Sesc Pompeia is a well-known venue for music lovers in São Paulo, Brazil, especially if you are into new Brazilian pop, Samba, and Independent music. “Sescs” are full stop, public clubs provided with facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants, theatres and, art galleries. They are located throughout the city as well as in the countryside. Sesc Pompeia is one of my favorite spots. It is located inside a refurbished barrel factory redesigned, in 1977, by Brazilian modernist architect, Lina Bo Bardi, who reinforced its crudeness by leaving almost untouched its nude red bricks walls and inner rock pavements.
Last week, the venue housed the second edition of the, an initiative from Ilhan Ersahin, owner of Nublu Club in Brooklyn, New York. The festival celebrated its second year of promoting the encounter of Brazilian and international artists. This time, they brought in the legendary Sun Ra Arkestra for a breath-taking closing. On the first evening of the festival, the excellent line revealed an instrumental jazz band, Marginals, and the MC Rodrigo Brandão, creating a mixture between jazz, hip hop and Afro-Brazilian chanting.
The highlight of the night was the joining of New York musician, Wax Poetic, and Brazilian singer-composer, Tulipa Ruiz. While Wax Poetic is a well-known trip hop act with a good number of fans in São Paulo, Tulipa Ruiz is still an unknown singer – at least in the US and Europe. Her debut album won ‘Best Brazilian Album’ by Rolling Stone Brazil in 2010, appeared in several 2011 best albums lists, and got a four star review from The Guardian. Kids may even remember her major hit “Efêmera”, featured in Fifa Soccer 2011 telecast, along with Vampire Weekend, Phoenix and Gorillaz. In the last two or more years, Tulipa (who is also a illustrator) could be heard all around the country, from TV shows to underground magazines. David Byrne is one her most famous fans.
It was a refreshing experience to listen her sharp singing voice, supported by a rock-dub band with two electric guitars, bass, and drums. The song “Assim, Assim” was composed on her road trip from São Paulo to the Sesc unity of Ribeirão Preto, in the countryside, that co-host the Festival. Wax Poetic played the baseline for Ms. Ruiz in the van, who had only one hour to come up with the lyrics for the song. Even better was the new Tulipa sound that Wax Poetic brought into the mix. They stepped into a family affair (Tulipa’s band includes her father on electric guitar and her brother on bass), adding sensational reggae balance and dub echoes. The performance highlighted the singer’s ability to combine her usual vocal sweetness with a somewhat angry, funky, psychedelic beat.
Watch below: Tulipa performing “Assim, Assim” with Wax Poetic (even before the most tuned-in Brazilians fans)