Category Archive: Art and culture

Aug 25

Anonimundo – Pegheads and Washing Lines

anonimundo-pedra-do-sal

I first became aware of Anonimundo when I visited Pedra do Sal – Rio’s favourite free samba venue (Monday nights). I was having a bit of a look around when I noticed a brilliant piece of art on a broken down old wall (see above). This chirpy little clothes peg figure was playing the guitar whose string was doubling as a clothes line holding shirts spelling out the word ‘samba’. I loved it straight away.

It wasn’t until quite a while later that I saw another piece of work that was clearly by the same artist. This time I was walking the streets of Lapa during one of my Food Tours, when I saw this:

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Jul 08

World Cup 2014: What to do if you don’t have tickets for a Brazil World Cup game…

Rio-metro

The Rio Metro on World Cup game day.

 

Well, it’s World Cup 2014 game day again and the nerves are jangling here at Eat Rio HQ. Personally I’ve been fairly confident on Brazil’s behalf for all of the preceding games, but Mrs Eat Rio has been a bag of nerves from day 1. But going up against Germany in the semi-final of the World Cup? Well, let’s just say I have some painful memories

The game today will be played in Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais, but what should you do if you’re in Rio and want to get the big game atmosphere? How about walking through Cardeal Arcoverde metro station on the way to the Fanfest in Copacabana? Here’s how it went down in Brazil’s most recent game against Colombia:

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Jul 04

World Cup 2014 – Penalties on the beach

Brazil-football-bar

 

Phew! I’ve finally managed to find time to write a new post. I would like to post more often, but things have been ridiculously busy over the last month – I’ve been working 7 days a week with a mixture of food tours and writing assignments. So far my new career as freelance writer and food guide is going well and although I’m looking forward to having a little break, it feels good to be this busy.

Eat Rio Food Tours have been going really well and I am now up to number 38 in TripAdvisor’s list of Activities in Rio – take a look at some of the lovely things people have been saying.

Anyway, enough random talk, let’s get back to the football shall we? Last Saturday Brazil took on Chile in their first knock-out game and I decided to go out on assignment to capture the drama of the occasion (of course I had no idea quite how dramatic things would be). In the photo above you can see that the bar near Eat Rio HQ was taking things very seriously.

I hopped on the metro and was almost immediately absorbed into a group of Brazilians on their way to the big screens on Copacabana beach:

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Jun 27

Tucum and Gift Brazil

Havaianas

Havaianas – a great holiday present (though not hugely original).

 

One question that comes up a lot from visitors to Rio is “What is a nice gift that I can buy here to take home?”. The usual list of suggested presents/mementos goes like this: Havaianas, cachaça, coffee. That’s it.

Well, actually of course that’s not it – there are other imaginative suggestions like pão de queijo mix (both my parents have been the lucky recipients of this Brazilian treat), hammocks (my sister) and giant bird-head masks (my friends):

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Mar 21

Curry Clube and Favela Brass

Curry-clube-rio

 

A couple of years ago I was introduced to a friend of a friend of a friend in a bar in Rio. When I told her I lived in Santa Teresa and had a food blog, her face changed and she went “Ah! You must be the guy that does the Curry Club thing, right?”. Well, that was confusing! After further chat we established that there was another English guy called Tom who lived in Santa Teresa and he ran something called Curry Clube, a regular get together that involved curry and music.

Well, after I’d got over the fact that I was not the only English bloke called Tom in Santa Teresa, my mind turned to food. In fact it turned to curry! I know many foreigners living in Rio who pine for a decent curry – it really is one of those dishes so packed with flavour that when you get a hankering, nothing else will do. I decided I would have to meet this Tom fellow and go along to his Curry Clube. And do you know what? Approximately 2 years later, I finally made it!

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Mar 14

Bezerra da Silva – Samba and the Malandro

Bezerra-da-silva

Every man in his area, Every monkey on his branch, Every cockerel in his yard, Every king in his deck

 

I only became aware of the subject of today’s post recently, when I passed that piece of street art (above) during carnival. It’s a nice piece of work and the guy has a nice looking face – then I saw the lyrics and decided it was time to find out more (starting with what a baralho is – a deck of playing cards).

Born in 1927 in Recife, José Bezerra da Silva grew up singing a North/Northeastern style of music called Coco. In 1942 he moved to Rio and in the 1950s found work as a session musician. His first record was released in 1969 and he went on to record 30 albums over the following 4 decades. He became particularly renowned for a style of samba known as partido alto.

 

Malandros and Malandragem

It seems impossible to say much about Bezerra without mentioning the term malandro. A malandro is someone who lives by malandragem, a lifestyle of hustling, petty crime and idleness. It wasn’t long after I got to Rio that I first came across this word malandro. Fittingly enough, a colleague was warning me about wandering down the wrong street in Lapa – “Watch out for malandros” she said. I say ‘fitting’ because, in Rio there is a strong association between malandros and Lapa.

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Feb 28

Carnival Songs: Marcha do Remador!

carnaval

 

The time has come. Rio Carnival 2014 is finally upon us and I have just enough time to squeeze in one more essential carnival marchinha to my growing list. Today’s classic comes from way back in 1964 (incidentally, I got my haircut yesterday and the women in the hairdressers were lamenting that no one makes new marchinhas anymore – why is that?).

I have to admit to a rather childish enjoyment of today’s song because of a naughty piece of crowd participation. But first, let’s hear an unadulterated rendition from the woman who made it famous, Emilinha Borba (remember she was the one that had a fight with another carnival singer over the affections of Orson Welles):

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Feb 21

Cobogó

Cobogó

 

Recife, 1929. Three engineers, Amadeu Oliveira Coimbra, Ernest August Boeckmann and Antônio de Góis, are on their way to the patent office to protect their new innovation – a ‘hollow structural element’. Somewhere between a brick and a tile, these ‘structural elements’ would go on to become one of the iconic elements of Brazilian Modernist architecture.

The only problem was the name – what were they going to call these things? They all wanted some credit for the innovation, but somehow the Coimbra-Boeckmann-Góis Brick didn’t sound like it was going to catch on. Instead they took the first 2 letters of each of their surnames and christened their hollow bricks Cobogó.

A few years later, Cobogó was used to cover the entire façade of the huge Caixa D’água building in Olinda.

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Feb 14

Carnival Songs: Mulata iê iê iê

Emilinha-Borba

 

It feels like the perfect storm: carnival is nearly upon us, my best friend from England arrives in Rio tonight and to top things off, it’s Friday! It’s enough to make you want sing isn’t it? Well don’t hold back – today I’m adding another classic marchinha to my list of favourite carnival tunes (see under the “Carnival” menu item above).

Being the ignorant gringo that I am, I had some trouble finding this song because I knew it only as ‘that passarela song’. It is often listed as “Mulata Bossa Nova”, but officially it is called Mulata iê iê iê (‘iê’ sounds like ‘yeah’).

The song was written by our old friend João Roberto Kelly (remember Cabaleira do Zezé?) and made famous in 1965 by Emilinha Borba (pictured above). Emilinha sounds like she must have been quite a character, having well publicised feuds with rival divas of the time, including an actual physical fight with Linda Batista over the affections of a visiting Orson Welles! Anyway, let’s hear her sing the song shall we?

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Feb 07

Gringo Funk

medley-in-brazil

 

If you spend any amount of time in Rio, you’ll find Baile Funk (AKA Funk Carioca) hard to avoid – you might hear it being played at the beach, on the bus or pumping out of clubs and favelas on the weekends.

I’ve spent a fair amount of listening-time trying to get into this style of music but with a few exceptions I’ve found most of it sits somewhere between ‘underwhelming’ and ‘downright annoying‘. To me, Baile Funk sounds about as unfunky as you can get.

I’ve watched a couple of documentaries about DJs coming over from Europe and the US and championing Baile Funk (Favela On Blast) and I always wonder if the estrangeiros really understand what the lyrics are all about (common criticisms levelled at funk music is that the lyrics are misogynistic and encourage the sexualisation of young girls).

Well, help is at hand for the confused gringo wannabe funkeiro. A group calling themselves “Medley In Brazil” have been performing translated versions of popular Funk tracks and the results are pretty hilarious. First have a listen to the original as Avassaladores (Overwhelmers?) sing this self-effacing song of modesty and meekness, Sou Foda:

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