Rec Beat and Abril Pro Rock promote the music from Pernambuco

The two main festivals in Recife present this year's line-ups, but the tension between the organizers of each event is far from being resolved

Tom Cardoso
The organizers of the two main festivals held in the town of Recife have just revealed their line-ups for 2001. Rec Beat happens during carnival, from February 23rd to 27th, and is famous for presenting a wide range of rhythms in free concerts held on the charming Rua da Moeda (Moeda street). In its turn, Abril Pro Rock's 9th edition (April 20th to 22nd at the Centro de Convenções de Pernambuco) broadens its borders with a special edition of the fest in São Paulo (April 27th to 29th).

Bringing Abril Pro Rock to the stages of São Paulo was an old dream that promoter Paulo André had. "Both the press and the audience in São Paulo have always shown great interest in APR." From April 27th to 29th, bands like Ratos de Porão, Mundo Livre S/A and the newcomers Sonic Junior and Mopho, both from Alagoas, will be performing at Choperia do Sesc.

The main edition, in Recife will present new artists like Pinto e Rouxinol, Sa Grama and the electronica project D-Urb, as well as established names like Raimundos and O Rappa, besides Lobão presenting Mutantes bassist Arnaldo Baptista. "I have pursued the same formula to define the line-up for years: I need successful artists to attract the audience. If I would wait for local radio stations to help, the festival would be a flop", claims Paulo André.

He also says that it is a lot more difficult to listen to all of the demo tapes that he gets during the year than to get sponsors and promote the fest. "The people haven't the slightest idea of how many bands are trying to sound like Nação Zumbi. The other day I was contacted by a band called Yndex, from Pará (Northern Brazil). They sent me a tape called Manguezal. The cover featured crabs and the members wore straw hats" (note: crabs and straw hats were adopted by the mangue beat people in the early 1990s as symbols of the movement), says the impresario.

One of the greatest expectations to this year's edition of APR is the presence of mundo livre s/a, who hadn't played the fest in many years due to Paulo André's feud with Antonio Gutierrez, former manager of msla and promoter of the Rec Beat. The two had some misunderstanding back in 1996 and since then, the band led by Fred 04 was left out of the APR line-up. As Guty is not working with them anymore, the group is now able to perform at the festival.

Political disputes
"I don't get it, how a band like mundo livre hasn't made it yet, both in Brazil and abroad. I reckon that Guty was not ready to follow mundo livre's steps", claims Paulo André, making it clear that the dispute is far from over. "I think that the Rec Beat could happen anytime in the year, except during carnival, which has to be a space for maracatu, frevo and folk groups only".

Guty, who's having artists like Otto, Zeca Baleiro, DJ Dolores and Mudhoney perform at his fest, thinks that Paulo André's posture is conservative and childish. "The Rec Beat has always bet on musical pluralism, which, by the way, is typical of the carnival in Pernambuco", he says. The dispute has recently gained political tints - the Rec Beat is supported by the mayor of Recife, while Abril Pro Rock is supported by the state government.

While the two main cultural promoters in the so-called "Brazilian Venice" (due to its rivers and bridges) exchange accusations, agents from Salvador (Bahia) prepare to make a version of the Festival de Verão (Summer Festival) in Recife in 2002, with rock and axé music groups.