Sound and Multimedia project in the community of Vila Aliança, Rio de Janeiro

Vila Aliança is a favela community two hours from downtown Rio de Janeiro. In Summer 2010, three graduate students from the International Affairs (GPIA) and Media programs of the New School University carried out a sound and multimedia project in the community with nine local children and youth between the ages of 15 and 19. The participating youth were all members of a local percussion group, Percu’Som, which is a music project facilitated by a local NGO Ponto BR and run by Paulinho Sérgio Cardoso.

BanguDuring the two-month project, New School students taught the participating youth how to approach their community through sound exploration and sound mapping. Students learned technical skills necessary for music production and explored their community by recording sounds they hear each day in their neighborhood. The project’s aim was to encourage youth to express their thoughts and passions through music, paying attention to the positive sounds of their community.

The Vila Aliança Sound Project incorporated human rights concepts, music appreciation and technical sound recording and editing skills. At project’s end, students produced an audio and video piece that was screened for friends, family and community members.

The first video piece, recorded and edited by Jaime Lebrija and Flannery Miller from the New School, showcases the workshops that were carried out over the two month period in Vila Aliança. It highlights the everyday lives of the youth in the community and demonstrates their amazing talent as musicians and their aspirations as youth living in a vibrant but challenging environment.

The second video is an audio piece, mixed from interviews recorded in the community, environmental sounds, music samples from vinyl records and live music played by the youth who participated in the course. The piece was created by the youth from Vila Aliança over the summer of 2010.

PontoBR e Percu’som – Bangu, Rio de Janeiro from Ja Lebrija on Vimeo.

Click here to read our article about another Rio de Janeiro IFP Project: Photography Project in the community of Maré.

Bangu2lThe Rio de Janeiro Program is one of several International Field Programs (IFP) offered through the New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs. During summer 2010, 15 students from GPIA worked on eight projects, of which four focused on children and youth. Each project inspired and empowered the participating children, youth and adults to use media and citizen journalism as tools for social change.

GPIA students worked in collaboration with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and with the valuable support from local undergraduate students attending PUC-Rio (Pontifícia Universidade Católica).

The Brazil IFP is coordinated by Professor Peter Lucas of GPIA and provides New School students in New York with the opportunity to plan and implement projects related to human rights in communities that most people visiting Rio de Janeiro never see. This summer, students worked in the communities of Rocinha, Cantagalo, Complexo da Maré, Cidade de Deus, Vila Mimosa and Bangu.
To find out more about the GPIA International Field Programs, please visit the program web site at

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