Davis Independent Music Initiative Selects Boca Do Rio as Award Recipient
DIMI was founded in 2019 when Joel Daniel, a longtime musician in the area (Contra, The Hoots, Shayna and the Bulldog) applied and received funds from the City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs Fund to write and produce an album of new songs.
Daniel was inspired to write the original grant due to the diminishing number of venues in the area for musicians to play, and the general exodus of musicians and artists from the area that resulted. “It is simply too expensive to make a living doing art while coping with the drastic increase in rents here” said Daniel on his original motivation. His own rent went up nearly 25% in the past 5 years.
As part of his proposal, Daniel asked the city not to give him the funds, unless they were willing to give it to someone else the following year, and ideally the following year, with the hope that in ten years there would be ten new pieces of music available to the community and world to enjoy (provided that the city continued to have funds available for the arts). Further, part of that initial proposal included teaching some courses to the community on songwriting, music production, and promotion. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, all things changed, and he shifted to hosting a bi-monthly virtual songwriting critique/workshop, the DIMI “Song Doctor/Tune Up” for all members of the community (and region) to attend free of charge and receive feedback on their work. The meetings are held via zoom at 8:00 PM the first and third Wednesdays of the month. A link to attend can be found here.
The Song Doctor/Tune Ups have been well attended and Daniel contends that he has seen a dramatic increase in the quality of songwriting and production from those who have been attending consistently. He encourages all members of the community and region to attend, whether they have written one song or one hundred, or just enjoy discussing writing.
Daniel applied and received funds for the pilot recipient of the DIMI project in 2020 (the second recipient after himself). A committee of members of the community was assembled (business owners, radio personalities, music fans, and musicians) to select a recipient. The committee struggled with the choices as it had twice as many applicants as expected; a sign that there is a strong interest and need in the community to provide more support for artists working to improve their impact.
Congratulations to the 2021 DIMI award recipient: Boca Do Rio
Boca do Rio (“Boca” takes its name from the Portuguese “mouth of the river” – the place where myriad streams and sources converge into one powerful, flowing, physical energy. The band started flowing when Kevin Welch and Alex Calatayud formed a musical partnership in the late nineties that would redefine Brazilian music in the Bay Area and beyond. The musical collaboration was founded in deep respect for past traditions, steeped in the sambas and choros (Brazilian ragtime of a bygone era) that echoed through the Brazilian favelas, while always evolving forward to create an organic sound that is decidedly modern and funky. Boca has a jazz sensibility – “Improvisation is a huge part of what we do,” Welch says – but samba is at the heart of the band’s music. He goes on, “I think Americans need to hear samba as much for its spirit as its musicality. It started in favelas, with African roots and rhythms blending with European parlor music, but the thing that’s important for Americans is not just the carnival aspect, but its spirit of celebration. The roots of samba are about community in the groove, just as jazz is about musicians coming together. There’s a tremendous synergy between jazz and Brazilian music.”
With the funds received by the DIMI grant, Boca will produce a new album of musical work. They will host it on an internet-based platform where it will be available for free to the community, and they will perform the work live in public at least once for free for all to enjoy.
For additional information:
The City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs Program supports community-based arts projects, cultural opportunities, and education initiatives that foster excellence, diversity, and vitality in the arts. The program is the clearinghouse for all creative activity in the City of Davis government, and serves the entire Davis community. We develop community partnerships, explore best practices, manage the public art collection, and support Civic Arts Commission initiatives.
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