I know, the carnival is officially over. And I only realized it by now, maybe due to the fact that for the first time in 5 years I live in what is considered Far North Europe by the Latin standards. Where some of the best DJs (in my humble opinion) play every weekend (till Monday afternoon and beyond, depending on a place) and there is just not so much ado about it. But still, colourful pictures of my Brazilian friends remind me of that special time of the year when anything is possible!
I was lucky enough to spend the consecutive past years in locations such as Cadiz, Sitges, Praia do Pipa and Madeira which are famous for absolutely crazy festivities around that time!
I may miss the spirit of the sun, sweat and party abandon, making lifetime friends in an instant and simply ficar but to be honest, the party and cultural scene of Berlin pays off the chagne, being probably one of the most open-minded spots in Europe. Still, the city seems to be changing very abruptly from the creative hub to a business-minded city like London or Paris. I hope to grasp the best of it while I can.
When I miss the sun and Southern spirit most, I cling back to Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking friends and colleagues in town, OR I listen to various podcasts, such as Gilles Peterson in Brazil which gives a great insight into the Brazilian soundscape from samba classics, through funk to electronica. Or I secretly tap samba rhythm to the famous carnival anthem!
Em fevereiro tem carnaval… not only in Brazil! The cultural heritage between Portugal and Brazil is not only a matter of centuries – long colonial, complex relationship but also a matter of nostalgia and, once again, saudade.
So this year for a very short winter break, I pointed the Madeira Island as a destination. As it was known to me as the best place to spend the carnival outside of Rio de Janeiro or Salvador de Bahia (oh well, let’s not enter into the discussion which one is better…), I had to live the experience. And I was not disappointed, actually it surpassed greatly my expectations.
Madeira Island, a part of the autonomous overseas territory of Portugal is situated in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, and its archipelago consists also of the paradise-beach Porto Santo Island and Deserted Islands, which have no residents, as the name suggests. It is famous for its all-year long mild microclimate oscillating around 20-25 Celcius degrees and variety of flora and fauna. It is true that within one day one can experience 4 seasons, go to the beach, hike in the mountains or simply breathe the unbelievably clear air with flowery scents.
The carnival though is a special day for the Madeirenses, the inhabitants of the island. Just to mention that this island was for a long time a strategic location for the overseas travels and during the centuries it gathered not only Portuguese descendents, but also Brazilian and Venezuelan. They are very proud of their autonomous status and they also developed a very specific sotaque so to say. For the Saturday parade it takes much effort to prepare the samba groups costumes, sambadromos, choreography and what not! This year’s (2014) topic was the Sparkling Carnival and indeed, after a few hours of participating in the parade show, my eyes were wide shut/open with amazement. You can experience some of it having a look at the video attached. More happy and flowery posts about Madeira tbc!
carnaval na ilha – carnival on the island
“Em fevereiro tem carnaval” – “we have carnival in February” a famous phrase from the popular song “Pais Tropical” (“Tropical country”) telling the numberless advantages of life in Brazil
sotaque – accent
sambadromo – a place, normally a platform to show the performances of the samba schools during the carnival time