The Cultura Inglesa Festival, run by the eponymous chain of English language schools, will be cramming the city with art, music, cinema theatre and dance from the UK during four weeks of free events throughout May 2012.
Cultura Inglesa’s schools have been turning out Brazilian anglophones since 1934, and its annual festival is now in its 16th year. Last year’s headliners were Gang of Four, and topping that this year, the biggest act on the lineup is Franz Ferdinand, whose knack for solid-gold, crowd-pleasing pop anthems has made them one of the most important British bands of the past decade.
Also taking the stage will be The Horrors. With their pointy shoes and preference for black, they may look like the sort of shoe-gazers that went out of fashion in the mid-1990s. But their 2011 album Skying bridges the gap between guitar-rock and rave, and earned them the NME’s Album Of The Year award in the process. There’s also a performance from electro-indie trio We Have Band. Their most recent release – a cover of The Horrors’ ‘Still Life’ – is a mesmerising floor-filler, which sounds like a cross between Kraftwerk and a church organist. They’ll have to fight The Horrors to decide who gets to play it on the night.
|We Have Band
Banda Uó comes from the central Brazilian state of Goiás, and is fronted by the transsexual Mel Gonçalves. The band mixes pop with tecnobrega – the super-cheesy, hugely popular Brazilian dance music form from the northern state of Pará. They’ll be playing upbeat versions of songs by the British band The Smiths – the band is best known for songs like ‘Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now’, so the tecnobrega stylings of Uó should be interesting, to say the least.
Other acts to watch out for in the four-week-long festival include Andy Blake, Farmácia and Barry Fratteli. Andy Blake made a name for himself as owner of the record label Dissident London, which turned out limited-edition disco records from 2007 to 2009. Farmácia is a dance performance that draws inspiration from the work of Damien Hirst – one of the most important British artists since the early 1990s, while Barry Fratteli is the bass player of the Glasgow indie-rock band The Fratellis, famous for their crowd-pleasing ‘Chelsea Dagger’. With the band on hiatus since the 2009 album Here We Stand, Barry’s been playing with Birmingham band The Twang, but has found the time to bring his DJ set of rabble-rousing Brit rock to SP.
Thin White Duke, silver screen
But if you’re looking for a quieter night, the festival also includes showings of some of the classic films of British cinema, plus a few of its newcomers.
David Bowie might be better known for his songwriting than his acting. But fans will be able to see 1986’s cult favourite Labyrinth, as part of ‘Bowie no Cinema’ (‘Bowie in the Cinema’). There will also be a screening of Attack the Block – part of a wave of new British comedy-horror, and the directorial debut of Joe Cornish, co-writer of The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Cornish came to the British public’s attention in the mid-1990s, shooting parodies of Hollywood films in his bedroom. He may now be in Hollywood for real, but Cornish hasn’t given up his tongue-in-cheek approach to filmmaking.
And for those who prefer their drama in the flesh, works by four British playwrights will be shown at the festival. One of those is a 2005 work by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, whose work also includes a screenplay for the film Hunger, starring Michael Fassbender. Her play, The New Electric Ballroom, uses dark comedy to tell the story of two sisters who can’t escape their past.
A family friendly choice on the programme includes the play A Menina Lia (The Girl Lia), which pays tribute to Roald Dahl, the British author whose dark fantasies include the children’s novels Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches. A Menina Lia tells the story of a lonely girl who uses the book Matilda to help find happiness.
- Franz Ferdinand, The Horrors and We Have Band will be playing at the Parque da Independência, Avenida Nazaré (no number), Ipiranga. 2273 7250, on 27 May, from 4pm.
- Andy Blake is at Studio SP, Vila Madalena, Inácio Pereira da Rocha 170, 3032 4379, studiosp.org. 25 May.
- Farmácia is at Galeria Olido, Avenida São João 473, República, 3331 8399, www.prefeitura.sp.gov.br. 8pm, 6 and 8 June.
- Barry Fratteli is at Beco 203, Augusta 609, Consolação, 2339 0351, beco203.com.br. 26 May.
- A Menina Lia is at Auditório Cultura Inglesa, Avenida Higienópolis 449, 3826 4322, 26-27 May.
For full listings details for the Cultura Inglesa festival, see festival.culturainglesasp.com.br