Links to useful open mic guides to Sao Paulo:
I have found no useful links to open mics or open jams in Sao Paulo.
Brad Spurgeon’s findings on Open Mics in Sao Paulo:
Brazil, as most people know, is a musical country, famous for the distinctive sounds of bossa nova and samba and many other styles. It all came very much alive in the 1960s with the Tropicália music movement that transformed traditional Brazilian music – and other arts – into a pop-rock form. One of the most influential bands was the São Paulo-founded Os Mutantes, which, over the decades, would influence many musicians – including David Byrne and Beck. And there were people like Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and even people like Stan Getz, the American jazz sax player, who helped popularize the music in the west. So you would expect that Sao Paulo would be a vibrant open mic, or especially, open jam, city. But for the foreigner to step into this capital of Brazil of 20 million people and try to find an open mic or jam, it just is not so easy. The city is, yes, very much alive with music. It is just bubbling with music everywhere, from single singers with guitars in small bars and restaurants, to venues with larger stages and play areas that put on special events and live music of all kinds. But there is soooo much live music that there is practically – and I say “practically” – no need for the open mic or jam. They do exist, but in general, they are put on at the drop of a hat, in a neighbourhood bar or restaurant, with no prior planning, and mostly among friends. I hope to find more in the years to come, or through the help of readers of this blog. I have found an interesting web page about the Brazilian form of the open mic night, called a Sarau, which is open to any kind of theme, musical or spoken word or otherwise. And I have also found a page talking about a weekly open mic in Sao Paulo, but I do not know if it still exists. So here, for the moment, is all I know of for sure in open mics and open jams in Sao Paulo:
Sunday – Sarau Lua Nova, Rua Medeiros de Albuquerque 357. This is an astounding open mic, open jam, by any standard in the world. It starts at around 22:30 and goes until the early hours of the morning. It is not just a stage and a mic, but rather an open jam that takes place with all the participants sitting around a table on chairs and joining in and leaving the jam as they feel the urge. Although in my experience the music has mostly been Brazilian – the aforementioned bossa nova, etc. – I also found that I was able to take part with my own songs, and the western pop-rock variety of songs that most other open mics are open to around the world. Here is my story about my experience with the Lua Nova group of people at another venue, the Bar Varal, the second time I had taken part.
Thursday – Gênesis de Gênios, Sensorial Discos, Rua Augusta, 2389 – Jardins, São Paulo – SP, CEP: 01413-000, (11)3333-1914. Finally I found after several years of effort a real classic open mic of the kind that we see all over the world, but which is rare in Sao Paulo. The Gênesis de Gênios open mic for the moment – just about to complete its first year as I write these words in 2015 – is still unfortunately only once per month. But it is worth the monthly wait: It is a well run evening in which the sign up is very early – 6 p.m., and the music goes only until 11 p.m. The first part of the evening is the tradition open mic where performers, mostly singer songwriter kinds, take to the mic and do their songs – most of it is in Brazilian, but there are some singes doing English covers – and then at the end of the open mic there is a feature act doing a set of 20 to 30 minutes. The feature act is chosen the previous month by the open mic organizers as the one they thought was the star of the open mic. So it’s a kind of showcase. Run by a small production company, the idea eventually is to do some recordings, maybe even a CD of the performers at the open mic. So this is a classic open mic with a heart, in the heart of Sao Paulo’s Jardins district. Here is my story about my experience with the Gênesis de Gênios open mic.