Joao Pessoa


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Capital of my New Love, Forro

August 5th, 2009

forro

So all 5 of us pile back into out little tiny rental car, and head northward to João Pessoa.

Sadly we were only in João Pessoa for a day, but the city was wonderful and I really did fall in love. We arrived, had a fantastic rice and beans lunch on the beach, took a break and found our way down town. We went chasing a proported local festival celebrating the cities birthday…we didn´t find it, but we did find a FANTASTIC little bar in the middle of an abandoned not so good part of town. It was actually a bar/political head quarters for a guy running for local office (don´t ask him how he got an office…with a bar in it) and we happened upon a impromptu rehearsal of a band, who were actually really good and rocking out. So we hung out there and listened to them jam for a while before heading back towards the beach part of town.

So now seems like a good break to tell you all about the local music and dance style that I fell in love with when I was in these wonderful northeastern beach towns. The music is called Forró (pronounced foha), and is typical in the northeast region of Brasil. The one of the most spectacular things about the music and dance, besides it simply being wonderful in itself, is the origins of the name. The popular theory on the street is that during the 1800´s when there were hired British men working on the railroads through out the northeast, they would intermittently throw balls. When they put the signs up advertising the balls, they were either for railroad workers only, or “for all” which the Brazilians bastardized into forró!!!! The origins of the music sound very much like they are from northern Europe, depending heavily on the according. The dancing, at least to which I was exposed, was much slower than a samba or salsa, and the steps were really basic but elegant. I fell in love with the dance, the music and the people who danced. Despite it being a more “traditional” style of dance, unlike tango, many young people learn it, dance it and love it. We went to a few forró dances (at my CONSTANT insistence) and the people were really having a great time. Once went met up with Renato´s brother (in Natal, read the following entry!) I danced it a lot, because he knows how. The music and the dance are just wonderful, I would honestly encourage you to check it out.

So after my love affair with forró, we return to the beach in João Pessoa, the second day however we head out early to take a boat to a beach that is actually a sand bar and only exists during high tide on the shore, which is for a few hours in morning. So we get there early, and take a walk around our little beach island…

And the do what we do best. Have a beer or two in the water!

And then as we hurry back and watch from the boat as the island disappears before our eyes as the tides goes out.

The best part of this was, see that little floating “bar” I had to wade out to it in waist deep (phenomenally warm) water and pay for our drinks with my mastercard. On a floating bar. In Brasil. I felt like a really really cheesy master card commercial!

So after a quick dry off, we all piled back into the car to continue our northbound journey.

We would like to thank Jennifer for allowing us to reproduce her blog entry on our site, you can read more of her exploits here: http://experienciamate.wordpress.com/


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