Dispatches from America do Sul

Just wanted to take a moment to point to two of my music writing pieces from the past month, which can also serve as a kind of travelogue of my past six months. What I’ve started to realize in the process of making my way down to Rio de Janeiro is that the South American continent is changing quickly in both exciting and scary ways. While Venezuela faces intense social upheaval, Colombia faces intense investment of global capital, and Brazil experiences both – all happening with unforeseen consequences for the future. I look forward to sharing more as my travels bring me further around the continent. For now, check these first two dispatches from Colombia and Brazil:

Last November I made a return trip to Cartagena after spending three years away from the Colombian coast. I really enjoyed going back, and during that trip I even declared that it had to be the best music city in the world (good music tends to make me get carried away.) However, besides my enthusiasm for the amazing music I was hearing, I also noticed some changes inscribed into the face of the city since my last time visiting. I also realized that I could trace the lines of those changes through the music. Check the full article out on MTV Iggy, and check out Caribe Funk who feature centrally in the piece:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/MY238jT1h9g[/youtube]

Then in March I spent Carnaval in Rio. An article I wrote for Africa is a Country focuses on the traces of African identity in Brazilian music. Check out this Dutty Artz appropriate tune from the piece:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/BTUv7p3XcjY[/youtube]

Brazil in general has been seeing some crazy foreign investment in recent years as well, and in two months they will host FIFA’s World Cup. I’ll tell you, the country is not ready. Let alone the fact the stadiums aren’t done, the society just isn’t ready for this kind of influx of global capitalism. Brazil was just getting on its feet in the last decade, trying to organize a more just and democratic society. Now you can’t help but feel these mega events, and the inequality and economic instability they will bring, might tip the country into chaos in the coming years. Many smart observers are saying that the invasion of residential neighborhoods by the Army and the military police is eerily reminiscent of the days of the dictadura, but this time only for the urban poor. Fuck the Cup, has become an official rallying cry of the Brazilian protest movement, and I’m sure many activists are standing by their promise to make sure that the Cup doesn’t happen.¬†While this all is convincing me to maintain a critical distance from the Cup, I will still be watching both the streets and the field. One thing I know for sure is that it’s going to be a damn interesting summer winter!