These stories have themes, like travels; ‘City Ports’ – Buenos Aires to Bristol, or Havana to Bristol, reflecting the narrators’ experiences of living & travelling between cities & continents. They are using the voices of experience & technology to create & share these broadcasts.
Available as podcasts for streaming & downloading to listeners via our ‘Celebrating Latin America in Bristol’ website in the hope of reaching the broadest possible audience interested in Latin American culture.
Where ideas meet
On July 1st 2013, Rupert was interviewed by BBC Radio presenter, Steve Yabsley, in connection with his work on ‘Latin America in Bristol’. It became an eclectic conversation covering many topics such as family history, Spanish colonialism, losses of cultural and biodiversity within the Amazon forests, as well as offering a telescopic view into the lives of some of the Latin Americans living in Bristol who partook in this quirky project.
Steve took the decision to broadcast this interview in its entirety. Please take a moment to listen.
‘Latin America in Bristol’ with Steve Yabsley.
Perspectives on Brazilian Culture
In this interview, Margaret Anne Clarke (University of Portsmouth) asks Adriana Lisboa questions about her work and her identity as a writer. The interview was recorded at the symposium, Perspectives on Brazilian Culture (University of Bristol, 23 May 2013), organised by Dr Rhian Atkin (Lecturer in Portuguese and Lusophone Studies) and generously supported by The Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA), the Faculty of Arts Research Director’s Fund, and the Bristol-Brazil Fund.
A dedicated tanguero hailing from Buenos Aires, whose dance classes & social Milongas, art performances and tango trips engage with the depth and cultural history of this magical Argentine art form. Since his arrival to Bristol in 2002, Eduardo has transformed a small interested group into an eclectic urban movement where dance and tango’s underlying philosophies are intertwined. Speaking about his art, Eduardo says, “The cornerstone of my work is opening a context from where to create a culture because in Buenos Aires you can breath the tango without even dancing.”
Tango in the madhouse: “I went there to give, but came away having received”, is a short story of the first workshop of tango therapy in the world.
More info: www.tangoalchemy.co.uk
Following Michael Jacob’s enjoyable book reading & discussion on travelling up the Río Magdalena, based on his travel book, The Robber of Memories, he retold us one of his most memorable stories. In ’50 shades of Grayling’, he retells a moment of confusion over identity with a humorous outcome during his travels in Colombia.
50 shades of Grayling: “Can you sign my book?” “But I’m not A. C. Grayling.” “Can you sign it anyway…”
Hans, a Brazilian musician from Porto Alegre, came to Bristol in 2006 to complete a Master/PhD in film soundtracks and Samba. He teaches classical guitar at the University of Bristol and at the Bristol Spanish Guitar Centre. He composes film soundtracks and also performs as part of a flute and guitar duo. He finds similarities between his home town and Bristol, both being ports. His short story revolves around his cultural experiences in Bristol and an unexpected incident during a waterfront stroll whilst in the company of his visiting cousin, Patricia.
Music, travel and a waterfront crime: “Come on Patricia, this is England. Everything is safe here.”
Rossana Vanni (28 Mar 13)
Leap of Faith (7 mins): “I thought, my God.”
Psychological identities (2 mins): “Well, we don’t get many like you here!”
A raven in the bathroom and goats on a lead (3 mins): “He looked at me, looked at the goats – absolutely confused.”
Uruguayan born but grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina with a strong Italian family background, Rossana sailed for England in 1989, spending 3 years on a transatlantic boat. She finally docked in Liverpool and was immediately horrified by the greyness, industrial atmosphere and winter climate. After trying her hands at many jobs and having lived many unusual experiences, Rossana settled in Bristol and quickly felt welcomed by the city and its people. She completed a Master in Education in the teaching of foreign languages and has taught Spanish Language at the University of Bristol since 1994. Her stories are philosophical wanderings down memory lane, recalling her questing to locate her grandparent’s roots in Italy, being frozen in an old Georgian house and some strange questioning as to her identity, confusing both herself and Bristol Airport’s customs officer.
Eugenia Ledesma (31 Mar 13)
Train stations, a student of the Arts and life among Bristol’s minorities (5.30 mins): “It was a real eye opener to go to the Jamaican culture in Bristol.”
Latin music, Bristol style (7.30 mins): “It was upbeat, happy, filling people with joy. We were the only band doing it.”
A porteña from the port city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a famous singer for a father who lived to be 100, Eugenia was a bohemian youth with a restless soul. She was to take risks and travel during her lifetime. Romance and marriage brought her to Reading, England where she initially worked at British Railways Works division as a tea lady. Charms, good looks and a witty character were to lead her down a more adventurous and musical path. She came to Bristol in 1978 as her husband was studying at the University of Bristol. She quickly made Bristol her home due to its cosmopolitan edge and opportunity to study Fine Art. Eugenia began to consolidate her artistic skills in music, dance, teaching and performance, forming a core member of Bristol’s first Latin band, Tierra Colorada. Now she teaches Design and Technology. Her stories relate to her life in music.
Alex Orozco (11 April 13)Importing Mexico (9.10 mins) “Sparks a nice little reaction. That’s what I enjoy the most, when people come in and go, ‘Oh my god, look at that toilet.”‘
‘Otomí’, Mexican importers of arts & crafts.
Located in an intriguing Victorian arcade in Clifton Village, Bristol is the small and colourful shop, ‘Otomí’ – named after the Indigenous people of Central Mexico. The creative artefacts of the Otomí provided Alex and Louise with the initial idea of importing Mexican craftworks. Firstly, they purchased Amate paintings in Guadalajara and sold them at a school fair and markets across Bristol. These paintings proved popular and they began importing other handcrafts. Found on the arcade’s ground floor at No 7, Alex and Louise, designed their shop, keeping to Mexico’s spirit as the land of bright, earthy colours. The interior recreates a general Mexican atmosphere, displaying articles from as many regions as possible, including Monarch butterflies.
Alex came to Bristol in 1990 and lived on a boat in the floating harbour. Every November the shop hosts a ‘Day of the Dead’ costume event on a harbour-side boat, offering the people of Bristol the flavours of Cumbia music bands and spicy foods. The event also has face painting and an unusual macabre atmosphere attune to this important Mexican national celebration of their deceased.
Alex’s story concerns his business and life experiences both in Mexico and Bristol.
Otomí Shop, 7 Clifton Arcade, Boyces Avenue, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4AA
T: 0117 9732906 e: www.otomi.co.uk
Raúl Marti Viera (11 April 13)
Connect-a musical message (10.50 mins): “These records I have in my hands have been produced and written by people that I can meet.”
One big nation (5 mins): “This is what is going on in South America…now we’re looking inside.”
Raúl, from Montevideo, Uruguay, is the main figure behind the Bristol-based band, ‘Compadres’; their styles build from his country’s long tradition of folklore, Latin, European and North American musical influences. Afro-Uruguayan musicians, Rubén Rada, Jaime Roos and Eduardo Mateo also strongly influence him, especially ‘Candombe’ – being the African rhythms brought to Uruguay by slaves and made popular. In Uruguay, he learnt the basics of music and composed his songs on a piano given to him by his mother. After playing drums and keyboards, he dedicated himself to the electric bass.
Raúl lived and performed in Spain for 14 years, mixing Latin, Jazz and Funk. Since coming to Bristol in 2002, he has collaborated with Mankala, Puravida, Orquesta Montpelier, KeChevere and the jazz singer, Charlotte Huggins. In 2003, he created ‘Compadres’; together they have more than 400 performances behind them. He wrote the music for the short film ‘Cuarentena’.
Raul’s story is about all of this: music, travels and the socio-political responsibility of being an artist.
Born in the capital of Mexico D. F, Gemmina is a mother, a DJ for Bristol’s Latin-Funk community and a hireable chef of the ‘cosina mexicana’. She also plays the Brazilian ‘dobra’ and ‘heps’ percussion instruments for ‘Batala Bristol’ – a heavyweight Samba band. Gemmina arrived in Bristol in 1986 as a guest of the Italian family, Pieraccini, the famous tomato growers. Her bigger dreams of settling in Italy didn’t unfold and instead Bristol became her adopted home after marrying a British man. For 20 years, she has worked with adults who have challenging behavioural problems for Bristol City Council.
Gemmina is passionate about music, particularly Salsa and Samba rhythms; she travels Europe with ‘Batala Bristol’. She’s a ‘parrandera’, meaning a social butterfly. Every September, she throws a fancy dress party to celebrate Mexico’s moment of triumph against Spain for Independence (1820). Her story revolves around her daily life in Bristol but is tinged with longings for home, sunshine and the chance to shed a few tears with friends over a bottle of Tequila.
Mexico: no place like home: “I’m one of them…people are superstitious; black magic, always worrying, it’s all to do with Llorona, ghosts and magic…”
(15 April 13)
Circles (9.50 mins): “That’s how we are, every time we find ourselves in a big circle of love.”
Never again (4.30 mins): “Do whatever you want, but don’t go to the road.”
Paúl, born in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, is the events and sales manager of Novotel, Bristol. After arriving in the UK (1999), he first lived in Boston, Lincolnshire before marrying his seconds wife, Ann Webber, a Bristolian. Since 2003, Bristol has been his home. He has formed links with ‘Plan UK’ – a charity dedicated to helping children living in poverty around the world. He organizes a fundraising event called, ‘A Night of South American Colores’, featuring folkloric dance, music and Latin American food.
Through his charity work, he also promotes interest and awareness in Latin American culture. His current project is linked to the organization, ‘Above and Beyond’, working to improve facilities at Bristol’s Children Hospital. Together with his wife, they formed a dance school called ‘Whitchurch Dance Studio’, performing Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Drama, Hip Hop and song.
His story weaves threads comprising his life’s journey of childhood memories from his family’s hacienda, travels and charity work, as well as Ecuador’s inspiring environmental politics and rejection of neo-liberalism under the current presidency of Rafael Correa.
Julieta González, ‘Coffee with spirit’. (22 April 13)
A hotel and a kiosk (11.07 mins): “When you come in to my house, it’s a small Colombia in England.”
Fragile abundance (4.40 mins): “If you don’t know how to deal with things, probably you cut the trees because you want to make a house…and that is the mix of mistakes.”
Julieta González: ‘Just Ground’ coffee kiosk, The Promenade, Central Bristol.
From Tunja, Boyacá region, Julieta grew up in Colombia’s Andes, 120 kilometres from the capital city, Bogotá. She describes her early life as traditional, Catholic and centred around her large family and the hectic day-to-day affairs of their family-run ‘Hotel Saboy’. This hotel was a grand colonial building and had 33 rooms for rent, ranging from the cheap and cheerful to deluxe en suites. Julieta came into contact with many local and foreigner travellers; all passers by with their fantastical stories to tell a young girl, and this greatly influenced her imagination, allowing her to develop a cosmopolitan understanding of the world beyond Colombian life in the Andes.
She came to Bristol in 1997 after marrying a British man and having had two daughters, both born in Colombia but raised in Bristol. In 2011, she founded an ethically-minded kiosk on ‘The Promenade’ opposite the city’s ‘Hippodrome’ theatre, selling coffee. Through Julieta’s business and fun personality, she has created a colourful corner to this prime public space close to Bristol’s harbour side. Her stories are windows into her life, travels, her coffee shop and some environmental concerns.
Reaching out to Bristol’s populace, Natalia Lyes, broadcasting on BC Radio, 93.2 FM
A fantastical box (14 May 13, 10.15 mins) “Radio, it’s like a box with fantastic things coming out of the other side of it…I like to see how people see Latin America from the English point of view…sometimes I scream, ‘No, it’s not like that!”‘
Natalia Lyes: Bristol Community Radio, ‘The Latin Window’.
From Quito, Ecuador, Natalia is a proud mother of two. She arrived in England in 1995 at the age of 17, living for ten years in London until, and in her words, ‘love knocked on my door and asked me to move to Bristol’. This was in 2005 and Bristol quickly became her home, although she felt that there was a lack of unity among the Hispanic people living in this city. Natalia studied a degree in journalism and history at the University of the West of England. During this time, she was also offered the opportunity to host her own radio show as Bristol was preparing to launch a community radio station. After submitting her proposal, she became the producer and presenter of a show called, ‘The Latin Window’, and it quickly became a space where people from the Hispanic community could come and share all things Latin American. Since her emission’s beginnings, things have changed and it is no longer delivered in the Spanish language, but in Spanglish, so that all her listeners could understand the quirky conversations and learn of current news and events. Her show remains the only partly Spanish-speaking broadcast across Bristol. Together with ‘La Jolie Ronde’, Natalia is also teaching Spanish to children aged from 1 to 11.
Tune your dial to ‘La ventana latina’ on BC Radio, 93.2 FM, every Tuesday, 2-3pm.