Birmingham to São Paulo

CaosArte this is for you! In homage to our 2016 partner city São Paulo and the Brum Spirit family out there, who are in our hearts every damn day, our main graffer Hoakser produced this classic wildstyle, to be exhibited at Memorial da América Latina next month. The piece is part of a selection of digital works by Birmingham based arts activists, to be incorporated into the programme of CaosArte’s 3rd annual crowd curated extravaganza.

Hoakser Sao Paulo Wildstyle for CaosArte - photo by Dan Burwood, Some Cities

The theme for this year is A Cidade Dança/ The City Dances – an invitation for contributors to explore how urban inhabitants transform their city, and how the city transforms them in turn. Also ready for inclusion are works by Jungo Arts, Some Cities and Break Mission.

This whole Brum Spirit selection is going to be introduced by Karina Poli – researcher from Universidade de São Paulo, and manager of our visiting Brazilian artists for this year’s edition of our exchange. More on that very soon!

Hoakser had a bit of a mission getting this piece done. He chose a specific position in one of Digbeth’s legal graff spots, so that the final piece could incorporate a little of Brum’s central skyline, and the word ‘BIRMINGHAM’, from the sign on Digbeth Coach Station.

Arriving bright and early so he’d have a full day painting, he’d just finished emulsioning the background when a parking attendant told him that graff was no longer allowed in the spot, since Seven Capital and Colmore Tang put up their new hoardings, to mark the territory out for luxury apartment development Connaught Square.

It seemed a little ridiculous, considering the lack of signage, and the fact that the entire car park is covered in graff. In any case, Hoakser was told if he waited until after the attendant clocked off, he could come back and get it done in the twilight. So that’s what he did. In two hours, with no sketches (obviously), and no stopping, he completed this classic wildstyle, highlighting the cryptic lettering oneupmanship that forms the very heart of graffiti.

The work has been captured in this sweet little video, and our photography partners at Some Cities have taken a couple of great shots to really showcase the piece in context. How’s about that for transforming a city in transformation?


So, the sun is finally out, the sky is mostly blue, April has arrived and the ice is melting here in Brum – but it’s not quite hot enough! Brrrrrr!

Good job a resilient bunch of musicians are about to head back out to Brazil, for festivals, shows, workshops and cultural exchanges arranged by Professional Incredibles, and made possible through our ongoing links with cultural producers in Brazil, forged since our first visit to Womex in 2008, and through our associates at Instituto Quorum and Rede Catitu.

First stop is Belo Horizonte, where Honeyfeet and Aishá Lourenço, Mendi Singh, Mike Fletcher and Ffynnon will be playing at the third edition of Festival Cambio S. You can read more about this fabulous project on our Research page, as we took part in the first edition last April. Here’s a little tiny film about what Mendi Singh got up to:

Following this, Mendi Singh and Mike Fletcher are heading to Vitoria, Espirito Santo, along with Wanderson Lopez, who we first met when Espirito Mundo selected him for programming in Espirito Brum back in 2011.

Wanderson is a great musician, prolific and well respected in Brazil, and gaining new fans each time he returns to Europe. He has arranged a concert in his home town Vitoria, alongside Mendi and Mike, where they will play music they have been working on since the first met, some of which has been recorded at South Birmingham College and Priory Studios – more news on this soon for now, here’s a little snipped of Mendi and Wanderson playing together at Jazz at the Spotted Dog, for Espirito Brum 2012:

Meanwhile, although the wonderful Ffynnon have to head home for commitments in the UK, Honeyfeet and Aishá Lourenço will be heading on to Sao Paulo, accompanied by me . I help interpret, work out what food is what, and make sure the musicians do some sleeping.

We are really looking forward to returning to Centro Cultural Rio Verde for a show on Friday May 3rd, a virtual participation (Sao Paulo to Salford) in Sounds From the Other City’s Sceneskype stage on Sunday May 5th, more ultra fun workshops in some unexpected places, and some quality time with Adriana Franco and Dragoes de Komodo. Shortly after their return from Espirito Brum 2012, DK were invited onto cult TV programme Manos e Minas, to talk about their first international tour. In true hip hop style, they took the opportunity to say some quite contraversial things, not usually spoken about on Brazilian TV:

We are also hoping to reconnect with the immensely talented Renato Pontello in his home town of Sao Jose dos Campos. Renato is ace! When he came to Birmingham in 2011, he painted the front of PST along with Glenn Anderson, Newso and Lisk:


We’ll finish this year’s visit to Brazil with a few days in Rio. I haven’t been back there since studying at PUC Rio back in 2005 – man that makes me feel OLD! Hahah! It will be really interesting to see how things have changed – Brazil is going through a socio cultural evolution at blink and you’ll miss it pace, which is good and bad, bizarre and prosaic all at once.

We’ll be keeping you posted on our adventures right here on Esprito Brum, so do check back if you want to check in Slick.