In the 1990s I swapped the tropical concrete jungle São Paulo with another concrete jungle in Northern Europe, Berlin. An immigrant, a foreigner, a “South American guy” in another diaspora, fleeing from the economic situation in Brazil, I decided to share my passion for the musical heritage as Dj GArRinchA. Never mind the former and current politics in Brazil, let’s go back to where it all started, for me anyways.
In the early 1990s, the political map of the world saw profound changes with Germany and the once divided city Berlin at the epicenter. Before the Berlin Wall did not only divide this city, it was also the most obvious manifestation of the political crack which had been running through the world after WWII. Shortly after the wall fell the entire Eastern bloc started to totter and finally collapsed.
After the reunification, many West-Germans along with people from all over the world came to Berlin. Others from East Berlin could not wait to leave. Abandoned by their previous owners, places in the Eastern districts were squatted. Unlicensed and thus illegal bars would pop up on every corner and disappear or move to a different place within a week. A thriving art scene with newly opened galleries emerged in rundown houses. Coming to Berlin in the 1990s was like entering a laboratory with transformation taking place at any corner and affecting any aspect of life.
This transition generated a vacuum that made people feel almost like creators shaping part of tomorrow’s world by trying out new things while the old was retreating and the new was still to come. In short, Berlin became the center of the young subculture in Europe.
In this spirit a new movement was born, which I call the “Latin American Way” of the Berlin subculture. Among the first places where this yet-to-be-born scene gathered was the Freitags Bar (German for Friday’s Bar), one of the various unlicensed bars at the center of the former Eastern part of the city. To me, this place embodied perfectly the spirit of that time. Only people who knew about it would come to this gloomy cavernous place in the basement of a pre-WWII building. Each time there was the risk that the party would be called off by the police which made every single event not only slightly adventurous but all the more precious. Thanks to the Latin American affection of the host, music and drinks from South America set the tone. The DJs staging there had no names yet and put music on that nobody knew, the Brazilian cocktail Caipirinha still had the charm of novelty, its rum base Cachaça was a rarity and quite pricey.
But the most impressive personal experience for me back then was in 1996 after the concert of Chico Science & Nação Zumbi, when I met these musicians in the Freitags Bar. Yes, Chico Science was there in this very basement bar in the Mulackstraße, a place which, unfortunately, due to gentrification does no longer carry the taste of the 1990s.
To point out not only the importance and meaning of this place in the early 1990s but also its effect, I should add that the most popular Latin American events in Berlin nowadays are produced and organized by people who used to be regulars at the Freitags Bar and whom I keep meeting at those events as today at:
THE TROPICAL DIASPORA ROOT SOUND inna Berlin City
to be continued…
THE TROPICAL DIASPORA EXPERIENCE
*Diaspora is the dispersion of a population from their native land (from Greek διασπορά, “scattering, dispersion”)
About the Music from a diasporic point of view
Recently, scholars have distinguished between different kinds of diaspora, based on its causes such as imperialism, trade or labor migrations, or by the kind of social coherence within the diaspora community and its ties to the ancestral lands. Some diaspora communities maintain strong political ties with their homeland. Other qualities that may be typical of many diasporas are thoughts of return, relationships with other communities in the diaspora, and lack of full assimilation into the host country.With the Tropical Diaspora Roots Sound we try to make reflections on a diasporic phenomenon in the Music. This refection show us that the whole Music we select in our events and all other movements connected to the tropical term come originally from Africa. All music styles at the and come directly from there or was reinvented in an African diaspora in other continents like south America, Carib or north America. Currently we experience the clash of all Diaspora in Europe where all people from all over the world can meet and share his own musical influences with other people. The result of this melting pot we call TROPICAL DIASPORA and fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony that happens in Berlin at the YAAM. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Tropical Diaspora is. You have to hear it for yourself!
About the founding father of the Tropical Diaspora in Berlin.
Dj GARrinchA, founding father, producer and resident spinner at TROPICAL DIASPORA, describes his party’s musical ethos as “The platform for live music and performance in Berlin dedicated to the fusion of different styles, a culture way that is especially cultivated in Brazil since the days of Tropicalia.” He’s right: The melting pot of samba, cumbia, dancehall, Afro Beat, Funk, Salsa, Funk, Afrobeat, Soul and everything connected to the tropical matter results in a bump ‘n’ grind groove that the people can’t get enough of. Fresh from gigs in Brazil, he is kicking off a new series of monthly parties in the YAAM (www.yaam.de), featuring many Bands and DJ´s from Europe and worldwide.”
“I want to play music that is meaningful, that stands the test of time,”. “It’s no longer commercial; it’s deep African music, serious music,….” – FELA KUTI