Brazilian Jazz Carnival in Berlin

Music

Two years have passed in an Augenblick (like Germans like to define “the time that flies”) since I have moved to Berlin. I would lie, if I said I don’t miss Barcelona, Brazil, Portugal and my hometown Poznan from time to time. Travelling is relatively cheap and easy these days, at least to some of these locations though, so I don’t happen to be homesick too often to be honest.

Especially that I feel very happy where I am now, both personally, and professionally, and Berlin keeps surprising me every day with its amazing cultural offer. I even realised how I can cope best with the dark and cold days throughout roughly half of the year. Concerts and dancing are among my most powerful weapons!

It is also fair to say, that during these two years, I have met amazing people from all over the world sharing my passions and at the same time showing new perspectives, opening my mind and enriching my life.

More importantly, I keep speaking Portuguese. Be it at work with my Portuguese-speaking colleagues (or those wanting to simply learn and practice!), be it with my good old or newly acquired friends. Berlin has an incredible offer of Latin American movie festivals as well as concerts of all the music genres,  out of which I happened to see two of my Brazilian jazz gurus this year already.

I am very honoured to have seen Ed Motta earlier this year, and Azymuth trio only yesterday. There are very few artists which inspired so many DJs and producers much as they did. Actually, I can’t think of any dancefloor which wouldn’t go crazy if a DJ dropped ‘Jazz Carnival’, regardless of the location. As a consequence, their tracks have been often remixed and incorporated into legendary mixes. I was hoping to see them live for a very long time, especially when I noticed that they were featured at the Boiler Room session and announced their European tour.

A thought that occurred to me yesterday, was about the universal and timeless aspect of music. Even though Azymuth members could be my grandparents, and most of their tracks are much more older than I am, their sound is moving the crowds to a state of frantic trance.

Muito obrigada, Maestros and long live Brazilian jazz!

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All…garve pt.2: Sotavento

Travel

Following up on my post about Far Out Faro, I would love to focus on the Leeward (port. Sotavento) side of the Algarvian coast. This part of the region includes Faro itself, but also picturesque towns like Tavira, Loulé, Olhão or Vila Real do Santo António, bordering with Spain by the Guadiana river.

Leeward coast is particularly close to me, as during the time I lived in Faro, I was often visiting the neighbouring towns, as well as inland points of interest. Worth mentioning that I stayed for a couple of weeks in the village called Pechão on a volunteering service for the local communities, preparing the international part of the anual Festa. If you visit this region between spring-autumn, you will be amazed by the quantity of festas, local festivities, for different reasons: fishing season, cattle growing, and much more (and even more abstract – as there is always a good way to celebrate good times!). Many of these festivities are closely linked with the Catholic festivities (like name days of various Santos, patrons) but they incorporate a lot of ludic elements.

During my stay in Faro and Pechão, I was exposed to some very forward-thinking manifestos of the left wing activists, promoting well-being and equality on different levels. Worth mentioning that this part of Algarve is interesting for various, often borderline awkward reasons. The traditions of building bone chapels in small villages, the architecture showing years of different impact of various cultures and religions as well as food are very recommendable.

Moreover, Algarve is not only, as majority may think, the picturesque coast. Bordering with Alentejo you may find gems like Pego do Inferno, crystal clear waters waterfalls on the hilly trekking path. If you have time, I would recommend cycling around the region, as my Portugal-loving friend does it actually quite regularly!

Last but not least, you might consider taking a local ferry to several islands around Faro and Olhão where you can watch birds (including storks and flamingos!) and enjoy the remoteness. And, oh well, the sunsets… Or this dog, selling cigarettes in the local loja (port. grocery store).

If you are still not done with the beauty of the South of Portugal soon I will take you on the trip to the West side of the coast: Barlavento.

Vou festejar!

Music, Personal, Travel

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!

Carnaval na Ilha

Travel

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!

Wiki:

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