Don’t let the samba die

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

1999, Dublin opened the gates to someone who soon would become one of the most known person in the city. The flight coming from Germany, a Basque girl from Donostia arrives in Dublin Airport, takes a bus to town, carrying on a luggage of bravery and willingness, ready to discover new things and start a new life. Her English language was very poor and two things she knew about Ireland were The Cranberries and The Corrs.

“It was a kind of new language, new life, new city and new discoveries”, recalls Miren Maialen Samper

About 20 years later, we meet in city centre, she is walking towards us with her short legs and fast feet, we are heading to a place she discovered and suggested, located near Busaras and Connolly Station. The sun is becoming shy as an Irish man, she is wearing a hat and a flower on her hair.

We are passing through many kind of voices, stumbling between steps, ideas and the last news that she was updating. In her hands there is a folder with some papers and in her back a bag full of knowledge to share, and we are looking forward to let her open that to us.

We get to the Art Café, we begin to set up the connection, she greets the staff, I order peppermint tea and we find a table. She is wearing a jacket with some badges of activisms tied in it, she places the jacket on the chair, and there is a strip of "Vote’s for Women" around her shoulder and chest: Does it look nice? Do you think I can use it? What do you think? and she is straightening it with care, saying that she made it herself and it is certainly has more meaning than just a strip.

So I pour our teas, the camera is on, she tied up her hair and introduces herself in five different accents: first her native language, the Basque, then Spanish, after German, followed by Portuguese and English . I am observing her uniqueness, watching her in an attempt to discover her super powers. Miren is known as a “omnipresent”. She is in everywhere, almost at the same time and we are curious to know her mystery of being such a human.

Miren, we want to know about yourself, like Who you are – her cheeks coloured but soon she starts to tell us when Dublin came across her life and how it has changed since she arrived from the very first time, in the last Century.

Miren was living in Hamburg – Germany, and on Sunday morning she read the newspaper and saw an German spoken interview to work in Customer Service in Ireland and she thought “why not?”. It was September of 1999 when she came, in that time there was no LUAS Station in O’Connell Street, and the currency was pound. Everything so different, streets not so organized than before, but the old Dublin catch her eyes and made her fell in love. She takes English’s classes, joins groups and goes for a language exchange tour around Ireland. It was when the magic of the green island started to work and a leprechaun stuck around her forever.

Gerry is an Irish guy and German speaker who gave her one more reason to stay...but as they are two pair of wings, they decided to move again, as she got a scholarship in Brazil. They move in 2002 to São Paulo, they met many Brazilian people, travelled around many cities and learned the language and its culture. Gerry was giving English classes and students are usually taught the american accent and many people didn’t know where Ireland was, so they faced some difficulties in the matter of being integrated in there, even they have made part of groups and met Irish emigrants including an important one: Peter O’Neill who wrote “Links between Brazil and Ireland”, an independent survey that reflects some of the links that exist between Brazil and Ireland. A copy of the book is placed at UCD (Diaspora Studies Department) and some informations in the website: www.gogobrazil.com .

Miren and Gerry decided to come back to Dublin, it was when the Accession Countries happened, in 2004. A time of celebration for 10 countries were being welcomed to Ireland.

The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union, in terms of territory, number of states, and population to date; however, it was not the largest in terms of gross domestic product. (Wikipedia)

Returning to Ireland, Miren goes for a Masters in Sustainability at DIT, that she says it was one of the best decisions she have took and I dare to say that she did the best she could, because I can see that the places she goes, that everything she is up to she is really present.

Working on her teses, learning possibilities of making projects, meeting people, studying Languages and this pack of studies mixed with the taste of doing something that she likes, they were probably a step into her action and engagement with the organization Comhlamh (https://comhlamh.org/) as well as the Dublin Cycling Campaign.

As a part of the mystery, Miren is capable of managing her time with excellence and endless energy, she joins the Capoeira and the group of Forró classes and it was an opportunity to keep the link between Ireland and Brazil.

“What I really like about Dublin is that you meet really interesting people”, Miren is able to use the languages she speaks to meet new people and connecting them, especially when it is about art.

She mentions at least 5 names in our chat, sharing and promoting memories and thoughts of good moments and experiences and she finds the time not only to be present in the events but also documenting them through pictures and videos.

Miren reminds of Bianca Fachel, a Brazilian girl who used to sing the favourite song of her “Não deixe o samba morrer” (putting in English words: “Don’t let the samba die”) in a place called “La Dolce Vita” in Dublin, and then talks about others artists who sing in Grafton Street, like the Brazilians Natalia and Fabio.

I found this the proper moment to ask how and why she gives her time to promote, document and connect many artists around, and she humbly say It is just the love of the culture I have and I think is important to let people know what is happening and keep the community together.

We open the chat to hear more about the other projects she is engaged, besides the ones we already mentioned, she is also part of the Women Writers Migrants Collective and also Miren is one in between over 50 inspired migrant women in Ireland, who will be soon published by the publisher Skyline Bureau, and the pre-order of a copy of the book is already on in the link: https://www.skylinebureau.com.

“You need to think globally and act locally. You have to make a contribution to the place where you live and doesn’t need to be something spectacular”

I am smiling at her and admiring each word that she says, still wondering what is the secret of this human I have in front of me. A human with an ordinary life – with a full time job, with a home to take care of, a partner to share the life with and she still has capacity to carry on a heart that can fit the world into it. A human who wherever goes, she goes for real. Miren might think what she does is not spectacular, but for me, there is no mystery: she is the spectacle. I tell her that her days seems to last more than 24 hours, she answers to me “I try to keep my energy flowing”.

For our grand finale in our connection with Miren Samper, we go to Connolly Station. She sits on the piano beautifully instigate by John Murphy and illustrated by artist Holly Pereira, she takes her sheets music and chooses the first to play: “Asa Branca” (in English “White-wing”) of Luiz Gonzaga, then she plays "The Blue Danube" by the composer Johann Strauss II and we hope to keep watching her playing but we know: Miren doesn’t let the samba die.