You would be hard-pressed to find a Brazilian who has never heard, sang along with, danced to, been enchanted by or learned to play the recorder to the catchy verses of Luis Gonzaga, the renowned author of popular Brazilian songs like ‘Asa Branca’, ‘Baião’, ‘Xote das Meninas’ and ‘Juazeiro’. Now, a half-year shy of what would have been Gonzaga’s 100th birthday, he is once again the centre of attention, proving himself as inspiring and popular as he ever was.
The singer and accordion player promoted and reinvented the highly-influential baião musical style of North-Eastern Brazil, and is to this day considered the ballad king of Brazilian popular music. Born in the town of Exu, Pernambuco in 1912, more than half of Gonzaga’s life was spent penning songs about both the sorrows and delights of life in the North East.
To honour the centenary of the revered songwriter, SESC Pinheiros has created the project Lua Cheia de Baião (Full Moon of Baião), a series of events taking place throughout the month of June. The project includes lectures about Gonzaga, dancing and singing lessons and a series of concerts.
Look out for Vava Roberts, the singer and producer, who will perform with Pessoal da Banda, a group known for mixing a variety of Brazilian rhythms. The live mash-up concert should be a good fit, as one of the show's aims is to modernise Gonzaga’s original ballad style by blending it with the more aggressive feel of rock and samba (4pm, 16 June. Free).
But we’re really looking forward to the show by Vanessa da Mata and her band, who will interpret Gonzaga’s compositions; it should be one of the highlights of the entire schedule (9pm 22 and 23 June; 6pm 24 June. R$8-$32).