Cablegate: Request by U.S. Mission Brazil to Participate in Rhythm

DE RUEHBR #1262/01 2662027
O 222027Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 090853

1. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION, INCLUDING OBJECTIVES AND NATURE OF EVENTS: U.S. Mission Brazil is very interested in programming a Rhythm Road quartet for musical performances, workshops, and educational outreach as part of our continuing efforts to promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural awareness. This program would be used to strengthen Post's efforts to implement "The U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality," signed by Secretary Rice last March, and would compliment our focus on disadvantaged communities in Brazil's North and Northeast. The Mission would use this opportunity to reach Afro-Brazilian and indigenous communities, particularly at-risk youth, as well as other populations suffering from economic and/or geographic isolation or marginalization. Post would also use its excellent partnership with the Association of State Secretaries of Education (CONSED), developed through CONSED's assistance in implementing the Youth Ambassador program, to bring the group to play in public school settings in disadvantaged communities throughout Brazil.

2. When USG officials met recently with Brazilian officials to discuss implementation of the Joint Action Plan on racial equality, one of five themes chosen by the government of Brazil was culture. If the music style chosen for this program has roots in African-American culture and/or the musicians work with Afro-Brazilian communities, this program would serve to further this key bilateral initiative. The Mission has recently focused more of its attention toward the country's North and Northeast regions, where there is greater poverty, unemployment, and health problems, growing crime rates, and weaker infrastructure. Reaching out to these areas through musical exchange would allow post to strengthen our relationships with local officials, community leaders, and youth, thereby supporting Post's North-Northeast Strategy.

3. The program would support our Mission Strategic Plan (MSP) goal of "Promoting International Understanding," which emphasizes outreach out to underserved areas and non-elite audiences. As Post would encourage media coverage of all Rhythm Road events, we expect the program would increase public awareness of American culture and history, leading to more accurate and favorable portrayals of U.S. policies in key foreign media. Finally, we hope this program would result in enduring partnerships between U.S. and Brazilian musicians and institutions.

4. PREFERRED MUSIC STYLE: Urban or hip-hop music is preferred, as this currently has the greatest appeal among Brazilian youth, although post would consider other styles as well.

5. POSSIBLE VENUE CITIES, INSTITUTIONS AND AUDIENCES: Audiences at each post could include students, particularly from public schools, journalists, elected officials, NGO representatives, local artists, and/or academics.

A. MANAUS, AMAZONAS: Indigenous and economically disadvantaged groups, including youth. There are numerous music groups and audiences in the city of Manaus and the State of Amazonas. Possible venues include the Manaus Opera House, the Ponta Negra (beach) performance stage, other outdoor venues, public schools, and/or one of 12 local universities. The local Bi-National Center, who is currently hosting an English Language Fellow until 2010, is a consistently strong partner for youth and cultural programs. Manaus has a busy cultural scene, including a number of music and theatre festivals and clubs. Post would also seek to partner with the Governor's office, with which we have a strong working relationship.
B. BELEM, PARA: Indigenous and economically disadvantaged groups, including youth. There are numerous children's, youth, and adult music groups in disadvantaged communities in the city of Belm and the State of Par who would be excellent partners and audiences. Post has been approached repeatedly regarding musical cooperation here, including by the State Secretary for Culture. Possible venues include the Belm Opera House, the Carlos Gomes Cultural Foundation, outdoor public performance venues, public schools, and/or one of three local universities anxious to work with Americans. The local Bi-National Center, who will host an English Language Fellow beginning in March, is a good partner with a strong cultural program and three branch campuses in remote communities comprised largely of Amazonian indigenous populations. Post would like to establish and strengthen music-based connections between this geographically isolated region and U.S. musicians and institutions.
C. NORTHEAST CITIES: We propose venues in these four cities: Recife, Joco Pessoa, Natal, and Fortaleza. In Recife, there are at least five associations that promote hip-hop events. As in the other cities, this genre is very strong in marginalized neighborhoods. Likely partners might be these associations plus the

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Mayor's office, which promotes hip-hop during Carnaval. In May 2007, the Metropolitan Hip-Hop Association promoted a week-long seminar that discussed issues such as education, racial equality, and social inclusion, as well as focusing on hip-hop as a form of social expression. In Joco Pessoa, there are two associations that promote street dance, hip-hop, and several other genres of music. One of those, Tribu Ethnos, is a likely partner. In Natal, there several hip-hop associations, with one major an umbrella association that promotes seminars on social inclusion using hip-hop, rap, and break dancing as forms of expression. In Fortaleza, the Central Unica de Favelas organization, which promotes social inclusion among disadvantaged youth, would welcome a hip-hop dance troupe to highlight hip-hop as an art form and form of expression. The Mayor's office is also very active in promoting hip-hop events.

D. BELO HORIZONTE, MINAS GERAIS: Post would attempt to schedule this program to coincide with a planned "USA Fair" in March or April 2009. The three-day USA Fair outreach event will be held in the center of a large shopping mall. The set-up will include various information booths and an enclosed mini-auditorium for presentations about studying in the U.S., doing business with the U.S., visas, learning English, etc. The musicians could play either at the fair site or as a side event at a nearby location. Belo Horizonte is also home to a popular favela (slum) based radio station with a professional studio where mayoral candidates recently held a debate. Post would try to arrange for an interview and a live concert to be broadcast by this station. Post would also bring the group to public schools in Belo Horizonte through the municipal international relations and education departments, with whom it already partners to improve English language teaching in public schools. Post would also have the group appear at the Bi-National center, and would work with the State Secretary of Culture to arrange other concerts, as well as master classes.

6. TIME FRAME: January-July 2009. March or April is ideal. Programming in February would be difficult due to Carnaval-related events and school and work holidays.

7. SECURITY: In accordance with the Regional Security Offices, Post will take all necessary security precautions, especially in urban areas such as Rio and Sao Paulo.

8. LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS: Post will work with local partners to provide required translation. Post would greatly appreciate ECA and/or JALC assistance in covering translation costs. Post also greatly appreciates prior copies of any related publications or materials for translation.

9. POST CONTACT INFORMATION: APO Caroline Schneider, Tel: XXX; Cell: XXXXX; Fax: XXXX; XXX. FSN Cultural Affairs Specialist Marcia Mizuno, XXX; Cell:XXXX; XXXX; XXXX.

10. FUNDING: ECA, through Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC), will cover international travel costs and an honorarium for each musician. Post is responsible for in-country travel, staging, and per diem for all days the quartet is in country, however, due to the extensive length and travel distances of this program, we estimate per diem expenses around US$21,000 and in-country travel costs around US$7,000. Post would therefore greatly appreciate ECA and/or JALC assistance in covering some of these expenses.


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