'2022' celebrates Brazil's power in music

22 songs, sung by more than 50 artists, were chosen to mark the centenary of Modern Art Week on HBO Max special

Caetano Veloso e Owerá em cena do especial 2022, da HBO Max
Caetano Veloso and Owerá in a special scene 2022, from HBO Max

The names behind the special 2022 quickly realized that it would be impossible to make an anthology of Brazilian music to fit into two episodes, each one hour long. They then chose to pay attention to the narrative power of the chosen songs and their representativeness. The result can be seen in HBO Max and, to boot, with an “extra” episode just with backstage and interviews. 

O centenary of the week of 22 it was the hook to promote encounters not only between artists from different generations but also between seemingly opposing musical genres — and that is where the beauty of the special lies and what makes it timeless.

To give some examples, in the first part, Act I, the spectator is captivated by partnerships between Caetano Veloso and the young Guarani Owerá, Késia and Leci Brandão and the Happiness Rap orchestrated and sung by Ludmilla. In the second act, Emicida and Criolo unite to sing Construction; Gilberto Gil sings with Duda Beat and Elza Soares with Renegado. 

Emicida e Criolo em cena do especial 2022, da HBO Max
Emicida and Criolo in a scene from the special 2022, from HBO Max

All performances are accompanied by works by contemporary artists projected onto a screen on stage. They are paintings by names like Arjan Martins, Denilson Baniwa, Camila Soato, Vânia Mignone and Antonio Oba. According to Daniela Thomas, the special's art director, in the conversation between music and image, one enhances the other. 

Elza Soares em cena do especial 2022, da HBO Max
Elza Soares in the scene of the special 2022, from HBO Max

The third episode, A look from within, offers behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with singers, curators and directors involved. Excerpts of songs being recited as poetry by the artists are also displayed.   

For Monique Gardenberg, creator of the special and curator alongside Hermano Vianna: “I understood that the idea was independent of someone specific to stand up and that the coolest thing would be an immense union of Brazilian music across Brazil, which celebrated the strength, the potency and her inventiveness, while at the same time reminding us of who we are.”


Mosquito, Zeca Pagodinho e Martinho da Vila em cena do especial 2022, da HBO Max
Mosquito, Zeca Pagodinho and Martinho da Vila in a scene from the special 2022, from HBO Max

At a certain point in the third episode, Emicida comments: “Although today there is a series of criticisms regarding Semana de 22, and a good part of them are legitimate, the leap that was taken also needs to be recognized. Even the friction, even the disagreement produced the need for a response, and for that alone, the movement continues to deserve reverence”. 

Emicida's speech brings up an important point that leads to other considerations: the most interesting thing about this ephemeral year is perhaps understanding, without anachronisms, how some concepts of this movement and its developments can help us to think about and improve Brazil today. 

Majur, Alcione e Luedji Luna em cena do especial 2022, da HBO Max
Majur, Alcione and Luedji Luna in a special scene 2022, from HBO Max

So, who knows, maybe one day the sentence we read at the beginning of the second episode (“if somewhere Brazil resolves itself, as a perspective and as a promise of a good meeting, it is in music”) may become reality in other spheres as well. 

Felipe Hirsch signs the direction with Lourenço Rebetez and Fernando Young is responsible for the photography direction. The musical direction is by Liminha and Kassin, with Jacques Morelenbaum conducting. 

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