Relaxa – how to get through the cold and dark days

Music, Personal

This very laid-back and relaxing post should help to wipe out all the Brazilian-homesickness feelings. Especially in the winter months in Europe.

I personally first escaped the Central European winter a few years ago with relocating to the South of the continent (with a short but life-changing period of living in Brazil), and last year came back to the same four-season pattern in Berlin. I find it physically challenging to get through until end of March or so, but have found my ways. German way of saying “it’s not cold, you’re only dressed inappropriately” helps to shift the focus too. I have to say that having survived summer in Arctic, helped me too.

So, having gathered warm clothes, bought 20 types of tea and mate, I can say I’m prepared. But the crucial thing to survive the dark and cold days is to… listen to Brazilian music!

So let me share you my top 3 tracks that have magically spelled out flu, sore throat, but also depression, loneliness and other side effects of the European winter:

“Relaxa” – the message is clear either if you want to chill out after a tough week, if you’re feeling weak, or contrary – in a party mood. Painel de controle will get you in this upbeat and alegre mood.

“Na Boca do Sol” – reminds me of my Cidade Interior, Brasilia, I used to live for a while. This place, apart from being an architectural and social phenomenon, has shown me the most beautiful and unforgettable sunrises and sunsets.

“Chegou de Bahia” – of course, who wouldn’t be happier if visiting Bahia

Here I’d like to mention that next month I’ll be travelling to Africa to relax, unwind on the Cape Verde, while listening to mornas. The featured picture comes from Azores though, where, enchanted by its remoteness and beauty, I decided to discover more of the Atlantic archipelagos.

Morna – “Ocean blues”, Cape Verdian emblematic dance and music genre, recognised worldwide mostly by Cesaria Evora’s and Maria Andrade’s works

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Premiere Brasil in Berlin

Music, Personal

So here I am, based in another city with Yellow Trams. Berlin is obviously very different than Lisbon or any other place I was placed during last couple of years, but I am falling in love with it for countless reasons. Firstly, for its cafes where you can spend literally whole days and nights (but who would in the end, where there is so much going on!). I noticed that for the Kaffee & Kuche offer, pasteis de nata are very much in fashion. Secondly, for its relaxed atmosphere. It definitely grew a serious competitor as ‘the-best-city-to-live’ for London and Paris, but it is unbelievably laid-back and casual comparing with those two. Somewhat it reminds me of Barcelona back in the good old days before it became so overtly commercialised, only the weather is… well, different!

Last but not least I am amazed with the diversity: not only between the neighbourhoods but also within its inhabitants. By the morning walk I took nearby the Spree River, I heard a woman singing this wonderful Brazilian classic… And until now I just can’t get it out of my mind.

The cultural programme is just overwhelming and I am already wondering when will I find enough time to visit all the places I want to!

Speaking of which, there is a Brazilian Film Festival ‘Premiere Brasil’ in Haus der Kulturen der Welt starting off Wednesday 29th October. It presents last year’s best Brazilian productions and is prepared in the cooperation of the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival. I am sure this one will be in the top 5 of my to-do-list for the forthcoming week!

Wiki:

Pasteis de nata – heavenly-tasting custard tart, the most famous to be found in a famous pasteleria de Belem aka Pasteis de Belem. Currently conquering the bakeries worldwide.

Garota de Ipanema

Travel

Visiting Rio de Janeiro was one of my greatest dreams since I remember. Obviously, as an emblematic city of Brazil, linked with the history and culture so much, it made me expect certain clichés. Such as: healthy and good-looking people, samba, Cristo Redentor, favelas, Maracanã stadium, and amazing beaches, even close to the centre of the city.

It was more than I expected. I was lucky enough to be hosted by amazing Cariocas out of which I will name Thiago, and Jacqueline. Thiago showed me around Lapa, the most exciting part of the city in the night, and drove me in his motorbike basically from Sugarloaf mountain till Leblon, putting up with me screaming as we drove. I got to know his family and friends, his favourite acai and burger place (which makes a perfect mix of healthy and junk!). Meanwhile Jackie took me to a very famous bossanova bar in Copacabana where some political movements emerged during the military dictatorship times. The owner of the bar was hilarious, he had a typical mania of shouting on everybody after the improvisation part was over, and then inviting them back again to his cozy bar.

Nowadays, 3 years after all these happenings, I can still clearly remember the impressions, sounds, tastes and the amazingly intensive vibe of the city. Sure I will come back, it is still on my ‘livable cities’ list to pursue… Now the most interesting being I have met on the Ipanema beach was not the legendary round-shaped girl from the song, but… a wadding bird, walking gloriously between the surfers! And this is what amazed me the most: a city of over 10 million people, still being so wildly cohabited by fauna and flora. To put it straight: a Cidade Maravilhosa.

Wiki:

Garota – girl (Brazilian Portuguese)

Cristo Redentor – Christ the Redemptor, a famous monument overlooking Rio de Janeiro

Maracanã stadium – emblematic football stadium of Rio de Janeiro

Carioca – a nickname of Rio’s resident, used also to describe a specific lifestyle of Rio de Janeiro

Cidade Maravilhosa – Wonderful City, a nickname of Rio de Janeiro, which is 100% according to the truth!

Bossalova: from passion to proficiency

Music

As the weekend is approaching again, let’s come back to the core of the Carioca music. Thanks to my musically-compatible friend Antonio (aka AdB) I had a pleasure to spend yesterday’s evening with quality bossanova sounds. This special Brazilian food for thought was served by Esteban Matuke, a Chilean-origin musician based in Barcelona for over 14 years (his interesting bio in Spanish can be found here http://www.matuke.net/).

Last night he performed in one of the most trendy BCN neighbourhoods of now: Sant Antoni. Artsy, yet very cozy bar ‘El Taller’ (‘Workshop’ in Catalan) hosted the guitar sounds of MatukeBossaLove project (https://www.facebook.com/Matukebossalove?fref=ts).

Matuke performed both bossanova classics and his own works. El Taller was filled with Brazilian music aficionados, mostly women though (interesting on how gender influence the genre’s preference?).

Having an occasion to speak with Matuke, we shared some observations on our inspirations. Himself, he discovered Gilberto’s music while his father recorded cassettes with Brazilian bossanova. Back in a day, Esteban could only play very simple guitar accords, but after some time and he could finally study on how to perform bossanova. It somewhat reminds me on my tough beginnings with Portuguese: from passion to proficiency.

Speaking of passion for music, yesterday I also had an opportunity to listen to AdB’s first mix performed with his newly acquired Traktor 2. AdB is one of very few people with whom I can speak about music all night (and day anyway) long, who always shares interesting music and concert discoveries with me and we understand each other without words on that topic. Although he is just starting his adventure with DJing, AdB is a very aware listener, so I do recommend to follow his inspirations: https://soundcloud.com/antonio-di-blasi

In the world which is growing yet more commercialized and globalized, music included, I feel very grateful to still have someone to speak in the same language. Good luck with your work, gentlemen!

Wiki:

Carioca – a nickname for the residents of Rio de Janeiro

Sexta – feira da simpaticona!

Music, Personal

Sexta-feira, or ‘Sex’ as an abbreviation, means the 6th day of the week, Friday it is in Portuguese. I remember the confusion this word caused to my visitors when I was living in Portugal and they saw the ‘S’ word popping all of a sudden in the newspapers or TV weather programmes… This original name means that it is the sixth (sexta) day of a trade (feira), after the Jewish Sabbath (sabado). Actually from Monday till Friday the names of the week are referred in numbers, starting from Segunda-feira. To shorten this long description, on a daily basis you can rather hear/see in a spoken/written Portuguese: 2a – Monday, 3a – Tuesday, 4a – Wednesday, 5a – Thursday and 6a – Friday).

Anyway, hoje é sexta-feira de manhã, and I am preparing my short getaway to Ibiza to meet my lovely friends there. Looking forward not only to some entertainment, but also to reconnecting with nature and spending time at glorious beaches in the less-touristic parts of the island. This is why I keep listening this Jobim’s my all-time jazzy/bossanova/psychedelic fave about the beauty of Brazilian sertão, endangered nature and indigenous people.

However, as it is Friday in August 2014, I just cannot post this year’s revelation to Brazilian dancefloors, a funny track describing extremely nice type of a person at the party, aka simpaticona da boate. Basically, whatever you ask, simpaticona will give you!

Find below the original version (might be ‘too much’ imo) and intriguing DJ Marky’s remix.

Happy weekend (fds – fim de semana) is about to commence!

Wiki:

Sexta – feira (abbreviation ‘Sex’) – Friday

Hoje é sexta-feira de manhã – today is the Friday morning (lyrics taken from Jobim’s ‘Borzeguim’)

Sertão – rural inland area of Brazil

Simpaticona – (extremely) nice person

Boate – (Brazilian) party

Água de beber

Music, Travel

Yes, this post is dedicated to water, and the bossanova classic. But as a matter of fact, it is mostly about Brasilia, the capital of Brazil where I lived for a couple of months.

It was there where I learn for the first time, quite strikingly, how important is to water yourself properly. This fascinating yet quirky capital built in 1960s in the middle of planalto is famous for two remarkable seasons (and two mejor neighbourhoods only, anyway – shaped as wings of a plane). The humid one starts sometime in October and lasts until April and meanwhile, the word ‘chuva‘ disappears from the BSB vocab. Residents claim that even though the showers may be abrupt and heavy, this is when their city springs with the sheer beauty. I did not have a chance to see it though. Arrived in the beginning of July, thinking in terms of the European standard four seasons, I could not expect the winter to be represented by constant sunlight, 34 Celsius degrees and humidity dropping down sometimes below 15%. During my first days I realised it is not an exaggeration that one have to carry a bottle of water 24/7. I also discovered some of my faves: Água de coco, the coconut water which I misspelled awkwardly at the beginning, to my Brazilian friends’ amusement (see Wiki).

Fair enough, the cheerful bossanova classic had to come to my mind. Comparing love to water may not be so original, but is very sensual and is somewhat typical for various MPB artists. Surely tbc in some other occasion.

Wiki:

Água de beber – water to drink, a title of the bossanova classic written by Tom Jobim and sung by Astrud Gilberto

BSB – abbreviation for Brasilia

chuva – rain

coco – coconut

cocô – shit (yes, if you put an accent on the second ‘o’ when asking for the coconut water, you will make Brazilians laugh a lot)

planalto – plateau