Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our Goal to create a Community Center

    Foto by Jody King

Music/Dj School/Community Center

I have always wanted to do something like this. But this idea was formed with a definite goal back in 2001. I always wanted to create something great that could live on beyond me. I was a dj for many years while living in Canada, the USA and Brazil. I have always had this passion for music and to spread the love of all kinds of music. After much talking to the residents and other Dj's in the community, I thought this would be a great fit.

When I started making tours in my favela of Rocinha in 2008, I always had this idea of using the money we earned through the tours to make a project here. Nobody told me this, I just feel its the right thing to do. I did not really start to earn money until 2010. It was then my Dj school idea came to be. I spoke with many in the community about my idea and everybody thought it was a great idea. I think in the beginning many in the favela thought I was all talk. Unfortunately, like any community, you will have people who promise but dont follow through.

I always knew that I could make this happen. With a lot of working and saving money, Spin Rocinha was born on August 1, 2011. With old and inferior equipment we started running classes two days a week out of my living room in my small one bedroom apartment. Gradually over time we were able to acquire some top of the line Pioneer equipment and enrollment in the classes slowly grew. I moved out of the bedroom and into the living room/kitchen area. The bedroom because it was bigger, became the dj school. 

Many Dj’s from other countries and Brazil have given workshops for our students. Dj’s Copyflex, Lulu Rouge and Rasmus Schack from Denmark and Brazilians, Dj Tucho, Dj Duda Santtos, Flavia Xexeo are just some of the people who have passed through Spin Rocinha.

We currently have about 18-20 students enrolled in our programs. Right now our focus is on dj’ing and the techniques that go along with dj’ing. Unfortunately because of lack of funds we don’t have computers to teach production of music, but it is something we are definitely interested in as it is part of dj’ing. We do have students that want to produce but they don’t have computers or the software to do so. In the future we definitely want this to be part of our programs.

Our students are between 16-57 years old and people find out about us through word of mouth. We do not advertise because our current space can only accommodate about 10 people maximum. Classes are Monday, Wednesday and  Friday from 7pm until 9:30pm. The dj courses are free to all favela residents. For those interested in becoming a professional dj, playing in clubs etc, we have connections with some night clubs outside of the favela. The majority of our students are playing house or some kind of electronic music.

Our school is gaining more attention and we are having more people stop by to see what Spin Rocinha is all about. We can not enroll these other students at this time because we don’t have the space. So, I have always wanted to create a community center type place as I have other interests that I think would combine well with this idea. So here is an outline of what we would like to create.

Community Center & Dj School

The community center would consist of 3 floors with access to a rooftop
These are just ideas as this is open to change.

First floor
-dj classroom
-production room with computers
-recording room
-small office

Second Floor
-2-3 rooms for guests to stay
-bathroom with shower facilities
-living room area
-small kitchen area

Third floor
-open space
-bathroom (toilet & sink)
-storage room for cleaning, maintenance supplies, donations

-open for parties, events, small service area for washing, hanging clothes

The third floor Open Space will be used for various projects in the favela. 
We already have input from community members on what classes the open space could be used for. The open space would have folding tables and chairs. 

-English classes
-Art classes
-Entrepreneurship classes
-Classes for tourism, creating more favela tour guides
-Photography & Film Making
-Yoga & Meditation
-Theatre Group
-Meeting Space for organizations that need a place

These are just some of the ideas of what the possibilities are. I have discussed this idea with members of the favela who would help make these classes a reality.

Sustaining this building would come through the various visitors from outside of Brazil who would stay in the favela. 
They would pay a small amount to live in a shared room with one other person. Also, parties would help to generate income for the community center. 
Tourism will also contribute to the function of the center.

This is just a start. I would like to start looking at places but I really think it’s too soon. 
The more money we have access to, the better we can make this community center. 
No matter how this money is raised, I want all people who have helped to be involved in the process from buying the place to seeing it develop.

This is just the beginning..