Friday, 23 November 2007

Professor Hovhanness I. Pilikian on Exceptional Music Concerts

First Festival of Brazilian Music in London [i]
at Venezuela’s Bolivar Hall


Something new is forging ahead in Brazil. An amalgam of new socio-political creative forces is in the fore – a brand new bossa nova (= new wave) forming in Chavezian Venezuela is engulfing South America. It needs a new form of art-criticism. This is an attempt at such.
It is no more possible to sit back in a genteel concert-hall and pontificate rigidly and frigidly upon a worn-out interpretation of a Beethoven Sonata, even if it were The Appassionata.
Mono-instrumental virtuosity in the classical West shall have to live cheek-by-jowl now with multi-layered polymathic musicianship; the new master music-makers of bursting multi-ethnic cultures are polymath instrumentalists.


Socio-political Meditations
For a country (Brazil) half the size of a whole continent (South America), and the 9th largest economy in the world, to have its very … 1st Music Festival concert in London is “passing strange” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet would have it …
We should really have celebrated by now a Golden jubilee of Brazilian Art-festivals, not its first. The classically minded Armenians say ush lini - anush lini = let it be late, but only if it be sweet! The equivalent in Portuguese of mais vale tarde que nunca = but better late than never!
Still, the fact needs a theoretical explanation which led me to a series of meditative thoughts –
Brazil possesses a miraculous wealth of (not only Gold and industrial raw materials – the target of the Miami-mafia driven corrupt politicians in US pockets) but also the rich tapestries of multi-ethnic cultures, all interweaving as powerfully as the electrically charged neurons of the active human brain.
There is nothing on this earth like the country of Brazil.

It contains the largest population of Black people outside Africa, and the largest Diaspora of Japanese people, in addition to pre-literate groups of people (still referred to as ‘primitive’ by some) – known (like the Yanomami and the Piraha), and still unknown hunter-gatherers in the Amazon rainforests, which are truly the lungs of this planet Earth – its destruction is everybody’s business, and not only the despicable ranchers of the Brazilian political elite flushing them down the Hamburger guts of the American toilets.
Replenishing the devastated rainforests of Brasilia must be crucial in the global fight to save our lives on this planet.

If the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva meant every word he uttered at the Plenary Session in New York of the 61st United Nations General Assembly (on 19th September 2006, and I urge you to read it)
then the rest of us in the world must feel grateful to the Brazilian people for the collective wisdom of electing him as their president (only last year) for a 2nd term of office. Lula da Silva seems to be the first incorruptible President of Brazil, without any strings attached to US / CIA government-puppets.
Unfortunately, President Lula and his supporters in the world, have no time to waste, neither the world can afford to wait – he better quicken his Nelson Mandela-type evolutionary laid-back rhythm and join forces with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez to affect true Bolivarian revolutionary changes in the world, towards the realization of the 3 simple principles of, not Marxism, but … the French Revolution that still have the power to save life on earth from Climate Change;
Egalité= Social Equality

Fraternité = Brother-and-Sisterhood of man-and-womankind that leads to social mobility, the corner-stone of Meritocracy as the post-modern paradigm of the social structure overriding skin-colour and class-stratification

Liberté = Freedom, as a fundamental and vital human right, and not a luxury given by post-modern slave-mongers like the ex-imperialist governments of the West.

The whole of South America needs to be liberated from the economic strangulation of the United States governments.

See what the latter are doing (still!) to miniscule Cuba – subjugating it for 4 decades now to economic genocide they call it ‘Sanctions’, while simultaneously trying to explode Fidel Castro’s … beard!
Fidel Castro is Simon Bolivar re-incarnate, and he shall be heeded to by the masses of the poor at all times even after his unthinkable natural demise.
Yes, incredibly, the whole of South America had been enslaved by the American governments since the end of the First World War in vicious replication of the Spanish and Portuguese imperialisms, in envious competition with the British Empire and the latter’s ‘ownership’ of India, Australia, and most of Africa.
Cuba, pre-Castro was a Mafia-brothel for the Miami rich. The genocidal US economic sanctions against Castro’s Cuba are the shame of the UN subservience to the US. Little Cuba shall remain America’s Achilles Heel, until the gangrenous legs of the North American giant are amputated by the likes of Hugo Chavez (Bolivarian President of Venezuela) and Evo Morales (‘Red Indian’ President of Bolivia) and hopefully Lula da Silva (The Trade Unionist shoe-shine President of Brasilia).

Corrupt Politicians and their Culture
What is a "corrupt politician"? Simple really – s/he is a brazen compulsive Liar of the first magnitude.
The great William Shakespeare had defined it perfectly in Hamlet’s words referring to his murderous uncle – “one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” – a very American marketing definition indeed … And their culture?
Corrupt politicians are philistine swine – their genocidal culture is that of Las Vegas money- launderers; Prostitution and Drugs.
And Brazil until last year had god’s plenty of them – As late as the 1990s, special Police death-squads were formed in Rio de Janeiro shooting parentless homeless street-children dead, as a means of cleaning up the city… while the Creole ranchers stuffed North American gullets with hamburgers, and luscious Black Brazilian women escorts, with the most incredibly beautiful African Bottoms became the www porno Queens of the world wide web.

Brazil needed and found its first kosher president (in Lula da Silva) to mine for (to use trendy Business-discourse) and dig the priceless riches of its true creative culture – no wonder then the joint enterprise with the Chavezian Venezuelans involved with similar efforts manifest at the Bolivarian Hall in London, where all concerts are FREE.

I am hoping that the day shall come (very soon?) when the 3-day Brazilian Music Festival evolves into a month-long Festival of multi-ethnic culture, where else but in multi-ethnic London.

I would love to hear one day (for example) Os Escravos (= The Slaves), spoken by the great humanitarian British Shakespearean actor Paul Scofield; written in 1883, by Antonio De Castro Alves, famous in his own time (and ahead of the British Abolitionists … ) as the “poet of the slaves”. There is nothing like it in Britain’s abolitionist culture, nor anything like Tiradentes (1746-1792), a hero of the Brazilian Republicanism, who planned a University, and modern … social services once rid of Portuguese imperialism.
If the Portuguese imperialist genociders had not hanged and quartered Tiradentes (=tooth-puller=dentist) in public in Rio de Janeiro (April 1792), he may have created the world’s first National Health Service; and the unacceptable inhumanity of the shanty towns (the notorious favelas) may never have arisen.

Musical Meditations on Culture

Superficially, people I know identify Brazilian music with Copacabana Beach-belles sexualized for the delectation of the Miami American impotent millionaires and their mafia gamblers. Everyone of my generation would have heard the catchy tune of the beach-y song Besame Mucho (=Kiss me! A lot!), performed from Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Charles Aznavour down to Placido Domingo and … the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The No 1 hit was not even Brazilian, but Mexican, if such typicality could be claimed, as the song was one of the first cases of world music – easy on the ears, non-descript light music canned for the bored receptionists of posh hotels throughout the Western world dreaming of Copacabana beach romance.
The beautifully named Consuelo Velazquez, a Mexican teenager had written it (in 1940) before turning 16 herself – critics were surprised to discover that she had not been kissed by then … when in fact precisely because she had not, that she wanted it passionately in her song! The more interesting point is that she was inspired by an aria in a Spanish opera by Enrique Granados. I myself think Besame’s popularity may be owed to the sunny flavour of the Italian Neapolitan songs popularized by Mario Lanza.
There cannot be a soul in the world who has not heard of the Rio Carnival, and the African originated, percussion-dominated people’s samba (imitated annually in London’s Notting Hill Gate). Samba-s were possession-dances, noticeable even in the jerky movements of their much diluted Ballroom dancing versions – what the BBC punters think are modern sexy teases. Various bateria (=drums) manifest the complex wide-and-wild ranging fertility rhythms of different gods in Nature.
The Argentinean originated tango on the other hand, that outraged the puritanical hypocrisies of the 1912 United States when first introduced there, is grounded in a complex combination of ‘taking’ inventive variations of long steps and instant postures – very Spanish 16th century aristocratic peacocks … enhanced by syncopated dotted rhythms (of 2/4 and 4/4) rooted in the … Cuban habanera.
The history of the Iberian Peninsula is complex - long before the Spaniards and Portuguese formed as separate ethnic nations, the Muslim Moors owned it - and their historical record is just being re-discovered, after a deliberate loss by the Christian genociders from France.
The Spanish ruling Arsitocracy treated the Portuguese as their lower orders - this historical fact can be detected in their subsequent linguistic fossils - the Spanish language imitated the delicate soft phonemes of the French aristocracy, while the Portuguese pronounciation is soaked in 'roughage', further rough-ed up in the colonies of Brazil. However much the Portuguese patriots may disagree, I must say that historically speaking, the Portugese language may be a dialect of the Spanish language.
Borrowing a linguistic metaphor, I would further suggest that musically the Argentinean tango is a Dialect of the Brazilian samba (no offence meant to Argentinean patriots!).

It is impossible not to think of many South American musical forms simultaneously, when thinking of the Brazilian samba, tango, candomble, maxixe, choro etc., of the fact that South America is really a whole hot world on its own, needs to unite as a federative Union – just as the Brazilian civil state itself is constituted – to release its immense, boiling and bubbling multi-cultural creativity, by liberating itself first of all from the North American economic domination, I call the Slavery to the US.

With Gilberto Gil now as President Lula’s Minister of Culture, a Black musician to his core – and I do intend a pun on the Spanish corazon = heart, spirit – once imprisoned by one of those endless vicious CIA-trained Brazilian military juntas – Gil had escaped to London to save his Caribbean skin … now back in Brazil, and in power, one hopes he can initiate a resurgence of Brazilian multi-ethnic culture as a whole, and not only of its mystical music.

O How I long to hear the likes of Bachianas Brasileiras by the incomparable (and prolific – he produced 2,000 works) Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), without whose very existence the unique Frenchman Jacques Loussier’s glorious jazzed-up Bach would not have been born.

With such thoughts in mind, swimmingly in a stream of consiousness - onto the First Night of the First Brazilian Music Festival in London, at Venzuela’s Bolivar Hall;

1 November, 2007, 7.30 pm. [to be cont.]

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