The magic music of Brazilian Sertão and the starting of a cultural economy
A music that emerges from the woods? A new economy borning from symbolic elements? This now is happening in Brazilian countryside. This article describes the experience provided by the music created by the brazilian musician Elomar Figueira Mello, more knowed as Elomar. The music of Elomar was influenced by the environment that he lives: a large area knowed as sertão.
How to explain the sertão? This is a dry place like a desert that makes remember places like New Mexico, Texas, Baja California, Atacama and others. In Brazil, the Sertão is a large area with more than one million of square kilometers located in the countryside of Northeast region. These environment favors the nurturing of a special culture that we will call "sertaneza". The aim of this research is to think how this new culture is starting in Brazilian Northeast.
Elomar saw in the brazilian countryside an oportunity to describe common behaviors of "vaqueiros" (brazilian cowboys) and their works with cows and goats sorounded by many kind of cactus and a landscape knowed as caatinga that mean "white field", a scenario that describe the period when the rains ceases and the plants becomes dry. His music express also the difficulties about absense of public policies that encourages the economic activies in countryside during 70's and 80's. His firts album " Das barrancas do Rio Gavião" was released in 1972. Some videos and musics of Elomar can be seen in Youtube. The Youtube can be identified as an important tool of promotion of Elomar music. Nowadays, it is been observed in Brazil the rise of a new economy: the cultural economy, and Elomar has oriented some strategies to share his music through it.
The main characteristic of the cultural economy was the transformation of the culture in business. In this perspective the artist perceives that is necessary develop new ways to spread its artist works. Some possible activities are: 1) the use of social networks; 2) linking of the artistic activity with academic research; 3) the linking with social and environmental and educational projects letting stronger the sustainable perspective; 4) development of projects that are be submitted to public and private financing. So, in a cultural economy perspective the artistic object is been perceived by a broader way a starting point of new possibility. Also, in the cultural economy, it is possible notice new paths of music sharing nurturished by information and comunication technologies (ICTs) such as blogs, virtual communities, websites, Facebook, virtual stores and others.
Our research was developed listening the music of Elomar a tons of times trying to identify how he catch the rural countryside soul of sertão registering the collective unconscious and the archetipical expressions, according of Carl Jung theory and model. So, from this point, embebed by his music, Elomar create a music that permits a deep experience of imersion in the soul of sertão in the listener. Elomar develops a self-recursive experience of culture. His music self creates a state of consciousness that enforces and motivates the artistic creation that nurturish this cycle again.
From this state of artistic enchantement, I felt invited to visit Elomar in his land, the city located from 550 kilometers from the capital of Bahia State, Salvador. Where three travels to see their concert, visit his farm, know his projects and interview him between 2007 and 2011.
Making a deeper auscult of Elomar music, it is possible perceive the embebeddeness of very vivid cultural aspects. His music is related with expression of ancient elements memories of colonizations of iberians and their way of life influenced by symbols and places such as castles, kings, princess, and knighters of medieval times. In these songs there are many symbols of medieval times recorded in unconscious levels. The music of Elomar also expresses the work of agroworkers that needs to lead every day with many kinds of activies of a farm with few economic and technological resources. About the challenges of rural area, some individuals had developed many ways to survive finding the support and meaning in religion.
In june 2, 2007 was founded the Fundação Casa dos Carneiros (House of the Lambs Foundation), an example of the effort about the development of new approaches to deal with rural economic sustainability. The Casa dos Carneiros was adaptance of the Farmhouse that transform a dining room in a theater untitled Lirica Mineira. From this characterization, Elomar prepared in Vitoria da Conquista the transformation of his farm in to a cultural center. There are happening theater presentations, arts expositions and – obviously – music concerts. There is a schedule during the whole year with cultural events.
People from different regions of Brazil are going to Vitoria da Conquista searching this kind of knowledge and the experience of special states of consciousness. The events are creating a new cultural economy in Vitoria da Conquista area, something also important to touristic activity.
This cultural hotspot happening in Vitoria da Conquista represents an interesting case to study because this kind of expression can be developed and shared in another places. We believe that this kind of experience would be supported by government like a strategy of improve cultural memory of communities.
We believe, from this point, that is interesting relate this experience about the strategies would be shared to another regions such the experience developed in the State of Rio Grande do Norte, in the city of Caiçara do Rio dos Ventos, in the ranch of Instituto Boa Sorte (Good Luck Institute).
So, the way adopted to share culture and build a cultural economy assets are been spread. One example is the Instituto Boa Sorte in Rio dos Ventos city.
In the Instituto Boa Sorte is trying to develop the event called cantorias. The cantorias is a kind of music expression when some acoustic guitarists become together to share old and peculiar musics of the region during the night. Instituto Boa Sorte can been seen such as a kind of collateral effect of experience of Casa dos Carneiros.
So, Casa dos dos Carneiros and Instituto Boa Sorte are examples about what would be done as a tool to promote the sharing of cultural economy assets in a society. We believe tha this kind og action would contribute to better quality of life and citizenship through the cultural experience. This kind of formula is becoming stronger and also need to be nurturished by government and companies. From our research, we identify that this kind of experiences is important to conservate the culture in Northeast of Brazil sometimes eclipsed by the mainstream media.