful framework that operates within a complex and harsh reality. Now that young people in these communities have another choice, their challenge is to develop their skills and sense of positive, culturally aware self-identity. In a climate of constant threat of violence, to me these young people display an immense love of life, courage, wisdom, and straight-up talent.

AfroReggae, while continually breaking boundaries of perception and possibility, maintains a unique powerful and sensitive position in the territory of bringing about changes in ignorance, poverty, and racism.

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