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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Lisboa does not love?

Personal, Travel

First of all: this post is all about love. My everlasting love for Lisbon.

Secondly, it is about sustainable tourism, gentrification and all the negative things that make me think if I should continue writing this blog ever more.

Lastly, it is about the sadness about losing the authentic touch for which I initially fell for when I decided to move to that city, and re-visit almost each year.

So what happen this month? I had a chance to travel to Oporto where not so much changed and then spend a couple of days in Lisbon for the Lisb:On festival and visiting my friends and favourite places.

While I’m very interested to see the rising number of people talking about Lisbon’s unique atmosphere, as well as observing the interest of the investors in the start up scene out there that make the city a living entity attracting expats and creative workforce, I am very worried about Lisbon’s entering solely commercial path.

I’m tired about being bothered by street selling, exactly the same like in Rome, Barcelona or Venice, being approached by tuk-tuk drivers (what does it have to do with Lisbon anyway?!) or being treated like a tourist anywhere I go. Even if I know the city well and speak Portuguese. And don’t act out like a prototype tourist. Website Lisboa-Does-Not-Love.com lists the reasons why massive tourism is destroying the city and its morale and acts as the code of conduct while in Lisbon, but will it stop the massive tourism craziness?
I had to spit out my frustrations about the changing landscape of one of my beloved cities, and pose an open question: should we advertise for places we think are unique? Of course the sole act of visiting will not destroy the well-kept secret, but the scale of reach out via travel/lifestyle blogs may actually lead to it.
That’s why with mixed feelings, I’d like to leave you thinking about which direction can Lisbon take to prevent from becoming another tourist-fuelled city like London, Barcelona or Venice? I care too much about Lisbon to simply never visit again, as this replicates the scheme for which I moved out from Barcelona and hope never be forced to relocate from Berlin.
I love all Lisbon, much as I do love Barcelona and can’t keep falling in love with Berlin. What I’m just pretty sure about is that they don’t love massive tourism.

Nôs Terra

Travel

Lisbon is especially interesting place for those who would like to discover not only Portuguese, but also Afrolusobrazilian culture.

It is a perfect place if you go to different Portuguese-speaking destinations, either as a stopover location or a final destination. To me Lisbon served as both for the past couple of years. After a brief episode of living in Portugal, I always felt certain nostalgia (cliche term of saudade is definitely relevant here) after this place and longing to travel to Portuguese-speaking destinations.

So last Christmas I gave my heart to the archipelago of Cabo Verde and of course, made a stopover in Lisbon. Apart from some very interesting animation show at the Praca de Comercio, there were some other highlights of that short stay, such as joining capoeiristas by the sunset.
This is where a friend of mine, who is very influenced by afrolusobrasilian culture, introduced me to some cultural associations and places where typically descendants of Portuguese-speaking African countries organize their concerts, events or festas.
I was also lucky to try the typical food from Cabo Verde: cachupa, before actually reaching my final destination. Be it Cabo Verde, Sao Tome e Principe, Moçambique, Angola or Guiné-Bissau, or even further in the world: Timor Leste, Goa or Macau – you will find all the places inside Lisbon, like travelling without moving.
Obviously, this has to do a lot with the history, and multiculturalism of Lisbon is an effect of post-colonialism processes. Upon my arrival from Cabo Verde I started digging deeper the topic of the descendants of the African countries living in Lisbon. ‘Nôs Terra’ shows the day-to-day specificities and also struggles of the Caboverdean community in Lisbon. It shows processes familiar to everyone who ever relocated, the in-between state of not belonging anywhere (the country of origin and current location).
I hope though that the unique multiculturality of Lisbon will stay a value itself. Music industry has already spotted Lisbon as one of the most interesting places in the world and so is becoming with art in general. There is no place like Lisbon, colourful, diverse and full of inspiration.

Women Who Travel

Personal, Travel

This post is not dedicated to any particular journey I’ve made. This post is about women who travel: independently, in a creative and respectful way. Just the way they live their lives. They are no abstract protagonists, they are represented by women I know in my family (starting from my awesome Mother), my friends and colleagues, and finally: myself. However, the happenings from last week in Ecuador proved how fragile our freedom for travel is. I want to dedicate my own personal Women’s Day tribute for the memory of all the female travellers who lost their lives because of sexism, misogyny and fundamentalism.

There is so much anger in me, although initially there was simply immense sadness when I heard about the unbelievably brutal and pointless murder of two Argentinean women travelling in Ecuador. Sadness gave way to anger when I analysed the language of the press coverage: initially putting the blame on the travellers to be behave reckless, inappropriate, and visiting the dangerous places. Calling out to parents, why the hell they let them travel alone. In 2016, really?!

This could be me. I travelled alone (not even with the other friend!) thousands of miles in my life, simply because I like discovering things at my own pace. Other times, I travelled ‘only’ with my Mother, or my female friend(s), and I met so many great, like-minded women on my way! I always try to inform myself about the place I’m travelling to, the customs and things to take into consideration, and I never seek out the dangers for the sake of adrenaline rush. Still, I was mugged only once, the luggage that got lost, got back to me through the seven mountains and jungle, and I never had problems with unwanted sexual attention, as I knew how to handle such situations within clean communication and in a respectful way, if needed.

Still, I have to consider myself luck, as this shit is still happening, at a very creepy scale. Unnamed authorities calling us to cover our bodies, be accompanied by men or family or stay at home at night, as if we were an object to carry. I am very frightened to see this conservative trend taking over in many countries around the world and I want to voice my scream against the freedom of women around the world, the explorers, the curious, the mindful and the half of this beautiful world!

Don’t let us scare off, close at home, force into relationships for the only sake of protection (disclaimer: I don’t have anything against the great couples, I’m just putting a broader context!) which ultimately leads into manipulating us more easily. At no other times women had a better financial situation and travelling was considered easier than nowadays, in general. I would like to embrace all my experiences that made me a person that I am now: open for changes, diversity and uncertainty in life, able to risk and step out of my comfort zone to deep dive into something new. And I would like to thank to all the amazing people I met on my way that acknowledged the fact I love travelling alone, and making it an unforgettable story of its own.

RIP Maria José and Marina.

Que bandeira

Music, Personal

“Faz um ano, faz, que eu tenho muita paz
Quase um ano tem, e tudo muito bem
E se eu não voltar, não vá se preocupar
Todo mundo tem direito de mudar

Que bandeira que você deu
Que bandeira, não me entendeu
Caretice tua chorar
De maneira aqui pra brigar (…)”

These lyrics, coming from Marcos Valle’s ‘Que bandeira’ classic tune are one of my all-time favourites. The essence for non-Portuguese speakers boils down to being free to live wherever you want, being the owner of your destiny, choosing your future regardless of your origin.

“(…) Eu não voltei
E eu não voltei porque agora eu sei
Naquele papel eu ia pro pinel
E se alguém disser que eu me desmontei
Sou dono de mim e faço o que quiser

Que bandeira que você deu
Que bandeira, não me entendeu
Caretice tua chorar
Caretice tua brigar (…)”

So it’s been almost one year in Berlin. It’s good to make a retrospective of what I planned to accomplish, and what I actually did. The most important thing is that I feel happy, although the fact is that I am very free to travel and re-visit my beloved places. I have also started gathering my learnings and thoughts on my paralel blog: Berlinering, where I describe my current experiences and soon will publish some sort of essence of my first year in Germany.

‘(…) Sigo te querendo, te cantando, procurando uma desculpa,
Te querendo mais.
Vou te cantando, te querendo, procurando uma desculpa,
Te cantando mais.
Sigo procurando uma desculpa, te querendo, te cantando,
Te querendo mais
Vou procurando uma cantada, te querendo, me desculpe,
Te cantando mais

Tou sabendo de você
Tou sabendo, podes crer!’

I still love the places I lived or been to (like this heavenly beach of Joaquina in Brazil pictured above), but I don’t long for them. I know that if I want to come back, I would, anytime. This is probably why I am so happy here, about the choice and opportunity, and not the necessity. Because everyone should be free to live wherever he/she wants to. I would love this to be valid for everyone, in this crazy world we live in…

A minha vida em português

Personal

There is no other language that makes my soul happy as much as Portuguese does. Even that nowadays I discover the beauty (ja!) and funny particularities in German and meet amazing people here, I feel that a part of me belongs still somewhere else. But it’s no longer just an empty feeling of longing aka saudade, it’s rather enriching and empowering on various occasions.

In other words, it motivates me a lot to understand and be understood till some extentent in the language I once thought impossible to learn (German) but still think and feel in Portuguese when it comes to certain things, even though I am not a native speaker. Just as friends can become our family of choice, I believe strongly that for linguistic freaks foreign languages can play a similar role!

Also, I caught myself speaking with my Brazilian colleague passing to English ‘when it comes to business’ and leaving Portuguese for purely fun times. I unconsciously bump into the Brazilians and speak about piadas and bagunças long hours. Same goes for Spanish, but that’s another story.

Well, I am not alone, and finally I discovered a documentary film which connects the most interesting aspects of this language: Lingua – Vidas em Português.

Multilayered, spoken over different parts in Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa, Portuguese is now not only a language that came from the colonial ancestry, but that has merged different races, roots, tribes and geographical locations.

My father used to tell me long time ago that both the Southern hemisphere and the Portuguese language are the future of our globe. He was a visionary and extremely wise person with a capacity to predict different economical processes long before. He was thus always pushing me towards learning this niche language back in a day, as he believed that I will  succeed somewhere in this big world.

It was a great revelation to see how Portuguese language has shaped the lives of others, but most importantly, to know that I am not the only one to feel the multicultural and ethnical particularity which probably no other widely-spoken language of nowadays has.

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.

Last Monday in the sunshine or the Saudade Week

Personal

Still a little bit offtopic, I just want to let know that I am alive and kicking, even though I am running against the clock with my relocation-related issues. My flat is the most depressive place with no furniture and everything packed. This is why meanwhile I went for a short getaway to Aragón and was surprised about how picturesque Zaragoza and the Pre-Pyrenees region is both for urban break and hiking. Apart from that October in Barcelona seems to be pampering me – balmy 25-ish Celcius degrees, clear sky and just a little bit chillier nights.

So do my nearest and dearest, on the other hand supporting me and being really happy about my new life chapter just about to start. Still, we are all weeping secretly from time to time! And many amazing people I met here throughout those couple of years. My friend got me even a bag with ‘Amor e saudade’ written on it. She could not catch my state of mind better!

The truth is that Barcelona is a place of constant migrations, coming and going just like ebbs and flows (oh, again the sea-related metaphor, can’t help it). This time I feel there is no turning back once I leave because I just feel strongly that world is bigger than Catalonia and very interesting indeed and has much more to offer for a curious and high-energy person like me (or at least how people describe me). Never say never though.

Not sure if Berlin is my final destination, but I am equally excited about the new job (yes!), new people I will meet on my way, new places I will discover in this ‘a place to be’ capital and the new language (ja!). I have even started an online German basics, but my mashed up accent, i.e. put altogether British English + rough Polish + Brazilian Portuguese + Spanish with a touch of Catalan (again, can’t help it) and you will get more or less the sound I produce.

Well, going back to the beach with Zuco103 in the speakers and German language app on my phone then. Even though this is the last Monday in the sunshine (titletaken from a famous Spanish movie Los Lunes Al Sol), I am going to seize the moment!