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New York Celebrates Brazil on Labor Day


The 25th Anniversary of Brazilian Day in New York

by Ernest Barteldes

Sunday, September 6 W 46th Street and 6th Ave. 12-6 PM http://www.brazilianday.com

Ever since I moved to New York almost nine years ago (though it doesn't seem that long – time really flies), I have looked forward to Labor Day weekend, when the annual Brazilian Day Festival takes place. It is an opportunity to reconnect with the spirit of the country I left behind through its music, food and language.

Among the most memorable moments I can recall was Daniela Mercury (2001), who at the time was touring in support of her crossover pop album Sou de Qualquer Lugar, a disc that broke from the usual Axe music content she'd been doing until then. It was a rainy afternoon, and the crowd was not as numerous as it had been before, and it was great fun. Another was when Ivete Sangalo serenaded the crowd (2003) with a mix of dance-friendly songs and also some tunes that reminded all of us of lazy, sunny days by the beach.

Not all the memories were that great, though. I recall cringing in 2003 when the US National Anthem was interrupted by an unruly crowd who screamed the Brazilian anthem over it – which prompted the event's organizer, Mr. Joao de Matos to take the microphone and admonish the audience, who had to be reminded that they were in American soil after all, and that they owed respect to the nation that had received them so well.

But such incidents were isolated. As I have written in numerous publications in the past, the Brazilians who come to the party are mostly well-behaved. Few arrests (if any) are ever made during the day, and everybody has lots of fun as the day goes on – and also during the various after-parties that take place all around Manhattan – which makes Brazilian Day a must-see festival for those who happen to be in New York that long weekend.

The lineup this time around - the 25th anniversary of the event – includes samba/soul diva Alcione, percussion innovator Carlinhos Brown (who has worked with various big names in the industry both in Brazil and abroad), controversial punk rocker Marcelo D2 and singer Elba Ramalho, one of the principal acts that helped northeastern music reach mainstream radio during the 1980s.

As for myself, I will be skipping Brazilian Day this year. Instead, I will be paying a visit to Cleveland, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of fame. Their local alternative paper, the Cleveland Scene, has been continuously been publishing my work for quite a long time, and I think it's due time for me to get to know it...


beatrice 8 years, 9 months ago

Marion, glad to know that there is no child prostitution going on in America. How "naive."!

Brazil day sounds like great fun.

jonas_opines 8 years, 9 months ago

Thought I'd see a Marion attention-grabbing post, and I was right.

/"grabbing" was not my first choice, but I didn't want to get pulled

Ernest Barteldes 8 years, 9 months ago

Marion, why dont you buy a ticket to Brazil, investigate the whole child prostitution thing and get back to us? Your couch-investigative-surfing is really getting tired.

But to respond to you: both authorities and tourism officials have been battling this problem. At every tourist spot, there are signs warning that child prostitution is illegal, and there is a list with all the penalties. But when you are talking about more impoverished areas, it is hard to combat this problem when young girls are lured into it attracted by the Euros that are dangled in front of them. It's sad, yes. But without economic improvement, there is little that can practically be done.

Ernest Barteldes 8 years, 9 months ago

There is also the fact that there is no real age of consent in Brazil. Any girl over fourteen can have intercourse as long as the parents do not have a problem with that. Same thing goes with boys, so a 20-year-old man in a relationship with say, a sixteen-year-old is not considered statutory rape like it is in the US. So it makes more difficult for authorities to enforce the laws...

oi 8 years, 9 months ago

Well americans, we are not with our arms crossed for child prostitution like you arent for the Iraq oil war.THIS is not a major issue here, visit Brazil and know its true reality, in the emergent countries like India, China, Argentina etc.we are the one that is the best to live, although not equally divided the money.Simply because this type of prostituion is common in lower classes and isolated areas of the country.Well Brazil is not just bananas and Rio, is also the country of the mountains of MINAS, the snow in santa catarina, the amazon in the north, the beaches in the northeast, the pantanal complex in the midwest, etc etc etc.We have cities that the HDI is higher than Norway and some cities almost like africa, but not lower.WHATS THE problem celebrating our music with those that unfor... left our country.

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