Monday, February 17, 2014


I had to go to Brasil to hear the earth sing.  I think it was singing, it could have been moaning.

We were sitting in a quiet, round glass building, the Sonic Pavillion,  high on a hill surrounded by eucalyptus and palms and that constant blue sky.   In the middle of the room was a small glass dome over a 633ft hole into the ground, fitted with ultra-sensitive microphones, so visitors can listen to the grinding sighs of the planet.  At first it sounded like a low, growling rumble, something like distant, rolling thunder.  When it cranked up the sound was more high pitched but still with that gravelly pitch.   It was quite spine tingling.  It’s not every day you get to hear the earth sing.

Sonic Pavilion is just one of more than 500 art works at Inhotim, which is a contemporary art complex sitting within a 5,000 acre botanical garden, featuring more than 1,400 species of palms alone. It's a place of enormous calm and beauty; a successful commercial venture of Bernardo Paz, a Brazilian mining magnate.

There are two dozen purpose built art “pavilions”, connected by well maintained paths edged by a tropical profusion of trees, pools and lush gardens.  A fleet of electric golf carts transport visitors between installations.   I loved being a senior citizen in Brasil, I was given priority at every cart stop.  The drivers were courteous and keen to be helpful, obviously happy in their work.  There are 1,000 employees, I wonder if they are all so happy, somehow I imagine they are. 

Another installation that captivated me was the Forty Part Motet, in a white room with 40 black speakers raised to eye-level on slim black stands. The artists recorded the individual voices of 40 members of the Salisbury Cathedral choir singing Thomas Tallis's Spem in Alium, a tribute to the first Queen Elizabeth. Each speaker projected just one voice. It was wonderful to sit in the middle of the circle and listen to the full majesty of the choir but even more enthralling to move from speaker to speaker listening to each individual, intimate  voice. 

Below are a few more shots from around the park.


  1. The idea of hearing the Earth sing is wonderful. What an unusual facility.

  2. What an absolutely magical place. It is so different from what I might have imagined in Brazil.

  3. Thank you once again for showing me a little of what you saw.
    I love the bronze sculpture but dread to think what it's called.

  4. Once again this proves that we dont know our own countries. I'd not heard of this place - maybe it is new and the word of mouth had not trickled down to us yet. I would surely have tried to see / hear it. One thing that I loved about Brazil was the people, I think them warm, friendly and alway eager to please - it was not unusual to get a hug from a sales clerk ... After say buying a pair of shoes.... I am so glad you were able to see some of the very best of what makes up brasil.

    (Is this the same man that filed bankrupcy at the end of 2013?)

  5. It looks a great place and to be taken by car is a great idea especially for oldies. Listening to the earth groan must have been eerie.

  6. Just to pick something, I love that bench made out of the huge old tree! :)


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