Press & Media

UK Radio: BBC World Service (June/2016)

Brazilian Radio: Rádio CBN (July/2015)

(click logo below: clip starts 18:48 – in Portuguese)

Brazilian Press: O Dia Newspaper (Feb/2015)

“The trumpet player Tom Ashe saw in the Pereira da Silva favela an opportunity to disseminate his knowledge. Resident of Rio for 7-years, he’s responsible for the Favela Brass project which offers free music lessons for children between 4 and 14 years of age who live in the favela. The instruments are all donated.”

Brazilian TV: TV Brasil (Feb/2015)

UK Press: The Longridge News (July/2014)

UK Radio: BBC Leeds (June/2014)

UK TV: Channel 5 News (June/2014)

International Press: Le Petit Journal (May/2014)

“The place quickly becomes a cacophony of sounds coming from all directions. But on walking into room or another, you can see caring adults, who know how to work with children and who are managing to turn rigourous learning into a real pleasure…”

(click below for full article in French):

Brazilian TV: TV Brasil (December/2013)

Brazilian Press: Veja Rio (December/2013)

(Text translated into English)

Afternoons in the French Square in Santa Teresa have become more musical over the last year. This is the location of the Welcome Mission Centre, the institution where the British trumpet player Tom Ashe teaches 26 children between the ages of 7 and 14 from the Pereirão, Fallet and Fogueteiro favelas how to play brass instruments such as trumpet, trombone, euphonium and tuba as well as how to read musical notation. “The samba schools have ended up creating a plethora of virtuoso young percussionists, but the brass tradition that Brazil had back in the 1940s has been lost over time”, explains Ashe, 34, in his uneven Portuguese. Seeking to rescue this musical heritage, and imbued with a desire to help to improve the lives of the children in the nearby favelas, he resolved to go back to basics by teaching Rio’s classic songbook. The little ones start with songs such as Cabeleira do Zezé, Asa Branca, Rap da Felicidade and the class favorite Mulata Ye Ye Ye. “I asked them what they liked to listen to, and they responded: Bonde das Maravilhas”, tells Tom, who was subsequently shocked when he then learned about the group of young girls who popularised the erotic dance the “quadradinho de oito”. “I ended up going for Carnival songs, which everyone knows.”

In love with samba music, the trumpet player decided to exchange Europe for Rio six years ago as a way of improving his musical knowledge through first hand experience. At the moment he makes his living from the two jazz bands that he plays in. The teaching project is touched by the difficulties inherent in attempting this type of activity. Unable to afford new instruments, he brings second hand ones over from England. To cover wage costs, Tom has organised what is known as the Curry Clube. Every Wednesday he prepares Indian food and opens his house in the Pereirão favela to an average of 30 diners who pay 20 Brazilian Reais each. It’s hard work, but he assures that the result is worthwhile. “I thought that maybe three in ten of the kids would take to music, but as it happened they’re all into it. It’s great to see kids sharing in the enjoyment of making music.”

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Bindu Mathur

Bindu Mathur was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and worked for 10 years in London as a TV producer/director, making science and history documentaries for the BBC, Discovery and Channel 4. She also made videos for international NGOs and has filmed in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and South America. Resident in Rio de Janeiro since 2007 she is the owner of the award-winning Casa Beleza B&B in Santa Teresa, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is a long-time collaborator with Favela Brass including making films for the project. Her children also studied at the project.

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