Thursday, 5 December 2013

Joyce, Tuany, Rayssa, Camila

This Wednesday at Curry Clube we had an opening show by students who benefit from the music lessons and instruments financed by the event. Camila, Tuany, Joyce and Rayssa live locally and as well as playing the instrument in the video (melodica), are also learning percussion and brass instruments.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Curry Clube with Jazz in the New House

I have just moved to a new house in the Pereirão favela (rented from the family of one of my students). The large front room means that we can now have live music at Curry Clube. Here's a video from last week's event:


Pedro Araujo (banjo/guitar)
Rodrigo Serra (drums)
Fritz Meyer (trombone)
Gallus Bachmann (clarinet)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Bloco Tô Ligado Party: November

This year I have been providing brass and percussion instrumental music lessons to children from Rio de Janeiro's favelas as part of a local social project called Projeto Tô Ligado. The aim is to put together a "bloco" (street band) with the children to participate in Rio Carnival in March 2014. Every month we throw a party at the project, to give the children a chance to play in public and to provide a point of contact with their families and the wider community. Here's a video of the children's bloco playing at November's party:

And here are the photos:

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Article in Veja Rio Magazine

Veja is Brazil's best selling weekly magazine. In this week's Rio supplement there is an article about my work with the children in Santa Teresa's favelas.

Here's the article translated into Engliah:

Afternoons in the French Square in Santa Teresa have become more musical over the last year. This is the location of the Welcome Mission Centre, the institution where the British trumpet player Tom Ashe teaches 26 children between the ages of 7 and 14 from the Pereirão, Fallet and Fogueteiro favelas how to play brass instruments such as trumpet, trombone, euphonium and tuba as well as how to read musical notation. "The samba schools have ended up creating a plethora of virtuoso young percussionists, but the brass tradition that Brazil had back in the 1940s has been lost over time", explains Ashe, 34, in his uneven Portuguese. Seeking to rescue this musical heritage, and imbued with a desire to help to improve the lives of the children in the nearby favelas, he resolved to go back to basics by teaching Rio's classic songbook. The little ones start with songs such as Cabeleira do Zezé, Asa Branca, Rap da Felicidade and the class favorite Mulata Ye Ye Ye. "I asked them what they liked to listen to, and they responded: Bonde das Maravilhas", tells Tom, who was subsequently shocked when he then learned about the group of young girls who popularised the erotic dance the "quadradinho de oito". "I ended up going for Carnival songs, which everyone knows."

In love with samba music, the trumpet player decided to exchange Europe for Rio six years ago as a way of improving his musical knowledge through first hand experience. At the moment he makes his living from the two jazz bands that he plays in. The teaching project is touched by the difficulties inherent in attempting this type of activity. Unable to afford new instruments, he brings second hand ones over from England. To cover wage costs, Tom has organised what is known as the Curry Clube. Every Wednesday he prepares Indian food and opens his house in the Pereirão favela to an average of 30 diners who pay 20 Brazilian Reais each. It's hard work, but he assures that the result is worthwhile. "I thought that maybe three in ten of the kids would take to music, but as it happened they're all into it. It's great to see kids sharing in the enjoyment of making music."

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Bloco Tô Ligado: October Party

Since March, I have been teaching music to children from the favelas as part of Projeto Tô Ligado, a social project in the Santa Teresa district of Rio de Janeiro. I have also been using the proceeds from Curry Clube to finance their lessons with percussion teacher Manguerinha. On Sunday there was a party at the project. The children's carnival band, Bloco Tô Ligado, played, followed by samba band Samba de Lei.

Here are the videos:

And here are the photos (click the image to see the whole album):

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Video: Bombartrio @ Santo Scenarium

Here'a video of me playing at Santo Scenarium, a jazz club in the Lapa district of Rio de Janeiro, along with drummer/vibraphonist Rodrigo Serra, and guitarist Pedro Araujo:

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Bombartrio @ Santo Scenarium

On Tuesday nights through September I will be playing at Santo Scenarium in the Lapa district of Rio, with a new band called Bombartrio. The name comes from the fact that the Portuguese word for Euphonium is Bombardino. The band plays a mixture of jazz and samba and has the following line-up:

Pedro Araujo: guitar and banjo
Rodrigo Serra: drums and vibraphone
Me: euphonium and trumpet

Starts at 8pm, free entry.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Slumdog Gringos - Reuters Article

I was recently interviewed and photographed by Peruvian Reuters journalist Pilar Oliviera, who subsequently included me in an article about the current trend of non-Brazilians moving to the favelas entitled "Slumdog Gringos".

"The story of Tom is a little different from the others [foreigners living in Rio's favelas]. Tom is a trumpet player from England who arrived in Rio five years ago with the goal of experiencing Brazil’s music. Tom found a small apartment belonging to a French expatriate, who rents it for $400. It’s high up near the hilltop of the Pareira da Silva favela, with an impressive view of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Tom knows that the money he pays could be used to rent a room in Rio’s center, but he says his reason for being there is not just economic. He likes to live with the slum dwellers to learn about the culture and roots behind Brazilian music.

Tom is well-liked by his neighbors, as one of the few gringos who mixes with others in the community. One of his friends told me, “There are gringos who come here only to make money, open hostels, and contribute nothing to the community. Sometimes they arrange parties for gringos only, without Brazilans. Tom is different. Children, his music students, greet him on the street, and the owner of a small shop chats with him.

When I accompanied him to look for a friend who lives down the hill we walked along streets so dark that I felt it too unsafe to walk with a camera. But Tom assured me in his relaxed English accent, “It’s very safe here, nothing will happen.” Along the way I noticed some silhouettes in the darkness that spooked me, but only after we returned to his home did he confess that those truly were “mysterious.” Still, he assured me that nobody touches the local gringos.

Tom says that in Rio he has a more active social life than in London, participating in samba events where he plays with others musicians. He has close friends in the favela.

“Rio is an excellent place for a musician,” he said. His only worry is his ability to support a future family. He wouldn’t think of sending kids to a public school or a public hospital. The cost of living and private services like education and health is so high that Tom concludes, “To live a comfortable life in Brazil you have to be rich.”

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Class 3's First Performance

Today Projeto Tô Ligado threw a party for the 26 children of the project and their parents. Class 3 performed briefly and here is a clip of them playing the carnival classic "Mulata Yê Yê Yê":

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Maze All Stars @ Lavradio Jazz Festival - 10/Feb

On the Sunday of Rio Carnival (Feb 10th) my band, The Maze All Stars, is going to play at a new jazz festival on rua do Lavradio in the Lapa district of Rio. Click image below for details:

Friday, 18 January 2013

Mardi Gras Carnival @ Liberty Grill, Doncaster - 26th Jan

I am organising this event with friends from the Doncaster Youth Jazz Association to raise money to buy musical instruments for Projeto Tô Ligado, a social project in Rio de Janeiro in which I teach music to underprivileged Brazilian children. Please visit the facebook event for more information, or download the information sheet.