Monday, 27 June 2011

Don't sell out, bow out

I'm quite sick today...and well, we're still in june, so I thought, since I'm stuck in the couch anyways, I could write a little something about this festivities we have here in Brazil during this time of the year.
It's called Festa Junina or Festa de São João, and from it's religious origins, it celebrates the nativity of St. John the Baptist, although it has a background on pagan religions' festivities of the summer soltice.

Nowadays the general festivity doesn't really carries the religious meaning, exept maybe for the catholic church. In fact, in Curitiba they make this ginormous cake with around 35 thousand pieces. There is a little medal in 8 thousand of these pieces, and it's said that the women who can find the medal in their piece are soon to be married.

Other then that, we just have a funny party, with traditional goodies such as pumpkin sweets, sweet popcorn, canjica (a sweet dish made of white corn), caricatural country dressing, games, typical decoration and sometimes even some traditional dancing. It's actually really funny.

Here are some exemples of the decoration

We call the little flags "bandeirolas" (they were portrayed in many of Alfredo Volpi's works, but that's a conversation for another post). In the middle pic you can see the ballons that used to be released at night. This was forbidden since they'd cause fires when they landed, so now they're just part of the decoration.

Food stuff: Canjica, pumpkin heart shaped deserts and pé-de-moleque.

And....I'm having quite a hard time finding pics I can post here, so...yeah, I'll let you lol at me a bit 

So this is me  all happy in my Festa Junina clothes, at the age of God only knows :D 

Hope you enjoyed the post. See you soon!
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Saturday, 18 June 2011

A sombra confia ao vento

I've changed a lot in this last year, since I went to Italy last June, more precisely. And so did my taste for music. Just two weeks ago I went to watch an opera for the first time. Of course it was a transmission, but even so.

So I though I'd share a few things about Heitor Villa-Lobos and Bidu Sayão.

Villa-Lobos was a brazilian composer and maestro, being responsable for the development of a particularly brazilian musical language. Born in 1887, started learning music from his father, who was an amateur musician an a librarian, and at the age of 12 began to work as a caffe musician playing the cello.

He was a student at the National Institute of Music in Rio de Janeiro, but his music never relly fit to academic patterns. As he would say himself, "My music is natural, like a waterfall".

In 1930, after a couple of trips into Brazil's north and north-east to study folk and popular sounds and participating in the Modern Art Week (1922), he had already been granted by the government study time in Paris, and was made director of music education in Rio.

In 1944, was convinced by his friend the Maestro Leopold Stokowski to take the Maestro Werner Janssen's invitation to a tour through the United States, which along with other things, got him a participation on the movie The Green Massions.

The international impact of his work can be felt specially in France and the United States, as can be seen by the editorial made by The New York Times the day after his death in november 1959.

Bidu Sayão was a brazilian opera soprano, being a leading artist in the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1937 to 1952. She had her major opera debut in Rio de Janeiro at the age of eighteen, and from that, had the opportunity to study with Elena Teodorini and later with Jean de Reszke. She performed in many locations sucha as Rome, Buenos Aires and Paris, apart from Brazil.

In 1930 she debuted at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and at the Paris Opera the next year, soon becoming one of the leading lyric sopranos in Europe.

She made to the U.S. through a recital at the Town Hall in New York,  then passing by the Washington National Opera, the New York Phillarmonic and finally the MET Opera.

She had a long lasting artistic partnership with Villa-Lobos. Being her his favorite singer, there are many recordings of his compositions in which she takes part, such as the Bachiana Brasileira Nº 5 and Floresta do Amazonas.

In 1952 she decided to give up the opera, and retire while still at the top of her form.

I'm going to take the opportunity to say how sad I am that the international articles are so much richer then the brazilian ones. Sad.

Sources - Wikipedia (en/pt),,

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Day of Holi

So I decided I'm going to write about things I see around and that get my attention. And I'm going to start with the Day of Holi, which I saw for the first time in a movie, I have no idea what it's called though. It's about this guy who is transfered to India by the cellphone (or something) company he works for to take care of the call center there. Then he hates everything about it till he starts learning about the people and the place and so on. And one of the things that started to change his mind was the activities during the Day of Holi.

It is a spring festival, of religious origin celebrated by the Hindus, during which people will throw colored powder and coulored water at each other. The date usually falls by the end of february and beggining of march.


The colored powders, that can be seen in the markets exposed in metal bowls, are traditionally made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva and other medicinal herbs used by Ayuverdic doctors, and the whole activitie of throwing colors at each other has a medical significance to the participants, since this time of the year comes with weather changes that may cause illness.



I find it amazing, the whole aspect of the festival of colors, having a time of the year to remember how bright and cheerful life can be even when things go bad. I miss color sometimes, seems like more and more we have this need for everything to look sharp, and spotlessly clean to look fancy or whatever. And I look out the window and I see an entire city painted grey, black, white and shades of beige. Makes me so happy when I walk by a little hidden street and suddenly there's a colored house :)

As a matter of fact, there's actually a project going on in Brazil by a paint company that I found so genius. They go arround painting historical parts of the cities in many different colors. It's so pretty, take a look

And if you wanna discover more about the Day of Holi, you can check and Wikipedia ;)

Ps: Peeps, you're too quiet. Talk to me so I can talk to you :)
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