European, Indian and African traditions mix in Brasil, which perhaps is the reason for everything being more intense - flavours are more distinct, music is hotter, air – richer in fragrances. Poland, in spite of everything seeming nostalgic, shrouded in a gray shade, does not lack vigour, and if you land up on a traditional Polish wedding, you will see that Polish music, cuisine and traditions are very diverse and joyful. Where does this comparison lead to? It leads to answering the question Brazilians are so frequently asked: Why are you in Poland? Despite the cold weather and difficult language which must be tackled right away, arguably, they find in Poles a substitute of the Brazilian spirit, the energy we inherited from our Slavic ancestors.
But there are things without which a Brazilian living outside his or her country cannot do without. It is, among others, Brazilian cuisine. Brazilians are inventive, thus, they know how to cope with the longing for tapioca (pancakes with coconut). Neuma, leading Brazilian cook in Poland is a seasoned discoverer of spices and ingredients, which at first glance could not be found here. And so, it is not a problem for her to prepare feijoada (a traditional dish made with black beans) and Pao de Queijo (cheese balls).
Now we know the queen of Brazilian cuisine, but who nurtures musical heritage? Undeniably, João Nascimento can be hailed the representative of Brazilian music. In addition to having a wonderful voice and skillfully playing the Cavaquinho (Brazilian small guitar) he is a Mestre of Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira. At every concert João and his band grab the audience, and even those who do not dance samba give in to its rhythm. Thanks to his smile which never fades away, such hits as Mas que nada lighten up Warsaw clubs with Brazilian sun.
In turn, Contramestre Aldo de Franca Martins, Brazilian from Pernambuco leads a group of capoeira Beribazu here. Thanks to his 20 years’ experience, he shares the wealth of the world of capoeira with Polish disciples, a world of music, singing, clapping, playing instruments, and dancing various folk dances, ie samba de roda, Frevo, maculele, puxada de rede - showing that this art is not merely a means of combat, but Jogo - speaking to the enemy.
After so much motion and music which capoeira training involves, it is worth to visit one of the fringe theatres in Warsaw where Andre de la Cruz, a carioca (resident of Rio de Janeiro) to the backbone and an accomplished director, creates inimitable plays. Apart from this, he runs a language school at Swietokrzyska Street, where you can learn Brazilian Portuguese.
It thus appears that we can enjoy Brasilian food, listen to original samba and play the real capoeira in Warsaw. Yet, what about great dancers of the carnival in Rio de Janeiro? Well, we can see them as well, thanks to dance group set up by Axe Bahia, Adriana Mafra Goulart, and Ande. Not only do they dance as it become born dancers, bursting with energy on the scene, but also their beautiful costumes of feathers and sequins are just breathtaking. Let's not despair, though! Samba is not just for Brasilians; everyone can try and learn to get their feet, hips, shoulders in the hypnotic rhythm, just by attending classes in one of the schools of samba.
We won't miss the Brazilian carnival either, which due to the weather conditions is moved from February to September. A group of dancers dressed in fantasias (costumes in which one dances during the carnival) and battery (a band playing on percussion instruments) will start at the Nowy Swiat Street. For three hours music almost makes the Royal Route walls crack, and the hot atmosphere proves to be infectious, spreading among the viewers. This is not the only Brasilian event, but one that bears the closest resemblance to the carnival in Rio. Apart from this parade, Continent Warsaw promoting all cultures which representatives we can meet in Warsaw, organise Samba Festival taking place the second time this year, when we can dance samba to live music and see samba and capoeira performances.
On the other hand, every year during the Latin American Film Festival Manana Foundation gives us the opportunity to get acquainted with the Brasilian cinema. In this way, we can watch some brand new productions as well as the older ones, we also get the chance to immerse ourselves in the unique climate of this cinema, where reality intertwines with magic.
Thus, Ladies and Gentlemen, as you can see Warsaw is full of Brasilian Axe (energy) and it is not necessary to fly to the other end of the world to try delicious mukeke (seafood in coconut sauce), stump with ones feet to the rhythm of samba, or stand in the roda (circle) and play capoeira in the company of Brasilians.
Places of Interest:
Restaurant: Churrasco, Próżna Street 8
Club: Monobar: Mazowiecka St
Language School: www.bravo.edu.pl
Samba: www.taniec.net, www.sambabrasil.pl, www.salsalibre.pl
Text by Marta Gonçalves
Translated by Pola Rutkowska