New Book! California Brazil Camp 2005-2007

New Book! California Brazil Camp 2010 photo history

Documentary explores ballet aspirations in Rio's Zona Norte

I recently saw the documentary Only When I Dance, released in 2009. What's special about the film is its novel subject matter: working class Carioca teens aspiring to the ballet stages of Europe and America.

I chatted with a renowned ballet scholar a few days ago and "learned" from him that Brazil doesn't really produce any fine arts. If only to address such ignorance, I hope the film finds its audience.

The bad news is that the film features some merely good dancing and less-than-inspired filmaking. The two dancers we learn about are likable enough, but we don't get to know them very deeply. The most fun the main protagonist, Irlan, gets to have on camera is his first experience of snowflakes. Why are we supposed to care about the subjects? Because they are poor? Dark skinned? Brazilian? More memorable documentaries succeed because they focus intensely on individuals rather than general concepts.

Instead of taking the time to get under the subjects' skin we learn about the expense of international ballet competition, the self-satisfaction of their mentor, and the stress the dancers' aspirations cause for their parents.

It's not hard to find other flaws. The film doesn't have anything to say about the superb dance traditions native to Brazil; all we see is a few seconds of canned forró music when the parents of the protagonist have a night out. It avoids Brazilian cliches like bikinis on the beach, soccer, and carnaval but falls instead into a much more boring formula: the "Hoop Dreams" documentary template without any real imagination, powerful cinematography, or the originality of the basketball documentary.

So who should watch this film? Anyone unfamiliar with the cultural diversity of modern Brazil might learn a thing or two about the realities of urban life there today. Aspiring documentary filmmakers might want to see it as a cautionary tale: running after your subject with a handheld shot does not imbue your film with energy, only dizziness.

60 minutes on the economic ascent of Brazil

Venerable TV news magazine covers Brazil's growing economic clout.


photo: Villa-Lobos on cuíca!

Apparently Heitor Villa-Lobos picked up something hanging out with sambistas that never made it into a concerto or choro. It's a memorable sight, and my only regret is not getting to hear his Cuíca solo.


From the favela to the boardroom?

Samba slipped out of the favela about the same time that the blues migrated to St. Louis and Chicago. In the 1970s, samba made its way to California.

Oakland's Gary Muszynski pioneered the concept of using musical unison and harmony as a tool to teach team-building and leadership skills. The outfit he founded, One World Music, conducts corporate seminars in "Synergy in Samba".

NYT covers Brazil's kilo restaurants

They range from sublime to not bad, and just about every traveller to Brazil comes to love them: the buffet restaurant. Particularly when paired with the churraco concept, Brazil's buffets are hard to resist. A NY Times reporter got the facts in São Paulo. And don't miss the other recent post of relevance, on the brilliant element of many a Brazilian meal: farofa.


Silent masterpiece 'Limite'

I've never heard of this "unknown masterpiece" of Brazilian silent cinema but look forward to seeing it. It's on the schedule (and perhaps to sell out very soon?) at World Cinema Foundation festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. NYT piece is here.


Fun Tom Ze audio profile

A radio piece by Marco Werman of PRI's The World. Main fallacy -- that Tom is unknown outside of Brazil. Thanks to the Luaka Bop CDs, I'd say he's Brazil's 2nd most famous Tom!


NYT on police foothold in Cidade de Deus

According to this report, the run-up to the World Cup and Olympics has apprently led to police walking a beat in the infamous favela for the first time in 30 years.


MPB reviews at musicabrasileira.org

Anybody not know musicabrasileira.org? Editors Kees Schoof (from Holland) and Egídio Leitão (from Brazil) as well as various contributors have been turning in detailed, personal responses to sophisticated MPB CDs for almost a decade now.

Don't let the URL fool you -- they write in English! New reviews arrive monthly and are highly recommended. Where else are you going to read about such gems as Eveline Hecker and Renato Borghetti? Of course, they also give a listen to releases by MPB mainstays from Mônica Salmaso and Vinícius Cantuária to Caetano and Gal, and do so with informed ears that jazz mags and world music sites can't touch.

Choro resource in Portuguese

If you are a choro fan, don't miss the web portal chorinhobrasil.com.br -- it features videos and a great events calendar you might just want to plan your next trip to Brazil around!


NYTimes on "36 hours in Rio"

Go to Rio for a London-themed bar? Kinda odd. But they do get most of the highlights you want to hit early on a Rio visit right. Here's the aritcle.


"When I was black, my life was difficult"

Interesting conversation on race in Brazil with historian Lilia Moritz Schwarcz courtesy of the New York Times Review of books here.


"Beat Seekers" in Cafe Media

A couple of friends of ours are interviewed and profile in this feature on Brazilian music by gringos in the United States.


Sax/clarinet legend Paulo Moura passes away

June 12, musician Paulo Moura passed away at the age of 78. Like many Brazilian musicians, he excelled in many genres including classical and choro.


Joseph Brodsky on visiting Brazil

Nobel-winning poet Brodsky apparently visited Brazil in the 80s or early 90s. Here's the resulting essay.

From an essay entitled "After a Journey, or Homage to Vertebrae"

..."...among the notes that survived the trip there are several sttanzas of a Rio Samba: doggerel, really, but some rhymes aren't so bad:

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
Grow a mustache and change your bio.
Here the right get richer, the poor get poorer,
here each old man is a Sturmbahführer.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
There is no other city with such brio.
There are phones by Siemens, and even Jews
Drive around like crazy in VWs.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
Here Urania rules and no trace of Clio.
Buildings ape Corbusier's beehive-cum-waffle,
though this time you can't blame this on the Luftwaffe.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
Here every bird sings "O sole mio."
So do fish when caught, so do proud snow geese
in midwinter here, in Portuguese.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
It's the Third World all right, so they still read Leo
Trotsky, Guevara, and other sirens;
still, the backardness spares them the missle silos.

Come to Rio, oh come to Rio.
If you come in duo, you may leave in trio.
If you come alone, you'll leave with a zero
in your thoughts as valuable as one cruzeiro.

This, of course, could have been written without my leaving Manhattan. As quite a lot of far better stuff was written, even by me. Guilt, as I said, is a better vehicle. Still, I've dipped myself into the southern Atlantic and in general insinuated my body into what until then was just a high-school geography lesson. Ergo sum.

I was also entertained there by a local pharmacist ... he promised to get me a Baby Hermes with my favorite typeface, and he treated at a churrascaria at the Leblon beach.


Novelization of Eliabeth Bishop's years in Brazil

North American heads to Brazil not knowing what to expect, falls in love, feels wildly creative, stays as long as possible. It's the Brazilophile template, and happens to be a major chapter in the life of one of the 20th century's greatest poets, Elizabeth Bishop. This story is now a novel.


Uh-oh. Rio, the animated movie.

Here's the first trailer. Respectable 'Mas Que Nada' soundtrack and there's even a bunda featured in a gag.


Berimbrown photos now posted

The funky fusion band from Belo Horizonte recently hit New England with great shows and a couple of workshops. Here are the photos.

'Orfeu Negro' Gets Blu-Ray treatment in August

The film that launched bossa nova around the world is coming to Blu-Ray, thanks to Criterion. Extras to include an interview with the director, the American star Marpessa Dawn, and contemporary author Ruy Castro -- who, I imagine, will describe how Vinicius de Moraes (author of the groundbreaking play on which the film was based) walked out of the premiere in Brazil.

More at Criterion's site.


Marcos Suzano instructional pandeiro DVD at pandeiro.com

Free shipping, but $53. Cheaper than flying to Rio to study with Marcos! And this one has English subtitles -- the one I ordered from Japan was in Portuguese with Japanese subtitles only and cost more! (Probably the same material though, and it's useful stuff. If so, this DVD is perhaps not the best intro for beginners, but worth many reviewings if you've been practicing for at least a year.)

Here is the link to pandeiro.com.


Brazilian director Walter Salles to be honored at San Fran Film Fest

This article mentions that one of the individuals to be honored at SF's film fest will be the Brazilian director Walter Salles, known for such films as Central Station and The Motorcycle Diaries. The festival will be held this year from April 22–May 6, 2010.


I don't expect there are too many blogs about cachaça (Brazil's favorite local distilled spirit, based on sugarcane). And there are all too many overpriced imported labels around lately, looking to make a killing with fancy bottles and mediocre product. It's a pleasure, then, to find cachacagora.com, which takes up the task of reviewing brands as well as pointing out cachaca-related info...

NYC Pandeiro Workshops, April 11 & 13 w/Clarice Clarice Magalhães

Clarice is a fine samba & choro pandeirista from Rio. Her background includes studying with Suzano, playing for years with excellent musicians in Lapa, several recording projects, and some years of teaching as well. Info on the web:


From the promotional email:


WORKSHOP 1: Sunday April 11, 2 - 3:30pm
Pandeiro Basics
(90 minutes)

WORKSHOP 2: Tuesday April 13, 6:30 - 8pm
Intermediate/Advanced Pandeiro technique
(90 minutes)

$25 each or $40 for both workshops
Address: 160 Cabrini Blvd, #67
between 181st and 187th Streets
Washington Heights

Please email BocaSemDenteNYC@gmail.com
with any questions or to reserve your space



From Clarice's site:

PANDEIRO WORKSHOP with Clarice Magalhães

About the workshops:
Recording artist and busy performing musician Clarice Magalhães will demonstrate the versatility of her instrument, the tambourine-like “pandeiro” – a foundation of many Brazilian musical forms, such as samba, choro, côco, the baião and maracatu.The lessons will develop the basic technique of the pandeiro through exercises that focus on the mechanics and rhythmic formulas used in these genres. The pupils will also learn a proper musical notation for the instrument, giving them the necessary theoretical support so that they can memorize the rhythms and study them at home.

About the instructor:
Clarice Magalhães is an active percussionist and singer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Graduate of the University of Rio de Janeiro with a BA in Brazilian popular music, she has taught extension courses for three years on pandeiro after an invitation from the University’s percussion professor Rodolfo Cardoso. Clarice has studied pandeiro with the legendary Marcos Suzano since 1996, and was a member of the orchestra of pandeiros “Pandemonium” until 1998. Clarice has been involved with samba and choro performances since then, particularly after joining the group Choro Na Feira in 2000. This ensemble plays weekly in a square in Rio’s Laranjeiras neighborhood, and has become a touchstone of the city’s musical landscape. Choro Na Feira has thus far released three CDs, all garnering substantial critical acclaim. She released her self-titled solo debut CD in December 2009.

Workshop 1: Pandeiro Basics (90 minutes)
Brazilian musician Clarice Magalhães demonstrates the versatility of the the pandeiro, a tambourine-like percussion instrument that serves as the foundation for many Brazilian musical forms. Our objective will be to develop the basic left and right hand technique, allowing us to learn the fundamental rhythmic formulas of samba and choro while obtaining optimal tone from the instrument. Students will also learn the proper notation for the instrument, allowing them to read and write further patterns to practice at home.

What to bring: Bring your pandeiro if you have one. If not, a loaner will be provided.

Who should Attend: Absolute beginners with the pandeiro or anyone looking to improve their fundamental skills.

To buy a brazilian pandeiro: www.pandeiro.com

Workshop2: Intermediate/Advanced Pandeiro technique (90 minutes)
This workshop for intermediate and advanced players focuses on improving your rough spots, adding new moves and rhythms to your repertoire, and generally having more fun with the instrument. You will also learn the proper notation for the instrument, allowing you to read and write out further patterns at home. No more than eight students will be admitted to the session, allowing plenty of opportunity for question and answer with the instructor.

What to bring: Bring your pandeiro if you have one. If not, a loaner will be provided.

Who should Attend: Anyone already comfortable with fundamental pandeiro skills, interested in improving speed, tone, and variety in their playing.

May 8: Berimbrown headline Samba Fest at Trinity College, Hartford, CT

Happening from noon - 4 pm. Here's the press release:

"BERIMBROWN makes North American debut

This 10-piece band from Brazil infuses the sounds of capoeira and Afro-Brazilian folklore with essences of James Brown and Motown.

Musical lineup features the Trinity Samba Ensemble with guest vocalist Jose Paulo, directed by Eric A. Galm.

Other performers include Ginga Brasileira and Juggle Joy.

Children's games, crafts, and activities provided by Trinity's Fun Fair/ACES and Athletics Department.

Presented with support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Austin Arts Center Quad (in case of rain, the event will be moved indoors)
Free admission"


Baianos, Malandros and Samba -- Eric Galm on Disney's Brazilian moment

Article by Trinity College professor and musician Eric Galm on the WWII-era efforts of Disney & Co. to make Brazil as attractive as possible to the gringo audience.


Snake Island

The best of places, the worst of places -- that's Brazil. Everybody knows about the beaches, Carnaval, and the favelas. But have you heard of Snake Island?


Galm on Berimbau

Professor Eric Galm, of Trinity College in Hartford, has just published the first major study of the berimbau in English. Best known today because of the popularity of the Afro-Brazilian martial art and dance of capoeira, the instrument is a direct cultural link to Africa. Since I know Eric Galm to be a fine musician himself and vivid instructor, I look forward very much to something more than a dry ethnomusicological exercise.


Bossa Nova pioneer Johnny Alf dies

Alf died today, age 80, of prostate cancer. Nat King Cole might be a rough North American approximation for singer/pianist Johnny Alf, except that Alf was also an important composer. His most widely recognized song is Eu e a Brisa. His obit in Portuguese.


Sambista Walter Alfaiate dead at 79

Important sambista of Sao Clemente's old guard, Walter paassed away on Feb. 27 in Rio. The obit in O Globo.


thoughts on carnaval 2010

No, I wasn't there. But I put these thoughts together with help from a few folks who were, plus internet videos, news, and other flotsam...


Thought on Carnaval 2010

Eric Crawford

The major samba schools in 2010

Before the results of Rio's Grupo Especial samba schools were released today, American blogger Kathleen Hunt
(riostories.blogspot.com) predicted a win for Unidos da Tijuca because of the "unique creativity and playfulness" of their theme, "It's a secret." Perennial favorite Mangueira also seemed a likely winner, given their MPB theme and gorgeous fantasias, while stalwarts Portela and Salgueiro celebrated the high-minded rewards reaped, respectively, from Internet connectivity and from books.

Hunt noted the poignant presence of a wheelchair-bound Elza Soares in the procession of Mocidade Independente de Padre
Miguel. With a paradisic theme, Mocidade included a "financial paradise" of "money-laundering with washing machines
that tossed fake money into the crowd". Drama ensued, though, when Mocidade's abre-alas float gave up the ghost a few
feet past the finishing line. Thousands of audience members were almost as relieved as Mocidade's members to see it
cleared away by dozens of frantic volunteers.

When this year's results were officially announced, Unidos da Tijuca was the winner for the first time since 1936.
Mangueira took sixth, to the apparent disappointment of many. Radio station MPBFM immediately responded by celebrating
Mangueira via Twitter: "Depois de falar de Braguinha, Dorival Caymmi, Tom Jobim e Chico Buarque, a Mangueira foi a
primeira Escola a falar da Música Brasileira."

Moralists were surely satisfied to see that Viradouro, who named an extremely young girl to the sexy post of rainha da
bateria, took dead last and they will exit the Grupo Especial next year.

Remaining true to their roots is the foundation of Mangueira's national -- and now international -- appeal. A pillar
of Mangueira's fidelity to the Afro-Brazilian heritage was the long-reigning puxador Jamelão. Caetano Veloso noted his
presistent presence in Bahia every year to connect with Iemanjá:

Pensando em Jamelão no Rio Vermelho
Todo ano, todo ano
Na festa de Iemanjá
Presente no dois de fevereiro
Nós aqui e ele lá
Isso é a confirmação de que a Mangueira
É onde o Rio é mais baiano.
- Onde o Rio é mais baiano (1997)

To maintain it's real or perceived fidelity to its roots after the loss of the seemingly eternal puxador is surely a
challenge for Mangeuira now. One nod backward was this year's enredo recording, which included a sample of Jamelão
exulting in "minha Mangueira". Expect the single-surdo technique to continue and more enredos that celebrate shared cultural
fundamentals like MPB.

But the march of time has transformed this samba school as much as any. For example, all schools now post their samba enredo lyrics and recordings on their web site, YouTube videos abound, and potential participants can even select their fantasia online. One would like to imagine that at least the aging baianas still chat on the front porch about how to afford their costume and who's up to what, but clearly -- rehearsal season aside -- most of the escola participants gather via Orkut, Facebook, and Twitter.

Of course, virtual community and the electronic memory also work in tradition's favor. Any mangueirense can now dig deep into 1981's documentary, Fala Mangueira!, or classic Cartola performances. Video pirates might download the recent Portela documentary, O Misterio do Samba, or another recent one about Paulinho da Viola, Meu Tempo é Hoje. And sambistas around the world can "attend" Carnaval the way a great many Brazilians do: watching Globo coverage live via cable and satellite TV.
Typical Misconceptions

Of course, experiencing only television coverage of the major Carnaval celebrations is terribly misleading and leads to many erroneous conclusions:

1. Carnaval is always about sex and alcohol.

2. Carnaval in Rio is about Rio-styled samba, while Bahia has giant sound trucks slamming your eardrums with samba-reggae and axé pop.

3. Samba is about flashy costumes, media attention, and organized "message" themes.

4. Carnaval in Rio is about the samba schools.

4. Carnaval is something that can be "watched," like a football game.

5. Carnaval lasts for about a week.

In fact, adult pleasures are not everywhere in Carnaval. Children's parades, for example, are popular throughout the country. The infamous Banda de Ipanema even puts on a program for tots called Bandinha de Ipanema; drag is traded in for a day for children's songs and marchinhas. I believe that Carnaval is about regressing to childhood innocence (and the creative freedom that implies) as much as it is about the better-known excesses and vices that get far more coverage in the press and on television.

The popular stereotypes of Carnaval miss another, similar phenomenon as well. Music figures in Salvador's festivities engage in countless musical encontros of Salvador's festivities. And as common as bawdy kisses and embraces are in the pipoca of the Carnaval crowd, delirious embraces marking spirited reunions with long-lost friends, who are addressed frequently as "brother" or "sister", are perhaps even more common. Even complete strangers become one's family. In other words, Carnaval is a bit like the Christmas holiday that precedes it: a chance for a family reunion.

And the national media pounce on any hint of familial sentiment. For example, superstar Gilberto Gil wept in the middle of the festivities as a little-known singer paid homenagem; in North America such a moment would have hardly been commented upon, but in Brazil the filial piety suggested in Gil's sentiment made it headline news across the country. The inclusion of a wheelchair-bound Elza Soares on a parade float, the lionization of each big school's velha guarda, and universal mourning when a elder figure such as Dorival Caymmi passes away are other examples of a kind of nationalized filial piety that is strongest during Carnaval.
Who Needs Samba?

Samba is far from a requirement anywhere in Brazil. Recife's Carnaval, according to carnavaldepernambuco.com, features frevo, afoxé, ciranda, côco, several forms of maracatú, and other regional specialties in addition to samba. In Bahia's Pelourinho before and during Carnaval, old fashioned neighborhood brass bands play marchinhas from the 1940s while local theater groups put on comical shows that would not be out of place in a medieval festival. Down towards the beach from the big trio elétricos, you might hear Gilberto Gil shouting "Rock Around the Clock" or a Bob Marley reggae sandwiched between Toda Menina Baiana and a duet with Daniela Mercury.

To the extent that Brazilian carnaval is about samba, it does not last a week or less. In fact, the "samba Carnaval" is a lengthy season of rehearsals, hanging out, jamming, and so on. This is not only true for samba school participants; anyone involved in the smaller groups, such as neighborhood blocos, as well. And bars, restaurants, and other music venues book more and more party music events in the months leading up to Lent.

Participation vs. Observation

Two tracks run side-by-side throughout the Carnaval experience and understanding the event is impossible without sketching out the differences between the two: the participatory and the observational. The early entrudo on the street and the mascarade ball imported from Venice are inherently participatory. In the first model, there is no show except the show you yourself "put on", literally and figuratively. The second model apparently came about with the rise of television and the construction of Niemeyer's Sambadromo, which encourages you to see and hear, but not to jump in or dance or be seen. In Bahia, the analog is the camarote where the well-heeled insulate themselves from the sweaty masses.

Alternatives and Rejuvination
The enormous samba schools remain immensely important to the "observational" Carnaval, and for their participants of course, but they are no longer the sole focus of Rio's Carnaval; smaller groups have seen a huge resurgence. According to Texas-based sambista Robert "Jacaré" Patterson,

During the Carnaval season of January and February every year, Caricocas turn off their TV’s on Saturday nights and head for the street corner to see friends and support their bloco. The blocos have roughly the same structure as the big schools. They have directorates, composers, drummers, dancers and so forth. They select a theme and have a samba competition where they select the best samba for the year. They rehearse for a couple of months, make costumes and, during the 2 weeks or so around Carnaval, they take to the streets to celebrate and sing their samba. These songs become part of their collective consciousness and heritage. Participants range in age from babies to older folks with all ages in between and all taking part in some way. Almost all of the great players, dancers, etc. in the big schools got their start and still participate in their local blocos.

This is not to say that all blocos are small and intimate. The 900 lb. gorilla, as Jacaré calls it, is Monobloco, which performs, teaches workshops, and boasts fans across the planet. At the other end of the scale are truly neighborhood-based samba blocos that actually reflect the literal meaning of bloco as a block. These include Volta, Alice from Rua Alice in Laranjeiras and Boemios da Lapa. According to a February 15 piece by Chris McGowan,

The festivities begin at designated time and place where members meet up (the concentração), wearing the bloco's T-shirt and fortifying themselves with beers and caipirinhas. The bloco winds its way slowly down the streets of a particular neighborhood, with crowds trailing behind or lining the parade route. Most blocos play samba and marchas, while some add funk carioca, samba-reggae and maracatú to the mix. There are now some five hundred blocos in Rio, with two hundred just in the Zona Sul.

This list is hardly complete; I would add the example of Bloco da Asiedade, which attracts a tremendous following with Pernambuco-styled frevo, complete with wailing brass.

Of course, the resurgence of blocos in reaction to the scale and real or perceived loss of local connection in the large samba schools is nothing new. In the late 1970's, the samba-enredo was speeding up, the great early composers were dying off, and the personal expression that had been the hallmark of great sambistas no longer seemed to have a home, yet singers like Clara Nunes, Leci Brandão, and Beth Carvalho, as well as the composers of pagode and "classical" samba composers of a younger generation such as Paulinho da Viola, emerged to fill the void. (And speaking of Paulinho's "classical" tendencies, at least twice in the last hundred years, choro has experience a renaissance of popularity and he's excelled in composing those as well.) João Gilberto had already revived samba with the bossa nova and, through it, returned numerous songs by Ary Barroso and other composers of the "Golden Age" back to popularity. And Martinho da Viola even revived the first hit samba recording, 1917's Pelo Telefone, in 1973.

Final Thoughts
For me, Brazilian music seems to revel in circles and cycles that are asymetrical and swinging enough to be interesting, yet accessible and immediate. This is true on the level of rhythmic patterns like samba's teleco teco as well as on the level of the interplay of roots vs. innovation. This is the country that defined cultural cannibalism, where African gods became saints, where the leading classical composer of the last century turned his back on the academy and hung out with the sambistas, where its leading poet dropped out of a diplomatic position for free love and a career as a pop singer, where a military dictatorship somehow saw the often irreverent form of samba receive official blessing as the foundation of national culture, where another strict military dictatorship brought about a renaissance of sophisticated, uninhibited songwriting.

Of course Carnaval is both an expression of familial bonds and paternal sentiment as well as a bacchanal. Of course Mangueira celebrated composer Tom Jobim one year, even though the nightclub world of Jobim had nothing in common with the favela lives of their members, and of course every mangueirense knew all the words from his songbook. Of course samba and Brazilian music in general retains tradition and even clichés while countless attempts, with varying degree of success, to reinvent and hybridize it are attempted. For a music such as samba to live and breath and develop, all this is probably necessary to make creative progress. Paulinho da Viola said as much in Argumento:

Sem preconceito ou mania de passado
Sem querer ficar do lado de quem não quer navegar
Faça como um velho marinheiro
Que durante o nevoeiro
Leva o barco devagar.

As the boat moves on, of course, some of us inevitably want to get off. Jacaré complains bitterly about the efforts to clean up Carnaval:

The big news this year is the effect of the "Choque de Ordem"; ...they essentially are trying to teach Cariocas that they can't just do whatever they want at any time... Blocos must now provide porta-potties, security, and traffic control. It has lead to severe limitations on spontaneous street vendors, one of the best parts of the whole scene. Some nice fresh grilled cat on a stick for about a buck is harder to find these days.


Bell (Agogo) Patterns and more

Here are plenty of rhythmic patterns for review and exploration -- suitable not only to agogo but pandeiro, conga, whatever! Enjoy them here.


New Brazilian Music Blog

Tera Crisalida is now writing a blog on such topics as the origins of samba and bossa nova. I think this sort of thing is pretty well documented elsewhere, yet still mysterious as every account tends to contradict other points of view -- sort of like trying to learn "proper" pandeiro technique!


Elza + A Folia Baiana = !!!!!!

Eternal samba stalwart Elza Soares will be singing in Salvador, Bahia's carnaval festivities this year. Since the elderly Elza routinely blows performers a quarter her age off the stage with her voice, presence, and swing, this year's event should be unforgettable. Either Elza or Bahia may not survive the intesity, and I'm not betting against Elza.

The story in Portuguese.


Coming next year: animated "Rio"

Holy Walt Disney! American animators will be contributing to the Brazilian hoopla attendant in the upcoming World Cup and Olympic games. Coming in 2011, the computer animated feature "Rio". Read more.


Amazonia's lost city finally found?

It seems that perhaps there was something to the legend of El Dorado. And Percy Harrison Fawcett wasn't wrong. "New" civilization found in what is now Bolivia & Brazil. Read more.


Dancing with the Devil

Why is it that Brazil is just slums, beaches and (rapidly-dissappearing) rainforest to the outside world? In any case, this favela documentary is getting excellent reviews.