Alex Minkin is an independent scholar and social activist, focusing his research on Brazilian culture since 1996. He is the founder of Ticún Brasil, an innovative social justice NGO that implements educational, social and art projects in Rio de Janeiro, as well as Brazilian cultural events in New York since 2008. Originally from Moscow, Alex studied at Yeshiva University and the Portuguese Language Institute in New York. He also co-hosts new music project Extended Techniques, dedicated to under-explored contemporary classical and jazz music. Alex is currently working on a book Seven Waves of Umbanda that traces the religion’s origins and historical developments and overviews rituals, festivals, folklore, music and the role Umbanda plays in contemporary Brazilian culture and society. The book is based on field research in over a dozen temples, texts by leading Umbanda scholars from Brazil and the US, interviews, and original video footage.