Respect and empathy
João Bridi believes in the power of music to make a positive change
We sat down with João Bridi to discuss his experience so far and thoughts around diversity in music and society.
How do you see the LGBTQ+ movement and struggles related to it? What is the relevance of music with this topic?
This struggle meets not only my personal need but also that of the entire community so that we can live a “normal” life. It encompasses how I can work, interact, date, get married, and adopt children without feeling guilty or reproachful for doing anything inherent to human beings.
The popularization of the movement in the last decade certainly gave the community the courage to get out and assume its truth. I see that younger generations are much more confident in terms of sexuality and acceptance of diversity. However, precisely because it is more evident with the strengthening of conservative thinking in recent years, the movement has been constantly becoming the target of repudiation and even threats of losing some rights so hardly acquired. No right is taken for granted, so, the struggle must be constant, with no regression.
I believe that each aspect of art forms a pillar of great, equal importance in this process of dissemination and strength for the movement. Art in general, because it is intertwined with human culture, covers different audiences in different ways, but all forms have the same objective. Music, as one of the fundamental pillars in this process, is an easily accessible language, widely disseminated worldwide, whether through concerts, TV shows, or music streaming, so, when we play, we are “touched”. That is, when we bring our strength to our singing and playing, we also touch people's hearts.
What are the challenges or difficulties that people from LGBTQ+ community could face in their life?
I think the greatest challenge is still on a personal level. Self-acceptance, of all things, is the most empowering tool a person can have. It is the one who gives us the strength to face prejudice and daily challenges just because we exist and dare to be who we are.
Certainly, the greatest difficulty we face is physical violence. Violence often leads to death. As much as the divergence of ideas and verbal aggression deeply and psychologically hurt an LGBTQ+ person, nothing compares to the pain of losing a person whose only “flaw” was loving and having the courage to be who they really are. It is not uncommon to come across news of physical aggression and murders against LGBTQ+ people in defence of supposed good customs, God, and family.
To what extent can artists contribute to greater acceptance and respect for LGBTQ+ people by society?
There is no way to separate these two aspects. My relevance as a person is largely due to my work as a musician. Music was my strength throughout my acceptance process, and it gave me professional and personal visibility. Today, when people look at where I've come to be who I really am, I want them to feel this safe, inclusive, and accepting place that music provides. When we're all playing together, at that moment we're all “speaking” the same language.
Artists have more acceptance than ordinary people in terms of their freedom of expression and opinion. By having admirers and fans of their work, artists end up becoming a reference not only in their art but also in their way of acting and thinking. Therefore, it is practically an artist's duty to promote inclusion, non-discrimination, and respect for diversity. When a person sees that their favourite artist is inclusive and without prejudices, there is a great tendency for that person, through influence, to become more inclusive and less prejudiced as well.
The risk we run of having only artists who are part of the community defending our struggle is that we would never be able to “burst the bubble”. However, with the support of heterosexual artists, our ideals reach people that perhaps we ourselves would never reach. I believe that both cases have the same importance but with different purposes. While heterosexual artists “burst our bubble” and take our cause further, the LGBTQ+ artist, for the most part, empowers and encourages people in the community, often oppressed by the environment in which they live, to look at themselves from different angles, and be more compassionate and self-accepting.
What are the main points that can contribute to reducing prejudice?
Two factors are essential: respect and empathy. It's not because you don't live or don't feel that it doesn't hurt other people. Therefore, respect for differences and the ability to put yourself in the other's shoes is extremely important, not only about our cause, but in any situation and any struggle or human ideal.
“There are so many... Those who are part of a “minority”, because they are already living this reality, almost always embrace other causes and feel them as their own. Among others, the most discussed in our current scenario end up being racial issues and the fight against misogyny, are the issues that move me the most lately.”
João Bridi was musicalized at the age of 9 through the keyboard/piano, having continued his musical studies he began learning with wind instruments in 2001 at the Martial Band of Colégio São Luiz (Brusque/SC), with which he participated in an exchange of bands in Germany. At the age of 16, he began to receive guidance in transverse flute from Professor Leandro Gaertner, who instructed him until 2008 at the Carlos Gomes Theater Music School in Blumenau/SC. In 2007 he entered as 1st place in the entrance exam of the Degree in Music of FURB and, in 2009, he also entered as 1st place in the Superior Course of Instrument - Transversal Flute, at the School of Music and Fine Arts of Paraná - EMBAP, where he studied and graduated with Professor Giampiero Pilatti. Throughout his training, he participated in several groups such as Univali Symphonic Band, Univali Orchestra, FURB Orchestra (with which he was Soloist in the Santa Catarina Circuit of Orchestras in 2008), Curitiba Flute Quartet, EMBAP Symphonic Band, EMBAP Orchestra, Blumenau Municipal Band, among others. João participated in several masterclasses and music festivals with flutists such as Alberto Almarza (Chile/USA), Curt Schoeter (Brazil/Italy), Michel Bellavance (Switzerland/Canada) and Maurício Freire (Brazil). João has taught wind instruments at the School of Music of CESCB (Brusque/SC), Barão do Rio Branco School (Blumenau/SC), School of Music Txai (Pomerode/SC), School of Music ABC (Blumenau/SC), and, since 2009, is a teacher and conductor of the Wind Orchestra at the School of Music of the Carlos Gomes Theater (Blumenau/SC).