Manoela Wright: “I’m privileged for being part of SIM

By Rafaela Piccin

The third installment of the #BehindTheSIM series, which tells the stories of the professionals involved in the SIM São Paulo Music Week, talks to publicist and producer Manoela Wright, in charge of the daytime showcases, at the CCSP.


Regulars at SIM São Paulo - both public and music agents - know the importance of the daytime showcases that take place in the Adoniran Barbosa Room, an important stage within Centro Cultural São Paulo and the city of São Paulo itself. Besides the special curatorship, which has the difficult task of selecting artists from various parts of the country and the world amongst thousands of applicants, the production of these performances also represents a challenge. That’s the function of Manoela Wright, publicist and culture producer, founder of Uirapuru Productions.

Manu knows the event every well because she has been involved in the project since its first edition in 2013. She took over the showcase coordination on the third edition, following the growth and restructuring of the event. “I feel privileged for being part of this team which is mostly made of women, and for being in touch with the the global music market”, she says, noting that her function is both adrenaline-inducing and exciting. 

In 2018 alone, more than 2,000 artists from 25 Brazilian states and 22 countries applied to play. A total of 27 acts were selected, divided between the three days of the event, nine performances per day. “We have the challenge of delaying neither the start nor the end time of each attraction. Our life functions in 20-minute blocks during the event (20 minutes concert and 20 minutes break), and we must deliver a good structure and a good sound, since music is the most important product here”, she comments.

Having worked with music since 2010, Manu was one of the founders of Mundo Pensante, alongside Paulo Papaleo. At the time, Mundo Pensante functioned as a culture production company, delivering courses and small events of artistic multilanguages, focused on music. Once the initiative acquired a physical space, she decided to pursue a career in management and booking, founding Uirapuru Productions, which is now active in the contemporary and experimental music scenes.

In seven years, the agency - named after a bird from the Amazon and a Villa-Lobos symphony - has delivered concerts in important stages across Brazil. They include the Sesc institute, both in the capital and other cities of São Paulo state, plus the São Paulo state and São Paulo city Virada Cultural, the Ibirapuera Auditory and others. It has also taken part in events in Europe and Asia, such as the D’Avignon Festival and OFF Festival of Jazz’n’Marciac, both in France.

Currently, Manu works with some of the most interesting names of the female instrumentalist scene. She manages Quartabê, a project that plays with the classroom concept, rereading the work of Brazilian composers, such as Moacir Santos and Dorival Daymmi. She also follows the solo careers of three female musicians who are members of the act: Maria Beraldo, Mariá Portugal e Joana Queiroz.

Amongst many exciting moments in her career, Manu picks one which she cherishes fondly: “Being an experimental music fan and researcher, improvisation is free. [a milestone in my caeer was] bringing the Danish Globe Unit Orchestra to Brazil, after a 10 year hiatus, in a partnership with Sesc, in order to play at the Jazz na Fábrica 2017 festival”.

With projects both in Brazil and abroad, Manoela draws a parallel between the various worlds, and extracts the best from each situation. If on one hand, the music produced in Brazil is rich, on the other hand there are many setbacks. One of the biggest challenges is project funding. “We don’t get significant support for culture from the government, and with the current tenure I feel that the little bit that we have is likely to shrink”, she reflects.

While in Europe, where she’s most active outside Brazil, she notices that there are numerous efforts regarding planning time, plus they can rely on government support. “In Brazil, the support initiatives are very late (both public and private); often an expo or festival only gets support two months prior to the event. In Europe, planning gets done eight months in advance, or even a year", she affirms.

Talking about preparation, one of her next (big) steps is to create her own festival, IMPRÔ, dedicated to the music language that moves her research. She resumes her partnership with Mundo Pensante for the event, and delivers a program aimed at promoting the contemporary music production. The action takes place between September 6th and 15th in three venues (Mundo Pensante, Estúdio) and it will include acts such as joint effort by São Paulo duo RAKTA and Danish wind instrumentalist Mette Rasmussen. An anxious Manoela Wright, who has a keen curatorial eye on novelties, promises to include artists who explore new sound languages and perceive music differently in the event line-up.



Translation by: Victor Fraga

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