The UNIMUSICA Project was created in 1981 by the Pró-Reitoria de Extensão (Community Outreach Office) of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), and is one of the oldest cultural projects in Porto Alegre. Throughout its history, it has become a reference for both the community audience, who follows every annual exhibit, and for music professionals from all over the country, who see the project as a privileged space for the diffusion of Brazilian popular music. The schedule, which is renovated every year based on specific themes or formats, comprises of monthly concerts, workshops, meetings with artists, open rehearsals, debates, movie screenings, and lectures. UNIMUSICA celebrated its 30th anniversary by bringing many renowned composers and interpreters to the Salão de Atos. The idea that universities have a role to fulfill in the organization and dissemination of information about popular music has contributed to the pedagogical commitment that the Unimusica Project has made to emphasize the importance of diversity. By offering an open space to people of different social classes, age groups, and cultural circles, the Project aims to overcome social exclusion by encouraging a sense of belonging in the community through the appreciation of popular music.
The concerts in Porto Alegre represent, to the presenting groups, not only a contact with new audiences, but also the possibility of new networks and partnerships. The presentations of Unimusica always happen on the first Thursday of each month, at 8 p.m., at UFRGS’ Salão de Atos, and admission is free for all.
These big instrumental groups, rarer nowadays, are part of Brazil’s popular music history. Since the 18th century, barber groups (traditional musical groups formed by former slaves), along with small bandstand bands, regional choro musicians, tango groups, jazz-bands, big bands, and radio orchestras, have expressed, through the fusion of techniques, genres and instrumentations, the dynamic and hybrid nature of this kind of music.