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Music Interview: Flávia Durante + São Paulo

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For us, there is no one who better embodies the idea of a Renaissance woman in São Paulo, Brazil as much Flávia Durante. Durante is a journalist, a dj, a music producer, and in her role as publicist, has worked with bands like CSS, Bonde do Rolê, Supercordas, Cidadão Instigado, The Name, Comunidade Nin-Jitsu, record companies like Trama, EMI Music Brasil, YB Music, the writer Clarah Averbuck and the movies “Camila Jam – Nome Próprio“, “Quanto Dura o Amor?” e “Simonal – Ninguém Sabe o Duro Que Dei.” She produced the online album “Tudo de Novo – Tributo ao Ronnie Von”, a homage to the psychedelic period of Brazilian singer Ronnie Von with 30 bands from all over Brazil performing new versions of Von’s songs. And as a DJ she’s played sets at clubs all over the city and and co-produces the monthly MAKE ME UP night alongside Marisa Oliveira (Miss Má). Durante shares with us an insiders look at the music scene and beyond in her native São Paulo.

photo by Celso Tavares

Flávia Durante behind the decks, photo by Celso Tavares

What should we know before we go to São Paulo?
That the city is not beautiful and charming as New York but is as large as and culturally as interesting as NY. Here you can find something for everybody 24/7.
album-everything-is-possible-the-best-of-os-mutantesWho are your local musical heroes?

It’s a cliche, mas Os Mutantes, who emerged at the Pompéia neighbourhood [west area of São Paulo]. I see them as good as the Beatles were.
What local bands or musicians should we be listening out for?

Curumin, who is an artist that combines soul and funk elements to brazilian music. He’s relatively known in the US and had two albuns released by Quannum. He is what Brazil is about – a São Paulo native with Spanish and Japanese genes who does black music.

Cidadão Instigado, who actually is from Ceará [in the Brazilian Northeast], but has been living here for some years. Fernando Catatau, the frontman, is the best guitar player actually in my opinion.

Boss in Drama, a synthpop dance music producer from Paraná [in the Brazilian South], who’s also living in São Paulo.
What are your favorite music venues and where should we eat and drink around there?

To watch concerts nowadays the best venues are the SESCs, which are public leasure institutions that can be found all over the country and offer excellent live shos at reasonable prices. They’ve had Teenage Fanclub, Jon Spencer, Yo La Tengo, Stereolab, José Gonzalez and a hundred medium sized acts. The best one is SESC Pompéia, which is beautiful and was built on an old factory.

Tubaína Bar, a small place that I went to so much that I was invited to do a regular latin and brazilian music night in. Their appetizers are inspired by local countryside gastronomy, and offers the traditional soda called tubaína.

To go out clubbing I like Astronete, which is a pub with a dancefloor with a great 60s atmosphere. Studio SP to watch new artist concerts. And Alley Club, where I produce Make Me Up; this club has an amazing sound and structure, the best place for rock nights currently in São Paulo.
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Any local music festivals or events we should put on our calendar?

The Planeta Terra, which is a new festival; it started in 2007 but it’s the one people most eagerly wait for. Since 2009 it takes place in an amusement park. The last one has Rapture, Jesus & Mary Chain, Lily Allen, Maximo Park, Metronomy, Patrick Wolf and for this year Pavement is rumoured to come.

A fun yearly event is the Virada Cultural, similar to European White Nights. It’s produced by the State office with the City office with 24 hours of concerts, plays, dance, workshops and movies – all for free.

Outside the Music World there’s the International Film Festival, with movies from literally all the places in the globe, and the It’s All True international documentary festival.
Is there a “São Paulo sound”? Is there a community/scene vibe in the city?

There’s no “scene”, but inside this alternative universe there are several microcosms. Northeast artists that have set place here (Nação Zumbi, Cidadão Instigado, Lulina, Karina Buhr), artists that have updated the traditional Brazilian music (Romulo Fróes, Bruno Morais, Curumin, Céu, Marcelo Jeneci), electronic music DJ-producers, DJs Boss in Drama, Mixhell, Database) post-rock bands (Hurtmold, Guizado, Holger), the micro folk scene (Mallu Magalhães, Thiago Pethit), the indie-hip-hop (Emicida, Kamau) and the pretty strong emo/hardcore sub-culture. Something for every taste. What defines São Paulo is not having a set definition.
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What’s your perfect night out in São Paulo?

A typically “Paulistano” weekend, which is usually go to a chill-in in a bar and to a club afterwards and then end the night at another bar or someone’s place. And on Sunday a movie and a pizza – we have the best ones in the world, even more than the ones in Italy.
Any other things that are a must see and do in São Paulo?

The Vila Madalena neighbourhood and its typically brazilian bars such as São Cristovão, Franz Ferdinand’s favourite while in town.

The street markets with their turnover stuffed fried pastry with sugar cane juice.

A brazilian steakhouse like Fogo de Chão.

Delicious pizza places like Castelões, Speranza, Brás, Forneria Maia.

The beautiful City Market, that provides food to several restaurants.

Art galleries like Choque Cultural, Mezanino, Emma Thomas, Polinésia and Vermelho.

Museums like MASP, at Avenida Paulista, worthy not only by the work you can see there but by its “suspended” architecture which is one of the city’s landmarks.

The fabulous Museu do Futebol (Soccer Museum)

Skye bar and its delicious drinks and amazing view.

The Ibirapuera Park, our very own Central Park, which is not so big as yours but has art museums and concert auditoriums.

The Liberdade neighbourhood, our little Tokyo.

The Augusta Street, with its intense nightlife that offers movie theaters, restaurants, rock and electronic music clubs, bars and strip clubs.

And Rio de Janeiro is only an hour away by plane and 6 by bus.
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