The village of São Jorge sits at the entrance of the Chapada dos Veadeiros, a national park in central Brazil known for its waterfalls, quartz crystals and moonlike rock formations. Originally a small mining settlement, São Jorge now attracts people from all over the country and – for better or for worse – its small population of 600 is likely to increase. Some travel there believing that the Chapada’s ancient plateau holds mystical properties, while others go seeking a change of pace. “I came here from [the state capital] Goiânia in 1997 when my daughter was about to be born. Her mother and I didn’t want to be in an urban centre,” says Juliano Basso, who manages the town’s community station Rádio São Jorge and its parent organisation, the Casa de Cultura Cavaleiro de Jorge. Basso tells us about the history of the station, its roster and a forthcoming book festival.
How did the station start?
The idea came in the early 2000s but the project was on hold for years because we had licensing issues. Then last year – at the start of the pandemic – we brought the idea back and the station was born as part of a project led by a non-profit, Turma Que Faz, which offers a range of arts and nature-based activities for kids in the area. It felt like the start of a small revolution and we were able to get the whole community involved.
What is your roster like?
We have a show called Studio Chapada, which we use as a platform to share the work of local artists, as well as something called A hora de Reggae [Reggae Hour]. We also do a show that focuses specifically on music that features the viola caipira, an instrument that is very popular in the region. The president of the viola club hosts that one.
Any events coming up?
Lots of them. We’ll soon be hosting a festival centred around a type of Brazilian literature called regionalismo. We’ll be working with schools and focusing on the book O Ermitão de Muquém by Bernardo Guimarães. As part of the festival, we’re also doing a play and producing a radionovela [based on the story].
São Jorge on Google Maps
© MONOCLE Weekend Edition August 21, 2021
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