Brasil Summerfest: Interview With Founder Petrit Pula
Brasil SummerFest is almost here - and NaturaBrasil US will be a part of it! In today's post we talk to the festival's founder, Petrit Pula.
It is hot outside, it is sultry… it is also the best time of year for festival lovers! From August 5th to 13th, the seventh edition of Brasil Summerfest is on, bringing you a handpicked selection of live Brazilian music, featuring contemporary and experimental bands, as well as movies and a block party. To get in the mood, we interviewed Petrit Pula, creator and curator of the festival.
Having grown up in Kosovo and in New York, how did you get involved with Brazilian music?
I spent most of my life in New York, the city of heavy cultural transmission. While I was in college, I started DJing and throwing parties around the city. That was my entry to the music and events world. A few years later, I joined Nublu and took care of the label for nearly 10 years, from 2005 to 2014. There was a big Brazilian connection there and that’s when I really got to dive into Brazilian music and meet a lot of artists and musicians from there.
How did Brasil Summerfest come to life?
Over the years I discovered there was so much great (new and old) music in Brazil that sadly never makes its way here. The idea was to change that. I wanted to create a platform for these artists to showcase their music to a wide New York audience. It’s something I wanted to start in 2009. But it wasn't until I was invited to go to Recife with Erika Elliot, the artistic director of SummerStage (a music festival that takes place at Central Park), and had a chance to show her the amazing energy of the local music scene. I had all these artists in mind for a festival, but she was only convinced when she traveled to Brazil and saw it all firsthand. We went to see Marcelo D2 and she was transformed. The following year, the first Brasil Summerfest took place with the main show at Central Park SummerStage. The festival quickly snowballed into a multi-venue, multi-day festival. After instant success and wide media acclaim, I knew I was on to something good.
Tell us about the pocket show happening at NaturaBrasil US store in Nolita with Rodrigo Campos.
We are really excited to be working together with NaturaBrasil this year. The kind of music they put on at Natura Musical in Brazil is so in line with what we do here with Brasil Summerfest. It is such a good partnership. Rodrigo Campos is part of Elza Soares' band and will perform with her band, but aside from that he has a very interesting solo career. He has released five albums and is also a Natura sponsored artist. He is one of these new wave of musicians from São Paulo who is mixing samba with jazz, funk and experimental riffs. Very cool stuff! The show is going to be free and we're asking people to RSVP through the Facebook event page. (Click here before it's too late! ). The shop has a beautiful little garden and it's perfect for it!
What do you love about Brazilian music?
There is so much to love about Brazilian music. I love all the traditional rhythms and melodies that Brazil is known for, but also love the contemporary movements and how Brazilians are able to pick up foreign ideas and influences and make them their own. They have a special skill for that that I admire. There is also that energy that fuels Brazil that is sometimes hard to put into words. The vitality and colorfulness of Brazil is something we aim to recreate during Brasil Summerfest.
What are some of the highlights in this years edition?
There's so much this year! I am very excited about Elza Soares, Liniker e os Caramelows, O Terno, Rodrigo Campos... Lan Lan. ( For the complete line up, click here ). This year we have two films, one of them is "Tim Maia" at the Museum of Moving Image. We're also doing a Brazilian Block Party and Street Fair on the last day of the festival, August 13th starting at noon, on Hester Street Fair at Essex Street, on the Lower East Side, with food vendors, music and drinks. We're taking it a step further and offering a broader cultural experience.
For a taste of what to expect of the festival, start listening to our Brasil Summerfest playlist on Spotify.