Neuneuneu – St George’s, Bristol

Saw these, sat in rapt wonder last night. miss has been fascinated by the rainforests all her life, so when I saw these folk advertised I thought we’d have a night out. Miss being wholly exhausted by end of school year report writing I took a friend of miss with us. St George’s is an old church, looking more like a Greek or Roman temple than a normal church. The seating is across the floor and also in side upper galleries, and the sound is generally good throughout for what is essentially an acoustic venue.

“The first UK tour by shamen musicians of the Mehinaku tribe from the Amazonian Rainforest, performing especially composed music with the consummate interpreter of Brazilian Indian music Marlui Miranda and special English guest musicians – virtuoso kora player Ravi and double bassist Martin Brunsden.

Neuneneu’ is the Mehinaku (inhabitants of the Central Brazilian Amazon) expression meaning ‘human plurality’. For this indigenous race, every single sound is considered music – a stone rolling or an arrow cutting the air. Sound is directly related to spirituality. There are no boundaries between real life and music. They are one.”

Such a description resonates within me. Though I am an awful musician, I find deep spiritual contact though sound, so I was looking forward to this gig myself. I wasn’t disappointed. The group of half dozen shaman musicians, mostly family members (the father was there with two sons and his ‘lead singer’ daughter), and European kora and double bass players were dressed in traditional feather head-dresses and were painted in black designs over the face and whole body (made me look forward to Druid Camp, where something similar is planned :)) The music was immersed in spirit, immediately tanglible not just to me but to the two girls too. At one point I even started to drift off!

They play tonight in Suffolk, then Caernarfon, Devon, Newport, London, Bracknell and Hitchin. If you have the barest opportunity, run don’t walk, to this show.

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2 thoughts on “Neuneuneu – St George’s, Bristol

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  1. sounds awesome bish, and I guess the acoustics in the church were quite helpful. I wonder if any of their music is available for those that can’t hear them live?

    You know, my only worry about this sort of thing is that we take part of their culture/life whenever these people leave their homes

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  2. I boiught a CD of their music, Cie. Unfortunately it doesn’t have that immediacy (of course) and (of course) lacks the visual aspects of half a dozen tribal folk in full ceremonical dress stomping about the stage! But you’re welcome to have a listen – it feels very Spanish/Portugese to me in parts.

    As to your comments about the exploitation of a previously insular aborigine culture – absolutely. But we are no longer in a world where such isolation is feasible, like it or no. If we were to ‘cage’ them inside their reservation, would we be protecting them or imprisoning them. I guess you’d have to ask them, and by then it would already be too late. All we can do is treasure their diversity and try to help them protect themselves.

    Poignantly, at the end they spoke through an interpreter in order to communicate how angry they were at the casual over-use of pesticides by those felling the forests for Palm and Soya, which was killing the rivers and affecting their hunting.

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