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Close to There: Comfort Society: Walter Smetak and his legacy in experimental music of Bahia

Comfort Society: Walter Smetak and his legacy in experimental music of Bahia,  with Edbrass Brasil

Walter Smetak (1913-1984) was a revolutionary composer and instrument builder with a lasting effect on the experimental music lineage of Salvador, Brazil from the time of his arrival from Switzerland to his death there decades later. Although still a relatively unknown figure, his collaborations with members of the Tropicália movement as well as his long standing teaching role at the Federal University of Bahia created important lines of influence that can be seen today. Edbrass Brasil is an experimental composer, producer, and curator who is considered to be a musical “grandson” of Smetak. Brasil will be discussing Smetak’s history in Salvador as well as where his legacy can be seen today in the city’s more adventurous musical scenes.

Close to There < > Perto de Lá is an international artist exchange project between Comfort Station (Chicago, USA) and Projeto Ativa (Salvador, Brazil), in collaboration with Harmonipan (Mexico City, Salvador), made possible by the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund. By bringing members of these two artistic communities in proximity with one another, this project aims to gestate long-term artistic collaborations between the participants, share arts-organizing models from their respective socio-political-artistic contexts, and encourage creative discourse around ideas such as the African Diaspora and contemporary Latinx/Latin American identities.

The exchange will begin with a multi-disciplinary group of Salvador-based artists visiting Chicago August 9th - 29th 2019, carrying out a variety of programs, performances, and research through Comfort Station and its partner spaces across the city. In February of 2020, a group of Chicago-based artists will in turn visit Salvador to engage with the city’s creative landscape via Projeto Ativa’s network of artists and cultural institutions.

Our institutional partner venues in Chicago include:

The Poetry Foundation
Links Hall
Rebuild Foundation (Stony Island Arts Bank, Dorchester Art + Housing Project)
Spudnik Press
Co Prosperity Sphere
6018 North
Arts Incubator (
University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life initiative)

This project is made possible by the generosity of the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund.

Organized and curated by Jordan Martins, Lanussi Pasquali, and Juci Reis.
Graphic Design by Paco Barba