035_G17_Spotlight_Brazil

Global_17

Spotlight Brazil destination for bands at various stages in their career, there is an opportunity to showcase different regions and to promote diplomacy between nations. Since last year, the UK embassy in Brazil has been working on a ‘soft power’ programme that targets ways to promote relations with the UK, simply by helping British artists to be more visible in Brazil. Richard Turner is the UK deputy consul general in São Paulo and also the deputy head of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in Brazil. Turner believes that music can help the UK in a number of ways globally: “Brazil is a large market of almost 200 million people and they love music. Classic British artists from a variety of genres, from The Beatles to Pink Floyd to Iron Maiden, are treated with even more reverence in Brazil than they might receive back home. This does mean that there are enormous opportunities for soft diplomacy, because when artists like One Direction visit Brazil – as they are in May 2014 for a stadium tour – the media will not only focus on the band, but where they come from. “The UK was the featured country at Rock in Rio 2013 and this gave some great additional opportunities to artists such as Florence Welch and Muse. This is a great opportunity for VisitBritain to promote tourism to the UK as well as more familiarity with the UK, which in turn can help British business leaders working here with our team from UKTI.” The USA and the UK produce a disproportionate number of popular artists appreciated all over the world. There are probably more Beatles tribute bands in Brazil than there are in the UK. This shared appreciation of music creates an opportunity for governments and diplomatic missions to work with artists to help promote their home country or region. Many artists would recoil in horror at the thought of working with their government. But if soft diplomacy is explained to artists’ management in a way that helps them understand that by promoting the band, they are promoting a region – without any need for government endorsement – then it is likely this avenue will be explored by many diplomatic missions in future. Will the British ambassador to Brazil, Alex Ellis, be joining One Direction on stage for a karaoke version of one of their new songs this May? I hope cultural diplomacy doesn’t go that far! ● Mark Hillary is a British writer and blogger with a focus on technology, work and globalisation. He is based in São Paulo, Brazil Above: The Killers, Ringo Starr and One Direction. Below: Queens of the Stone Age global f i rst quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 35 © Cambria Harkey © Fiona McKinlay Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 © Eva Rinaldi Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 © Cambria Harkey


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