Sounds of Rio de Janeiro

In 2020, I was awarded a fellowship from CAPES at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro. My project was to research the soundscape of the capital Brasilia, as it turned 60 years old in 2020. I wanted to document the sounds of a satellite city, rather than the monumental centre. These satellite cities have gradually evolved from planned communities to organic cities and the urban landscape has many interesting sonic features. Unfortunately, the pandemic struck and I had to cancel my project as I was stuck in Rio.

While stuck in Rio, I recorded a peculiar sound (at least to me): the ambulant street vendors. These vendors drive around in Volkswagen vans and other vehicles around residential neighbourhoods, and promote their wares through a speaker system. Each vendor has some unique way of announcing himself (the vendors were all men), screaming, rolling their r-s, et cetera. Some of these advertisements are also pre-recorded. In the future, I hope to return to Rio de Janeiro and interview the vendors and the people who create the advertisements. Below you can listen and download the different vendors that passed at my house everyday. You can listen to the recordings on the Soundcloud playlist below. In the future I will add more information to the individual tracks on Soundcloud.
Besides street vendors, I also recorded several dawn choruses recordings in the morning. The hilly nature of Santa Teresa/Catete neighbourhoods make it an ideal spot for trees to grow on patches where no houses can be built. As such, these trees are full of birds and the occasional mico (a kind of small monkey). Most of these recordings I made in the early morning so you will also hear people going to work, cleaning the exterior of the house, and talking.
Finally, February and March were months of protests against the president Bolsonaro. As normal manifestations were impossible, many people resorted to pot-banging (panelaço) This playlist contains recordings of pot banging (panelaço) in Rio de Janeiro, as a protest against president Bolsonaro. This happened regularly and still happens. As Bolsonaro’s popularity wanes, these potbangings have increased and are happening in more and more cities, including in former strongholds of supporters of him.
This research undertaken at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas, was financed by CAPES under the Young Talent Scheme with ref. nº 88887.387371/2019-00. I thank the Getúlio Vargas Foundation for hosting and assisting me.