When Vancouver reggae-rockers The Boom Booms embarked on a journey to Brazil earlier this year they brought with them their music, a desire to immerse themselves in Brazilian culture, their deep concern over the construction of the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam and a film crew.
The resulting 24-minute documentary, Boom Boom Brazil, raises awareness about environmental and human devastation, while it also captures the band’s fun-loving nature and their appreciation of world music. The Boom Booms call themselves a "family band" and their strong sense of community rubs off on people wherever they go, whether they find themselves in East Vancouver or in the lush and threatened Amazon Rainforest.
CBC Music Producer Derek Bird spoke to The Boom Booms’ lead singer Aaron Ross about the serious environmental issue underlying the short film.
Q: Why did the band decide to shoot Boom Boom Brazil?
We went down to Brazil to learn the music and the culture and get into the whole Brazilian way of doing things. We also wanted to make a travel music show. Geordie, the bass player, and I have wanted to do this since we were 19 years old! We brought a terrific film crew to cover the whole trip since we wanted to use that opportunity to cover some important topics down there. The one that jumped right to our attention was the protest that was going on about the Belo Monte Dam. This project involves building a series of dams on the Xingu river, an arm of the Amazon. The Belo Monte Dam will displace at least 25,000 indigenous peoples that live in that area. So it will flood the river basin and basically just destroy their way of life.
Q: So the purpose of the trip was to basically bring attention to this issue?
We wanted to raise awareness back in Vancouver, in Canada and really as far as we can because we think we need to really stand up and fight against projects that are putting profits before people. Especially indigenous people and their land, which is under attack constantly.
Q: So what does a band think they can do?
Man you never know what you can do, that’s the point right? Maybe we don’t do anything, but maybe The Boom Booms are the domino piece that sets off the whole revolution. So you do what you can.
Q: So it wasn’t all protesting. You had some fun? Did some shows?
We did some shows. Gota D’Água the main organizers of the protest against the dam hosted us and helped us set up some shows. They have a great video on their website that mobilized tons of support in Brazil against this dam project. In Canada hopefully we can garner that momentum for protests against the pipeline project from the tar sands.
The Boom Booms play CBC Vancouver’s Musical Nooners today! Inspired by world music, the band’s blend of Latin, pop-rock, funk, reggae and soul appeals to all music lovers. They hit the stage between 12-1p.m. PT. The outdoor CBC stage is located at 700 Hamilton Street between Robson and Georgia.