It’s testament to the multicultural make-up of Birmingham that a festival celebrating links between the city and the powerhouse of vibrant culture of Brazil is even able to take place in a suburb south of the city centre. But Kings Heath, an area home to families and creative professionals alike, offers an ideal location for a celebração, with a wealth of venues, cultural projects and an ever-growing number of fetes, festivals, events and fayres taking place within its borders.
With the support of the Hare and Hounds, Loco Lounge, All Saint’s Church and Kings Heath Village Square, annual city festival Espirito Brum has decamped from its previous home in Digbeth to present a programme hosting live music, circus, film screenings, a food market, free workshops and art installations throughout the next two months.
“Espirito Brum is about seeing ourselves through each other’s eyes.” Co-director Tessa Burwood explains. “There’s a great phrase in Portuguese: ‘Santo de casa não faz milagre’ – ‘A saint in his own home doesn’t make miracles’.
Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to remind us how proud we should be of Birmingham, that’s the greatest feeling to come out of Espirito Brum. We know that, when the festival is done and the twenty or so visiting artists return to Brazil, they become ambassadors for our city.”
It’s also about bypassing stereotypes – you won’t see semi naked carnival parades at Espirito Brum, what you will see is highly talented Brazilian musicians and visual artists really enjoying themselves, sharing a taste of their heritage with us and creating new work with those they meet here, in natural and spontaneous ways.”
Collaborations include guitarist and composer Wanderson Lopez working with Birmingham tabla player Mendi Singh and percussionist Joelle Barker in the jazz, classical and Brazilian flavoured musical project Intuitive; a live performance from hip hop and reggae artist Jota III, Munchbreak, Pablo Rider and DJ Switch; and a unique public mural produced by world-renowned artist Binho and local graf legend Hoakser.
Words: Lyle Bignon