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Report BRAZIL: native Guarani - Tekoa Kõ e nju - VIDEO and AUDIO

THE DREAM: the unpronounceable title of this article is the name of the first native community that I’ve the good fortune to visit in Brazil. This experience fulfills a dream that has been only a secret wish since a long time: to record in loco the music of a native tribe. In Paraguay I was close to do to it, but a series of unlucky coincidences forbade me to visit an Ayorea community; then I arrive in Santo Ãngelo in Brazil and, without expecting it, here is a great opportunity to me handed on a silver platter: Claudette Boff teaches history of art at the University of Santo Angelo and has been working for long time with a Guaranì community and she is an expert of this culture.  "BOFF, Claudette. "A IMAGINÁRIA GUARANI: O ACERVO DO MUSEU DAS MISSÕES", Santo Ângelo (RS)-Brasil: Centro de Cultura Missioneira -CCM/URI, 2005" is the book she wrote about it.  VERSIONE IN ITALIANO
 
THE ACCEPTANCE: have access to this community isn’t so easy, you must “have friends" who have connections with those people. The natives still set in communities far from the town, they seems – in my opinion for some obvious reasons – to mistrust of the white man, or better, a representative of a modern society and a culture that in the past has imposed in a violent way, obliging them to a forced conversion. It seems that the religious conversion process still continues nowadays: the native I would have gone with to visit the Avorea community in Paraguay, has told me that in his village work two North American missionaries who have the task of converting – with quite childish methods – the ayoree belief to the Catholicism. But I don’t want to waste too much time on this theme, because I haven’t had the opportunity to verify if these missionaries are really there. I will tell you only my brief experience in this Guarani community, hoping it wont be the last one, in fact I had the opportunity to experiment only the more superficial part of this so enchanting culture, the native mother of the most music I inserted in this blog until now. So, I will tell only the impressions of an occasional visitor. I’ve known that many ethno-musicologistsand and  anthropologists have been studying for many years in loco the traditions of those people, but they have never had the permission to take part in their religious rituals. So I count myself lucky to have attended one of their musical demonstrations organized only for me.
 
THE COMMUNITY: is located at the municipal building of São Miguel at about 50 km far from Santo Ãngelo. Once arrived in the center of the small village, you must enter for 40 km inside the Brazilian forest. Thanks to Claudette I get from Santo Ãngelo University a car and a companion, in exchange for a brief musical performance. The offer seems to me very convenient so I accept without reserve.

STRANGE ANECDOTES: during the travel, Luis Octavio, the historian that accompanies me for the occasion, tells me some curious anecdotes sometimes quite sinister about the habits of this community. The belief that impressed me most is this, n case of a twin-birth, one newborn must be sacrificed, and in particular the one who represents the wicked part of the spirit that has divided between the two newborn... nowadays the sacrifice is not longer practiced, but the unlucky baby must be left to someone else’s care.

THE MEETING: Claudette has prepared some bags with warm clothes and a box with some meat to give to the community to thank them to have accepted me. After many kilometers on a dirt road, we arrive in the small village of the natives in the middle of the Brazilian nature. The landscape is evocative. The children seem to be scared by the car and they run inside the hovels build up with straw and mud. The instruments are still ready, piled on a Bongo. We get off the car and greet: the children come out shyly from the refuge and they show their very white smiles on their dark sweet and dirty faces. Floriano arrives, he’s the Cacique (chief) of the village, or better, the ex cacique. Now the “throne” has passed to Nicanor. Unfortunately Claudette, Floriano’s friend, didn’t know this change and this detail has provoked a series of misunderstandings during the visit that obliged me to leave the community untimely. The impression that Luis and I have had, was that the new chief – who didn’t feel considered like this – decided to cut short and let we go away.

.
THE VILLAGE:
is composed really by few things
. Here live more than two hundred people, with agglomerates of scattered hovels on a wide zone. Next to a house, a fire lighted with five crossed trunks is ardently waiting the meat that we have brought with us. The houses have neither the bathroom nor the water, so you must walk a few to find a well. I couldn’t enter in a house, but from a door I’ve discerned the inside, poor, with mattresses on the floor and thousands of amulets and handcrafts hung on the ceiling
. Among all this “poverty” there’s a detail quite controversial: behind one house there’s a big satellite aerial... an authentic paradoxical view that breaks the charming aspect of this village, morover, some inhabitants have mobile phones. Floriano calls the group and tell them to tune up the instruments. Immediately all the children of the community come there and line up in front of me – I'm preparing excited the recording instruments.

THE MUSIC: the melody is always the same, only the texts change. The children move some dance steps that make me smile. I try to imitate them, joining together to their movements, but negligently I imitate the steps of the female dance, so everybody looks embarrassed at me and laughs. For every piece, Floriano explains me the meaning of the words and the music, and he calls a boy – who can read and write – to write them on my pocket book. Even if he is not longer the cacique, everyone respects him and does what he tells them to do. When I ask something to someone, they must wait for the allowance of the cacique to give the answer. Among them they communicate in Guarani..
.


FREEDOM: after the performance, I begin to become more familiar with the inhabitants of the village and the children latch on to me touching me everywhere and running away laughing when I try to communicate with them. I cannot make out the age of many women. They have a very particular body physiognomy: some mums are feeding, one of them seems to be about 15 years old. Everybody is very curious about my presence, they give me big smiles when our eyes cross, except a vague-color eyes woman, with an expression of deep sadness that impressed me a lot.
This community lives on the cattle they rear in the surrounding huge prairies and on the crafts they produce with natural materials, birds feathers, seeds, etc. and then sold in the nearby towns markets. Some of them are real works of art.
I walk around with Floriano who shows me the school, the doctor's office, the pigsty, the animals he rears, etc. He explains me that this community comes from Argentina and is semi-nomadic. In some year periods they leave the village and come back to Argentina or Paraguay, where they have other relatives. It’s for this reason that Floriano can speak Portuguese and Spanish so I can easily communicate with him. Floriano is a very nice person, he’s generous and open-minded. He tells me he would like to take his musical group to Italy, and he would have a microphone like the one I’ve got. He thanks me for visiting them because it's important for him that other people gain knowledge of his culture. Once reached a good level of familiarity, I ask him if he would ever live in town. He answers me like this: "No, I want to be free" than he tells me here he has all the necessary to live, his animals, his home, his land, his community, and he’s happy.


The following piece is entitled "Kyringue i Joguerojae". It’s a song of the Guarani Tokoa Koenju community. The instruments used are: guitar, violin, bongo, maracas. The guitar and the violin are two European instruments, acquired by the Guarani culture during the period of the Jesuit evangelization. The Guarani culture wants the guitar to have 5 strings instead of 6, and the violin 3 instead of 4. Moreover, the tuning of the instruments is very different from the traditional one. The guitar uses an open tuning, in this way, without using the left hand, it gives a chord of minor tonality and then it will be sufficient to get it major putting a finger on the first string on the first fret. The most used tuning is the: A, E, A2, E2, C, but a specific diapason doesn’t exist. The violin imitates the voice first and the stanzas then and it accompanies with two strings tuned on a third-interval. The rhythm is binary. This kind of song is used in some religious rituals. The dance is very easy and uses only the legs and feet movement. The male movements are different from the female ones. It isn’t a dance to be done in pairs.

THE TEXT:
Kyringue i joguerojae o
yvy porã ka aguypora ndoguerekovei
ore rovy a iaguã ore rovy a iaguã

Children cry together and are sad about the good land they no longer own, our happiness, our happiness...

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