“You must participate in the creative world you want to become part of. So what if you have talent? Then what? You have to figure out how to work your way inside. Keep up with what’s causing chaos in your own field.”

~ John Waters, filmmaker

This week I think I am writing to myself.

Things have changed once again. After the latest government update, I instantly picked up the phone to call one of my mentors in a panic. This was it. Our business was going down a slippery slide. It was over. The virus had beaten us.


“We’re fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them.”
~ Ram Dass

As life begins to return to a new normal, I am aware of how noisy the world is. I wasn’t before. I wasn’t listening, busying myself with my work, my family, my life. But when the world stopped, there was silence. A silence which I suspect many of us have never experienced before. Certainly those of us who live in big towns or cities, where it is never truly still.

For a few weeks that stillness was enforced upon us. At first…

“With dextrous fingers, millions of nerve endings and incredible coordination, you have the power to manipulate things, move things, make things.

Making something might just change your life.”

Photo by David Fanuel

I’ve been reading James Otter’s new book , Do Make. It’s reminded me of how much I enjoy the process of creating. Not always with the goal of finishing. But making the time to start. The preparation, the planning, the creating, and if I’m feeling bold, the finishing.

The age old saying “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” sweetly reminds us that this wonderful journey of life is not about how it ends, we all know that part. Or even when it ends, we don’t want to know that part. But the roads travelled to get there. The paths…

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve seen the same question being asked:

What would you tell your younger self?

I understand the question. Using the knowledge and wisdom you have accumulated over the years, what would you gift to your younger self.

The problem is, I was pretty fearless. At times fierce and cut-throat. I think if I would have told my younger self anything she would have told me where to put it. I put myself first, ALWAYS. I took on new tasks and adventures with curious excitement.

After 43 rotations around the sun I have learnt many…

I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard the phrase “I can’t play that. I don’t have any rhythm.” It’s usually in reference to playing drums. Big samba drums or hand drums during one of our percussion classes or workshops.

This protesting phrase ALWAYS comes from an adult.

Yet when we lead classes in schools, the young people participating are biting at the bit to get their hands on the sticks and beaters to create an almighty unified rhythm with their class buddies. (There is always one soloist.) No fear, no worries and usually no idea what…

I’ve been practicing Capoeira for 20 years. If you’ve never seen, heard or experienced Capoeira before, it is a Brazilian art form which intricately weaves together a martial art, percussive music, storytelling through songs, dance and community.

It’s vast, delicious, difficult, healing, fun, fast, slow, challenging, easy and everything in between.

I’ve been teaching it now for almost 15 years.

My body, although in continuous transition throughout the years, knows what to do. That’s not to say that I have mastered it all. Far from it. I still feel like I’m on day one. But from time to time I…

The world appears smaller today than it did yesterday. The internet and travel makes it possible to speak to someone in almost any part of the world.

Are we connected? Maybe more than we think.

As we sink our toes into the grass or walk along a sandy beach, we are grounded. The energy of the earth feeds up through our bodies sensors (our feet) all the way to the tip of our head. It affects the chemical balance in our bodies and makes us feel good.

When I was little, my aunty Shirley use to encourage my brother and…

I used to have a hammock. In another life. Back when I had a house with a garden. I considered it a luxury item.

If I had the time to lay in it, I must be doing ok.

We now live in a little flat, an outdoor space of our own a distant memory. But we still have a hammock. Two in fact. Humbly hanging rolled up in our lounge, ready to be used as and when the time calls.

The hammock now serves a different purpose.

Classic in its design. Over the thousand odd years of its existence, its…

My first experience of life in a Favela, was Rio de Janeiro in January 2001. Long before myself and Biscuim became united and long before Brazilarte was even a spark, I travelled with a group of 8 others. Six of our group were booked into a hotel in Santa Teresa whilst we waited for another room to become available in a weeks time. I volunteered with one other to stay elsewhere.

It was in the house of artist Alexandre, which happened to be on the doors of a favela. It was a sweet and simple little house with everything we…

Last week, as part of the Wild Women Camp — online event, I gifted myself time to enjoy workshops throughout the weekend. What with life’s demands, I wasn’t able to attend as many as I wanted but ticked off all those on my wish list. Two of which sat dear to my heart.

Tea Ceremony
Cacao Ceremony

(If there was one for coffee, I would have been there also.)

Consuming tea, cacao and coffee help me feel grounded. Connected to nature and life. …


Thoughts, ideas & findings from Brazilarte Co-Founder Emma Gibbs De Oliveira www.brazilarte.org

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