I met Dembore through interesting circumstances. He saw a flyer about our DJ School Spin Rocinha on the wall of the Surfing school. He called me in half belief that we had a dj school that was FREE. Dj schools in Rio are very expensive so he was very suprised to find about our project. He told me that he dj'ed in the USA, Newark New Jersey for 6 years and wanted to know if he could come by to see the school. Of course I told him, sure! I want you to get to know him a little better.
Dembore, Where are you from? I was born in Minas Gerais another state here in Brazil. When I was 16, I had the opportunity to go and live in the United States but returned after 6 years because my mother got very sick. I wanted to help my mother. After she got well, I decided I wanted to leave the rural living in Minas and go to Rio for more opportunities.
Where do you live and how long you have been living here? I live here in Rocinha after living in Rio Centro (downtown). I was working in a hotel and I met a guy who told me about a house for rent in Rocinha. I grew up very poor in a favela in Minas Gerais, so I know how the life and the rules in favelas.
Why did you decide to live in Rocinha? My friend told me about a cheap house for rent and I know Rocinha has everything. Its like a city inside a city. My girlfriend at first didnt like the idea as the media says bad things about favelas, but after a while now she likes it here.
What do you like about Rocinha? We have everything here, transportation is good, we have banks, stores and most of all the people are really friendly and helpful. When I first moved here, my neighbors offered me help with anything, food, clothes, whatever I needed. Its nice to know that people care about each other here.
What do you do here in Rocinha? I work as a tour guide with Zezinho for Favela Adventures and help with Spin Rocinha, the Dj school. We do favela visits but also try to provide a great experience showing our favela to the world. There is so much that foreigners can do here. You can play football with the locals, paintball, surfing, jiu jitsu or go to a funk party. The idea is to show the world that we in favelas can provide a awesome experience for our guests and involve other residents for the opportunity of cultural exchange. We need to show the world that the favela is so much more than the negative stuff you see on television. I like meeting people from all over the world and educating about our life here in the biggest favela in Brazil!
And the Dj School, what do you think of this project? I think this is a great idea. To learn to dj at a school is very expensive and no way youth or adults from the favela have this amount of money for this. Now that the city of Rio de Janeiro has recognized dj'ing as a profession, this will be great for our students to have opportunities to play in clubs all over the city. Or just to enjoy dj'ing as a hobby.
What do you do at Spin Rocinha? We teach the students the basics of dj'ing with hands on applications. We do teach a little about music theory and we have started recording the students mixes and getting them on our facebook page (Spin Rocinha) or soundcloud. We will start soon with music production so the students can create their own music but first we really want to develop their dj'ing skills, especially those that want to work professionally as a dj.
Is Spin Rocinha a registered non profit and do you receive funding or help from organizations or anyone? Right now, Spin Rocinha is not registered as a non profit but we ARE a grass roots non profit because Spin Rocinha does not generate any money. All our dj classes are free and I am a volunteer just like Zezinho in making this project happen. It is supported 100% through money we earn through making tours in the favela. At some point we may register but right now we like the idea that people in the favela know that Spin Rocinha exists because of the money we earn by making our tours here. The idea that Zezinho created was to use the money from the tours and put it back into the start of Spin Rocinha. We have received donations from several people. We received a mixer, microphones, a sound board. We did receive $50 from Blessings for Brazil, a NGO in Cantagalo favela, but we bought pen drives for the students to store their music and mixes created in the school.
Any special visitors to the dj school? Yes, we have had several people who have checked out Spin Rocinha. In Rio, I have some connections with clubs and somefamous dj's in the city. Dj Duda Santtos who is a radio dj for Transamerica, Flavia Xexeo and Nath Carreiro have stopped by to see our project and have given workshops. Through our tours many dj's have visited as well. We encourage people to see Spin Rocinha. And always welcome volunteers.
What do you see in your future? So many things. I want to continue working making the tours because this helps the Dj school to develop. We want to expand Spin Rocinha to a bigger place because right now the school is in Zezinho's bedroom. We want to buy a place here in the favela so Spin Rocinha can have its own home. The idea is to have a full recording studio with classroom and space for 10-15 students each class. I want to help Zezinho develop this project into the most awesome Dj school in Rio and have people from all over the world see what we in favelas can do if given the chance!
How do we contact you about the tours and the dj school? I can be contacted about Spin Rocinha at firstname.lastname@example.org or 21-7900-6845 Zezinho handles the tours and you can contact him at email@example.com or 21-8221-5572