We had some multicultural education sort of thing at school, we picked a country and prepared a short presentation for the rest of the group. I chose Brazil, the land I have never visited, but which I have always seen as my mental home, a safe place of some sort. I don't know where or when in my life did this affection begin, probably through Sepultura, which had a huge influence on me when I was living my teen age. It appeared to be this amazing band, completely different from all the rest of the metal bands, because they had something in them. Two things actually. They had a point, and they had the beat. Most of metal music is just harmless, meaningless buzz. It does not live up to it's reputation as somewhat rebellious or confrontational, it is just safe background noise that is all about really trivial and meaningless things, tales about slaying dragons and shit like that. I understand the level of symbols, but if you want to build stories with many levels and internal contexts, you really need to know how to write. Most of all the metal lyrics say actually pretty much nothing. But when I first heard Sepultura, who actually sang about all the shit they had to live everyday, it was like a rapid expansion of my consciousness. I instantly realised what music was all about, what aggressive music should be all about, grinding your own frustration to dust and spreading it equally amongst your songs, making a difference through something as simple as words and rhythm.
Through Sepultura I kinda grew into Brazilian rhythm music, and little by little I found more interesting things in the country. I realised though it has it's problems, as in highly polarized society, high crime rates and violence making it the most dangerous place for a young man to visit, it all grew on me somehow. Then when I was doing my civilian service at the museum in 2008, there was a Brazilian immigrant who worked with us for a while. We had many discussion about Brazil, it's culture and it's people, and the differences between these two societies. There was loads of things to discuss. Of course hearing stories from the third world always makes you appreciate the safety of the Finnish society, but still there was something inside me, that keeps telling me, that I ain't fit to live here, amongst these people and these traditions. I felt kinda honored when she noticed that too, and told me I would fit in Brazil perfectly, although I don't like football that much. I mean, of course I like to play, but I am not that good and I find it a bit boring to watch, like sports overall. But music is my thing, and the music is the thing that made me the most interested in this country in the first place.
Our drummer was recently touring South America with his other band, and he's been telling me more things he saw and experienced in Brazil, making me want to get there even faster. What I appreciate the most in that country is the people and the nature. The nature is an obvious thing to someone who spent his childhood reading nature-magazines and huge books on jungles and animals. But the people fascinate me maybe even more. How they are able to adapt to what to the most of the world would seem unbearable way of living, and to some extent still achieve happiness. And how they mix things, improvise, come up with something completely new. Nana Vasconcelos said in one documentary, how the african people where surprised with Brazilian music, since they use the same instruments, same melodies and rhythms, but use them to create something different.
Also one thing that made me like Brazilians even more was reading Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It was one of those moments, when you feel like you are somewhat on the right track with whatever it is that you are doing, because there has been someone else doing exactly the same things before you. You are here to carry the torch and to pass it on. Make as much noise as possible, and to wake people up, to help them grow into their full potential and to understand their humanity better. Not through preaching and making people feel guilty about themselves, because preaching always ends up in biggotry, but through education and information, through the shared experience of human existence. Long before I found out about Freire's alternate pedagogy, I had a conversation with my friend, Alex. I found it kinda disturbing how much Brazilians spend money to invite the western industries and multi-national corporations to their country, and Alex helped me to translate a song into portuguese. We recorded it with Cut To Fit, we still play it live and my dream would be to play it in Brazil some day. And I truly hope it won't take too long to see this dream come true.