Last week, I had a chance to meet Claudivan Souza e Silva, conductor and founder of JK Jazz Band in Diamantina.
Originally from Rio de Janerio, Claudivan came to Diamantina three years ago, and founded the first Jazz Band in Diamantina. The initial ‘JK’ stands for Juscelino Kubitschek (1902-1976), the president of Brazil (1956-61) whose notable work includes the construction of Brasilia as a new capital. Kubitschek, also known as‘JK’, was born in Diamantina. Today, his childhood home is a museum, and this became the first home of the JK Jazz Band, where the first performances were held.
With all of the diverse musical heritage of Diamantina - from Baroque to Chorinho - I had somehow assumed that Jazz is something already fully integrated into the culture. To my surprise (and ignorance), Jazz is still a new music genre in Diamantina, and Claudivan is the first musician to establish a Jazz Band!
(This kind of surprise is an example of the unique features of a digital residency - through these online conversations, sometimes I find myself turned upside down by the realisation that I have made some unconscious assumptions based on my own musical upbringing. If this was a residency in which I could visit the place, this realisation may not be so clear to me as each cultural encounter is so immediate and intuitive. Prior to the meeting, I had prepared some questions which were sent to Claudivan – but after the first few minutes, I quickly realised my questions were completely useless! A digital residency can be an exercise of imagination!)
Throwing all prepared questions out of the window, I asked Claudivan – how has the local people reacted to Jazz as he established the JK Jazz Band in Diamantina?