We were brought to Salvador, Brazil by the JCPM institute, to create music with the young people they engage with from disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
Learn on this song making experience here:
JCPM provide after school programs for young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods around Brazil, giving support and training in key skills such as English, Information Technology and Maths. These are essential life skills and are also important for to equip the young people for entering the job market.
Part of JCPM's programming also includes extra curricular activities such as art and music to provide some extra soul to their program. This is why were were brought on and also to create great songs and videos for the young people involved and the organisation.
We proposed a two day program with the group of 30 young people from Salvador. There was so much talent and stardust in the group, a standard four hour workshop would not be enough to let them shine.
This song was created entirely by the young people of Salvador: their stories, their sounds, their dance.
Salvador is famous for its Samba Reggae. The group drew on their love of this genre and laid down a Samba Reggae beat, but also brought in a Hip Hop beat using drums and body percussion.
Stories were shared about experiences of selfless service - we asked the group to recount stories in their life where they have given to others without expecting anything in return. This theme was chosen because the issue of charity came up in talking with the group. It is in fact a much discussed topic in Brazil where the disadvantaged are often given assistance (financial or otherwise) by the more wealthy and advantaged in society - this scenario inevitably raises many questions such as the motives for giving charity and the socio-economic structure that supports this type of giving.
A great discussion ensued with many perspectives shared. Incredible stories were also told and transcribed. The words that were transcribed were used to form the lyrics for the song of which the group took great energy and effort to perfect. Some of the participants such as Taynara, Bianca and Marianne, even stayed after day 1 of the workshop to complete the lyrics. Some really talented poets and lyricists in this group.
Once the lyrics were written, Lubisco, the JCPM program co-ordinator took the spot light by bringing out his guitar and laying down a sweet Samba Reggae chord progression!
When it came to sound making, we formed a circle and the group were taught circle singing. They split into four sections: bass, tenor, alto and saprano with each section improvising a different vocal part and then singing their parts all together. The group brought in some melodies from their favorite Salvador songs, improvised body percussion and also brought in their own improvised vocal patterns!
Once we had recorded the beat, the guitar line and the circle song, the group was then split into four with each group finding their own way to perform their verse and one group dedicated to creating the chorus.
Special credit must go to the girls who created the chorus!
Each verse was recorded the entire group came together to perform the chorus!
It was sad to say goodbye to eachother - we came through a lot in those two days. We were all left feeling that we should come back together again to perform the song and to write more songs!!