Sunday, September 7, 2008

Carnaval in September

Say what? Well, today is Sete de Setembro, Brazil's national holiday. The day started with military parades all over the country, but some people really know how to celebrate. I'm talking about our neighborhood bloco de carnaval, which was founded on this day twenty-one years ago. It's almost five-thirty in the afternoon and the samba is in full swing a block away from me. All I need to do is open my windows and start dancing. No need even to go join the small crowd, if I don't want to. I took this picture earlier today as I got off the bus coming back from the market in Ipanema. This lovely lady is their proud standard bearer.

I've mentioned Brazil's national music here twice this week, so I feel sort of obligated to reveal some of my preferences. Starting with sambas de enredo: I think my all-time favorites are "O Amanhã" and "É Hoje." Paulinho da Viola's "Foi um rio que passou em minha vida" (technically not in this category, but composed in honor of Portela) has got to be one of the most gorgeous songs ever to come out of Brazil. As far as songwriters, names that come immediately to mind and must, therefore, be at the top of my list: Cartola and, I must write his name again, Paulinho da Viola. You can try looking for these songs and samba composers on YouTube...I'm sure there's plenty out there. But here are the beginning lines for the first song I mentioned: A cigana leu o meu destino, eu sonhei...The gypsy read my palm and I dreamed...Easy to like it, isn't it?


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