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!

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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