All posts by Regina

Great expeditions to the Amazon

capa AM xx

“Grandes Expedições à Amazônia Brasileira”, written by environmentalist and educator João Meirelles Filho and recently published by Editora Metalivros, is a little gem for those interested in the history of the Amazon region and the very diverse agenda of men and women that explored the region during the last century. The author, that works for Instituto Peabiru, a non profit based in Belém, follows the steps of religious missionaries, Army officers in charge of surveilling the country’s borders, scientists looking for new species and artists in search of inspiration. Among his characters, Silvino Santos, the Amazon first filmmaker, Percy Fawcett, the British explorer that disappeared in the mid-twenties looking for a mythical city in the region, the Cousteau family, sculptor Frans Krajcberg and Botanical painter Margaret Mee.

This is, in fact, a sequel – two years ago Meirelles published a similar book covering 42 expeditions to the Amazon that happened between 1500 and 1930, including those led by writer Euclides da Cunha and naturalists Karl Friedrich von Martius and Johann Baptiste von Spix.

Check some of the amazing images included in the new publication:

Continue reading Great expeditions to the Amazon

Great animation of the Brazilian ultimate Christmas play: Morte e Vida Severina

“Retirantes” (Drought migrants) by Cândido Portinari
“Retirantes” (Drought migrants) by Cândido Portinari

“Morte e Vida Severina”, by João Cabral de Melo Neto, is the most Brazilian of all Nativity plays. Also known as “Auto de Natal Pernambucano” (Nativity play from the state of Pernambuco), it was published in 1955. It is a long dramatic poem depicting the hard life of migrants chased from their homes by the drought and the violence, common in the countryside in the Northeast region.

The book inspired this amazing short animation produced by Miguel Falcão, unfortunately without subtitles. But you can read part of a bilingual version of this poem on “Selected Poetry: 1937-1990”, on Google Books.


Free Brazilian literature online

Photo by Igor Giamoniano/ Flickr
Photo by Igor Giamoniano/ Flickr

Domínio Público is an e-library created by the Brazilian Ministry of education. It allows the download of philosophy and literary classics that are copyright free. It offers Portuguese translations from Shakespeare to Rimbaud and several good Brazilian authors, including the whole production of the great Machado de Assis and some less known children books.

Here is a little list of Brazilian authors you will find there with links to their books. Sorry, guys, I tried to find versions in English and other languages with no success. Personally, I would recommend a visit to dark, mortuary romantic Álvares de Azevedo, to satyrical Bocage, to Lima Barreto, to social observer João do Rio,  and, of course, Machado.


Casimiro de Abreu- Carolina /As Primaveras

Alcântara MachadoBrás, Bexiga e Barra Funda

Manuel Antônio de Almeida – Memórias de um Sargento de Milícias 

Augusto dos Anjos – Eu e Outras Poesias  / Eterna Mágoa 

Álvares de Azevedo – Lira dos Vinte Anos  / Noite na Taverna  /Poemas Irônicos, Venenosos e Sarcásticos 

Artur Azevedo – A Capital Federal

Rui Barbosa – Obras Seletas

Olavo Bilac – Via—Láctea  /As Viagens  / Contos para Velh

Bocage – Sonetos e Outros Poemas

Pero Vaz de Caminha – A Carta

Castro Alves  – Vozes d’África  /Os Escravos / O Navio Negreiro  /Espumas Flutuantes 

Cruz e Sousa – A Poesia Interminável

Coelho Neto – A Conquista

Euclides da Cunha – Os Sertões 

Gonçalves Dias – Canção do Exílio

Bernardo Guimarães – A Dança dos Ossos  /A Escrava Isaura  /A Orgia dos Duendes 

Lima Barreto – Contos de Lima Barreto / O Homem que Sabia Javanês e Outros Contos  / Triste Fim de Policarpo Quaresma / Diário Íntimo

Machado de Assis – Dom Casmurro  /Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas  / Esaú e Jacó  /Quincas Borba  / Contos Fluminenses  /O Alienista  /Memorial de Aires 

Gregório de Matos – Seleção de Obras Poéticas

Júlio Ribeiro – A Carne

João do Rio – A Alma Encantadora das Ruas


You might also like these posts:  Learn Portuguese for free online / 30 words that separate Brazil from Portugal / Brazilian Babel / So you think you understand Portuguese?


The best Brazilian beers


Green cow IPa
Green Cow IPA. Promotional photo/Seasons

Ever heard of Green Cow IPA, produced by Seasons Brewery, in Porto Alegre? Or Colorado Vixnu, from Ribeirão Preto, in the state of São Paulo? Or Ithaca Imperial Stout, also brewed by Colorado, in Ribeirão?

These three beers are among the best produced in the country, according to Gordon Strong, president of the Beer Judge Certification Program, a reference in beer contests around the world. He just visited several Brazilian brewing centers and summed up his impressions to Paladar blog, published by daily O Estado de S. Paulo.  Generally speaking, Strong said that the Brazilian (artisan) beer he drank were mostly correct and he praised both their “basic qualities and boldness”. But he complained that they were served excessively cold in a festival he attended in of the country’s beer meccas, Blumenau, in the state of Santa Catarina, which compromised their balance.

Read also 10 Brazilian drinks as cool as caipirinha, The best caipirinha ever and Cachaça labels: the funny, the ugly and the frankly x-rated


Where is the money?

Self explanatory table indicating the GDP of the 10 biggest local economies of the country and their share of the national GDP

Together, the economy of the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte represent almost 25% of the Brazilian Gross Domestic Product, even if their are home to only 12.6% of the Brazilian population. Despite the migration of the industries to smaller cities and to the Northeast, the money is still very concentrated.

Reproducing data from IBGE, the national statistics bureau, daily O Globo produced these cool infographics. The next one indicates the cities with higher GDP per capita: São Francisco do Conde, in Bahia (oil refinery), followed by Porto Real, in Rio (car industries), and Triunfo, in Rio Grande do Sul (petrochemical). Your next hometown, maybe?

Great Carnivals of Joãosinho Trinta

Poster for a documentary about Joãosinho, where he is portraied by Vik Muniz
Poster for a documentary about Joãosinho, where he is portraied by Vik Muniz

Joãosinho Trinta, the former ballet dancer who reinvented Rio’s Carnival, incorporating luxurious elements and extreme creativity to the popular parade, died today. Controversial, he was frequently criticized by traditional sambistas, that felt that his huge, elaborate carnival floats and the use of some extreme resources, like individual flying machines, would hide the talent of dancers and musicians.

These three videos show Joãosinho Trinta at his best, leading escolas de samba Beija-Flor de Nilópolis and Viradouro to multiple Carnival awards. (And sorry – I was very unimpressed by the quality of the footages available on the web.) Continue reading Great Carnivals of Joãosinho Trinta

Amazing footage of Rio in the 30s, the 40s, the 50s…

Carnaval de rua


You may question the narration and its predictable cliches and prejudices, but these historic footages are true gems. Tough to choose a favorite (ok, if you insist, the 1932’s and the 1955’s are the best).

1932 – Includes a pretty disgusting scene where the narrator mentions the “infinite variety of tropical animals” found downtown, while the camera closes on a cute little Black girl. Also to be noted the comment that carioca’s resent the monopoly of the word Americans by those born in the States. Pay attention also on the explanation about the “butterfly industries” and the ornamental black and white stone pavements.

Continue reading Amazing footage of Rio in the 30s, the 40s, the 50s…

Unexpected duos

Caetano Veloso and Odair José in 1973

What happens when you mix artists with very different musical backgrounds?  Some are outraged, but most are smitten. Let’s see how you will react to these three videos:

  • Toquinho (Vinícius de Moraes main musical partner and a big icon of Brazilian music) and two of the country’s lead heavy metal guitar players, Andreas Kisser, from Sepultura, and Kiko Loureiro, from Angra:

  • This partnership of the very kitsch Odair José with international star Caetano Veloso was pretty scandalous in 1973. They sing Odair’s “Vou tirar você deste lugar“, a musical reference for those who date prostitutes and promise to come riding a white horse to rescue them.

  • Finally, two huge voices, “classic” Nelson Gonçalves and iconoclastic soul man Tim Maia:

Do you have any additions to this list?

Bündchen, Wonder Woman and a Masp’s favela: mirages in São Paulo

Gorgeous Gisele, indeed

No exaggeration: São Paulo holds more surprises than Batman’s utility belt. Just spent a few days in town that never rests, camera in hand.

First, bumped totally by chance into top model/billionaire Gisele Bündchen at an improvised catwalk at Iguatemy Mall. I have been around presidents, prime ministers and princesses, but few times I saw a similar security apparatus.

Continue reading Bündchen, Wonder Woman and a Masp’s favela: mirages in São Paulo