So that’s it. I’m home in Bonnie Scotland. As I spend 24 hours (due to delays) journeying back home, I have plenty of time to reflect on my travels.
So what have I learned about Brazil?
– Brazilians LOVE sugar.
– Tea with milk is unheard of and people look at you oddly when you order this.
– Caipirinhas are lethal.
– What Paulistas and Cariocas class as ‘cold weather’ is similar temperature to a Scottish summer.
– A sandwich is regarded as a snack rather than lunch.
– Rice and beans are the perfect accompaniment to any dish.
…I jest. In all seriousness, I’ve had a fascinating and amazing time in Brazil, especially São Paulo. In particular, I admire the way (from what I saw) the teachers and pupils collaborate and work together to learn and explore music, rather than it being more formally taught. I found the social assistants/workers working in the guri programmes a subtle but essential key part of the success of these programmes. The projects I saw are truly delivering social change through music effectively. Even though they have only been running a short time (since 2008), the effects, from those children and parents I spoke with, are evident.
The one thing missing is the partnership working between the various music organisations. There is a rich tapestry of great cultural work happening here yet the connections between the organisations delivering this are few. This is something that everyone here is aware of and steps are being taken to start to change things, such as the establishment of the Association of Brazilian Orchestras, which had its first meeting three weeks ago.
I realise there will be many challenges ahead but there’s something quite exciting about the orchestral organisations in Brasil being at the start of these partnerships. Who knows what exciting new ideas will emerge. I certainly hope it is a landscape that I can remain usefully part of, and hope to develop more working partnerships with counterparts here over the next few years.
São Paulo – it’s been an honour. Thank you for your welcoming people, glorious weather, exceptional culture and tantalising food!
Adeus Brasil. Until next time…