Performing the Songs of Black Experience: Afro-descendant poetics and transcultural dialogues in the theatrical creation based on the Vissungo

Luciano Mendes de Jesus, University of Sao Paulo

Friday, October 08, 2021 | 01:30 pm



This event proposes to present the possibilities and potentialities of transcultural and creative dialogues between African-Diasporic songs of tradition and performing arts. Particular attention will be given to the work developed by Brazilian artist and researcher Luciano Mendes de Jesus within his project Platform Garimpar em Minas Negras Cantos de Diamante, which investigates sonic-musicalities and performativities linked to the vissungo and the construction of Afro-descendant poetics in contemporary theater. Vissungos are songs of Central African origin deep-rooted in Brazil in the state of Minas Gerais, between the 17th and 20th centuries. Currently, Vissungo songs are found only residually, as local memories or integrated into other cultural manifestations, since the social system in which they emerged has undergone profound changes over the years. However, the first records by ethnographers and ethnomusicologists, which date from the first half of the 20th century, are references adopted and adapted in Afro-Brazilian arts to the present day, especially in urban popular music.

Luciano Mendes de Jesus is currently a PhD student in Performing Arts at ECA - USP, investigating the presence of Africanity elements in the contemporary scene and the relationship between African-Diasporic and Euro-American artists, such as Maud Robart/Jerzy Grotowski and Sotigui Koyaté/Peter Brook, as well as in the creative work of Brazilian theater groups.  Since 2016, Luciano Mendes de Jesus has been developing a research and artistic-pedagogical creation project “Plataforma Garimpar em Minas Negras Cantos de Diamante”. Plataforma Garimpar explores the possibilities and potential of creation around the vissungos (Afro-diasporic songs of Bantu origin), through their history, socio-politics and mytho-poetics. The project includes performative works, symposiums, lectures, and workshops.


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