Support needed to bring Brazilian Pipe Band to Granite City

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Financial support from the North East is being sought to help bring a kilted Brazilian pipe band to the Aberdeen International Youth Festival (AIYF) this summer.

Vieira Brum’s Piper, a ten-man pipe band that hails from the poverty-stricken favelas of Rio de Janeiro and performs in full Scottish dress, needs £9,000 to travel to Aberdeen, after being invited by AIYF.

The band was created by a young team of Brazilians as a social project to help youngsters in disadvantaged communities. The social programme helps supportyoung people get out of drugs, prostitution and gangs by showing them a different perspective on life by introducing them to Scottish music and culture.

Having watched Vieira Brum’s Piper perform at an oil and gas event in Brazil last year, Subsea chief executive, Neil Gordon, is hoping the band can bring some of its “Scottish” samba soul to the Granite City.

He said: “Listening to Vieira Brum and hearing their story of helping young people escape from the favelas, inspired me and I’m determined to try and help them find the money to come to Scotland. This would be a dream come true for the members of the band, most of whom could never dream of seeing anything of the world or of the country which has inspired their music.

“There is a strong connection between Brazil and Scotland through the oil and gas industry. We invited the band to perform at Rio Oil & Gas 2016 and the quality and enthusiasm of the musicians blew us and many of the visitors away.

“I have been in contact with friends and business colleagues as well as the Braemar Royal Highland Society which I’m a member, to raise their profile and help make their dream a reality. The work these guys do really does get disadvantaged and vulnerable children out of poverty, gangs and drugs.”

James Wood, secretary of the Braemar Royal Highland Society commented: “To hear the story of how this band was formed and how they help communities is something we greatly admire. I do hope they manage to make the trip to Aberdeen and get a real experience of Scottish culture and hospitality”.

Despite never having been to Scotland nor having any links with Scotland, the founders of the band share a passion for Scottish culture and bagpipes.

Vieira Brum’s Piper drum major, Jhonny Mesquita added: “Visiting Scotland has been a dream of ours for many years, one which we never thought possible. We have been lucky enough to secure funding for food and accommodation from the organisers, however we simply can’t afford the travel costs.

“Many of our members come from poorer areas of Rio. We see children falling into a life of crime, drugs and prostitution. The work we do enables us to support local charities, steering these children away from gangs and into music and Scottish culture.”

It is this charitable ideology that has encouraged the organisers of the AIYF to invite the band to Aberdeen this summer. The AIYF is an annual, multi-arts festival running from the July 28 to August 5 which hosts acts from around the world. The nine-day festival aims to inspire those within their chosen art form and encourage the next generation to pursue the arts and realise their potential.

Stewart Aitken, artistic director of AIYF said: “We have been working with the band for a number of years trying to find ways to support their participation in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. AIYF is an annual celebration of cultural diversity with collaboration, performance and sharing of creative talents from around the region, the country and from across the world and the Viera Brum Pipe band would be a fabulous addition to the mix for 2017 with their fusion of cultures and desire to come and share and work with local musicians. If people can help make their dream come true to play the pipes in Scotland it would be wonderful for the band and the festival programme for 2017.”

Those wishing to donate to the cause are asked to visit:  Justgiving website and search for Neil Gordon in crowdfunding pages or www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/neil-gordon or to contact Neil at Subsea UK directly: neil.gordon@subseauk.com

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