By Rafaela Piccin
The fifth chapter of the #BehindTheSim series, which tells the individual stories of the professionals at São Paulo Music Week, interviews Nina Barmberg, one of the coordinators at SIM Nights.
“There was never a simultaneous occupation of music venues like the one created by SIM”, says Nina Bamberg, one of the people in charge of the coordination of the night time program of the event, held in various spaces across the city. In 2018, there were more than 400 concerts in 100 gigs in 45 venues of different dimensions, some of most important stages of São Paulo amongst them. In total, 35,000 people attended and circulated the program.
The responsibility at coordinating such evenings is huge. It encompasses mapping the space for the performances in São Paulo, contact with producers, bands and venues, receiving and evaluating proposals and the bridge between the event applicant and the partnering spaces. Each proposal has to be allocated to the most suitable space, and it must be supported throughout, so that on the actual day everything is as smooth as possible, thereby offering the public, producers and artists a truly unique experience.
“The majority of the venues that welcome the bands would not be able to host them otherwise, or they connect with producers from other areas. This becomes a network for contacts, ideas and opportunities. I think that the nighttime program will be registered in the history of Brazilian music forever, as a moment for connections”, she comments.
Nina’s relationship with music isn’t new. It started in her adolescence, when she lived in the city of Florianopolis and wrote articles about the Southerns region’s independent scene. She lived in the state of Paraiba in 2010, when she had direct contact with the Northeastern region’s scene and the power of cultural spaces. She arrived in São Paulo in 2013, where she became professionally established. “[In Paraiba] I got to know many bands, I circulated in many places and for the first time I had contact with the strength of a state culture policy, which is conducted in a very good way. Chico Cesar was the Municipal Secretary for culture, and he wished to strengthen the local culture as well as to bring in things from outside”.
In São Paulo, where she arrived thinking making a living out of production, she worked in an area that she hadn’t considered before: programming for independent venues. She was in charge of Puxadinho da Praça line-up in 2014, a key moment for music venues in São Paulo, with the establishment of new spaces and the necessity of unity and organization becoming ever-so-urgent. That’s when the collective P10 was born, formed by Casa de Francisca, Casa do Mancha, Casa do Núcleo, Central das Artes, Centro Cultural Rio Verde, Espaço Cultural Puxadinho da Praça, Serralheria Espaço Cultural, Mundo Pensante, Epicentro Cultural and Zé Presidente. “This contact with the venues gave me a broader vision of the national landscape of the bands, audience behavior, things like that. It was a very important moment in my career because it instantly put me in contact with tens, maybe hundreds of producers and artists, allowing myself to be come officially established in the market”, she tells.
With a long career and a good amount of baggage, Nina sees openings in the current Brazilian music market, such as the lack of a structured middle market as an alternative to the indie start-ups and the giant radio, TV and record companies. “The lack of support and public funding for Brazilian culture is regrettable, because we live in a country with one of the largest artistic potentials in the world, and the State has simply opted to ignore this. I believe that all creative industries will have to restructure themselves for this new reality”, she says, open to new ideas and changes.
Nina has also been a producer in other areas, but music has always been on her radar. “ During the past seven years, the majority of the works that I carried out were music-related, and that makes me very happy. It’s not an easy market, and the many political changes had a direct or indirect impact. But it’s music that unites and communicates with people like nothing else in this world. The feeling of being part of this is really good”.
Translation by: Victor Fraga