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Edition #9
Rio de Janeiro, 2006

By Lana Hosser

We interviewed Luciano Vianna of the PLOC Party

From the beginning to today

Band from Guarulhos that has been shaking up the Brazilian metal scene

The decade that changed the world

Carlota Joaquina feelings...

Combating cultural puritanism

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“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations”

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TAGS: activism, brazil

The title of this text came from a conversation with a five-year-old Swiss boy I met on a beach in Cascais, Portugal. He spoke Portuguese, French, and English fluently. He said in Portuguese that he had lived in Brazil. I found it curious and asked him what he thought of Brazil. He replied, "Brazil is too noisy!" That was all he mentioned: the invasive and constant noise. Back in Rio, I suddenly started paying attention to my surroundings. Indeed, there is a lot of noise! Especially when night falls, and everyone is home after work. In many places—most of them, actually—there is a constant mix of car noises, loud voices, children screaming, dogs barking incessantly, honking horns, loud music, fireworks, gunfire, sometimes all happening simultaneously!

Some people criticize those who say Brazilians are noisy, claiming that this is actually a gift, that they should instead be noisy because it means they are cheerful, and the noisy character means that they enliven the atmosphere, etc. That's not the kind of noise I'm referring to. The noise in question is the annoying, disrespectful kind that assaults the ears, violating the right to silence of others.

The absurdity has become routine. In Rio de Janeiro, for example, the Sheraton hotel located at Vidigal Beach has a super noisy air conditioning system. Right in front of the hotel's air conditioning are some buildings and houses. The residents are tired of complaining to the city hall, but nothing has been done. The residents must deal with that racket 24 hours a day!

The issue of loud music in public places like buses, subways, and beaches is irritating. People blast their music at full volume without caring. Even in the middle of the night! Some even put their speakers in the window facing the street. They swear that the all neighbours are enjoying the super cool brega funk selection of DJ Legend In His Own Mind...

Once, I took a bus in Rio de Janeiro from Ipanema to Ilha do Governador. I used the trip to prepare my lesson for the English course I taught. But one day, a young kid was playing funk carioca music at full blast on a portable stereo, making it impossible for me to concentrate, and I needed to focus at that moment. I couldn't stand it and went up to him, explaining that I needed to study for a test and his loud music was disturbing me, besides loud music is prohibited on public transportation. His reaction? He just smiled and kept the music blaring. He seemed a bit high. The driver then stopped the bus, went over, and gave the boy a major scolding, saying that if he didn't turn off the music completely, he would be kicked off the bus. Phew...... But you see, the lack of consideration is surreal, and people have kind of gotten used to it. No one reacts. Total resignation.

One day, some people came right in front of my first-floor apartment and started a barbecue with pagode music at maximum volume. It felt like the sound was inside my house, it was really loud. I couldn't talk to my mother without shouting. I just couldn't stand it. I took my speakers, put them in the window facing outside, and started playing Sepultura at full blast. It created such a racket that it spoiled their party, and within five minutes, the barbecue ended, everyone left, I turned my sound system off and peace returned...

 

On another occasion, a car with loudspeakers at full height stopped in front of another building where I lived, advertising a politician, at election time. They take away your peace and expect you to accept it. Well, not me. I took an egg and threw it on the street floor, right next to them. They immediately left. If they stayed, this time I'd hit the car. Fuck off!

 

There was a time when I spent a season in Santa Tereza, a district of Rio de Janeiro, and I thought that the extremely loud noise of a funk carioca party coming from the bottom of the hill on weekend nights was unbelievable. If I could hear the music up there, far from the source, imagine what it was like for those who lived nearby... The residents were simply forced to leave just to be able to sleep. I also met someone who lives on a street in the suburbs where every weekend they set up giant 10 feet tall speakers playing funk carioca music, and the street turns into an open dance party. I am appalled by the suffering of the residents in these places. They are simply forced to endure it. The police won't do anything. It’s hard to bear.

This constant noise occurs everywhere in Brazil. I went to Arraial da Ajuda, in Bahia, and the loud music was unbelievable. Jesus, who enjoys staying in places like that??? The bar owner would put a speaker blasting music at the entrance of his bar. Every time I walked by, I had to cover my ears with my hands because the music was insanely loud. The bar was always empty, I guess he scared off the customers, right?… I also couldn’t go to a certain beach in Porto Seguro because as I was approaching it, the loud volume of axé music kept increasing. If it was already loud before I got to the beach, still far from it, on the beach it was Hell on Earth! I just gave up… Additionally, I lived in Sao Paulo for a year, and the constant traffic noise was unbearable. I also lived in Tubarao, Santa Catarina for a while. Every single day, sound cars would pass by with an announcer making commercial advertisements aaaall daaaay loooong… It was impossible to have any peace, we were constantly interrupted by those loud, hateful ads. A complete lack of respect, and there isn't a single law in the city prohibiting it.

What about the Brazilian TV soap operas? Almost all the characters speak so loudly. Is there really a need for that?… I don’t know who influences whom, whether it’s the people who speak loudly and it’s reflected in the soap operas or if it’s the soap operas with these characters who always shout that influence people to speak like that…

Well, all of this boils down to education, or rather, it highlights the lack of education of the average Brazilian. In the future, I’m sure we will evolve to the point where we realize that such sonic chaos is harmful to everyone. Until that happens… Go figure!

How noisy is it where you live? Tell us in the
comments below

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