In an age where the World Wide Web provides such an endless platform for inter connectivity and a globalisation of the music industry; we often take for granted the ease at which most of us can experience such a wealth of international musical talent. iPads, laptops, mobile phones, Soundcloud, Beatport and social media are commonplace, but this so often fails to filter into disadvantaged communities. With the Bridges for Music initiative, figureheads of the electronic music world engage with underprivileged societies, sharing ideas and making our scene a truly all inclusive worldwide phenomenon. We got chatting to Valentino Barrioseta, the founder of the initiative, to get a better understanding about this fascinating NGO.
MCBN: Hi Valentino, could you give us a bit of background behind yourself and how you started Bridges For Music?
Valentino: Before anything, Im a big music fan. That was the reason why I oriented my career to this field. Ive been working in the music industry for 11years now, doing almost everything. I started launching a website about nightlife and music 11 years ago,and from there Ive run clubs, labels, agencies, managed artists, magazines and done a few crazier stuff.
The last 3 years I worked as brand manager of Amnesia, a big club in Ibiza, and at some point I thought I wanted to put my energy somewhere else, in something more meaningful that could help moving the scene forward and doing good through music. I believed that putting my network and energy into something like this could actually be great, and here we are.
Bridges for Music was born after travelling to places like Brasil or South Africa, where you find areas like the favelas or the townships where the music culture is growing massively and where passionate people is already trying to create music schools to keep the kids out of trouble and motivated. Still the resoruces are usually very little, so we thought we could easily bring resources to them.
We also believed that there is a pattern in developing countries. There is usually a big gap between rich and poor, and when the music scene develops and international artists start to play there they can play an important role in reducing that gap or at least raise awareness.
In general , Bridges for Music wants to offer a global platform for the music industry to do good in developing countries at the same time that music develops in that territory.
MCBN: You recently featured Richie Hawtin, the god father of techno, at one of your workshops. If you could highlight one iconic piece of knowledge he bestowed upon the group what would it be?
Valentino: “Life is about finding like-minded people and sharing your vision with them” If something defines Richie Hawtin, apart from all what has already been said,is that he has an amazing team behind that share the same ethos or values. Some times younger artists don´t understand that sharing your ideas and your knowledge , music etc. makes you move forward much faster.
MCBN: Skrillex is up next this afternoon, with 6 Grammies under his belt now he is at the forefront of an alternative EDM movement. What are you hoping he brings to the table that has differed from past workshops?
Valentino: He brings the energy and enthusiasm of a younger artist, and he also brings a different sound to the townships, which is actually becoming a massive sound world wide, bass music. Every artist and every person is different, each of them have different things to offer, but the great thing is that both share the willingness of moving the scene forward and helping others. Skrillex is bringing on tour the friends that helped him in the beginning of his career, Alvin Risk and 12th Planet.
MCBN: Local talent and flavour is also pivotal in the discussions. Which local acts have featured and what critical viewpoints have been exposed from a South African perspective?
Valentino: We had so far Black Coffee, Niskerone, Sibot, Vinny da Vinci and we also had other artists playing in our free event in Soweto like Fresh&Euphonik Culoe de Song and LSG.
They are a crucial part of Bridges for Music, without them one part of the bridge couldn’t be built. They have been very helpful from the beginning and again, sharing our ideas to use music to create positive change.
MCBN: Where to from here? Who is next, what more can we expect, and are there plans to expand beyond Cape Town And Jozi?
Valentino: Yes the idea is create a system that works and implement in other countries and cities. For now, there is lot of work to do in Jozi and CT. Luciano will be next, and then many more to be announced soon.
MCBN: Are we seeing the effects of your work taking stage? Who are some of the folk from underprivileged communities that we should be on the lookout for?
Valentino: We are in a very early stage, we are working now on offering opportunities and exposure to those areas, but it needs time. There is amazing talent out there, it just needs to be discovered and supported.
MCBN: The South African scene is so multi faceted that often great talent goes unnoticed. What can we as the punters do to ensure that our local electronic music is constantly evolving and globally inspiring?
Valentino: South Africa is already grabbing world wide attention. Look at the ADE focus this year, its South Africa. There is definitely momentum out there and its time to use it in the right direction.
MCBN: Time for some fun, you are the DJ, pick your ideal setting, favourite crowd and ideal line up. What would the perfect Valentino Barrioseta party include?
Valentino: Ive never ever deejayed , Ive alwas been behind the scenes. But the best party ever was the Richie Hawtin set in Soweto. Unforgettable for everyone, such an amazing energy.
MCBN: Lastly, and obviously most importantly, you are forced into getting one of those cheesy personalized number plates, what would it say?
Valentino: ONE MUSIC.