Brazil Beat #4: Rio de Janeiro

The music of Brazil is so tender and soulful, it hits you right in the heart.


I convinced my mom to fly down to Rio and meet me there. She came and we got to live right on Copa Cabana for a week. Spending that week with her for the week was amazing because she would convince me to wake up with her every morning to go down to the beach and watch the sunrise, go for a walk and have a coconut water. I loved living according to the time set by the sun. “Kiran” means first ray of sunlight in the morning and I so I felt especially connected to Rio because we were living on the beach, facing east, and very integrated with the movement of the sun and her rays.

Let me tell you about New Year’s eve in Rio. Everyone wears white and goes to the beach and then jumps into the ocean at midnight!!! It was just so magical. My mom took my hand and wove us through the people and got us right up to the coast and when the clock struck 12 midnight she and I immersed ourselves in the Atlantic Ocean and floated in the waves, holding hands, as the fireworks erupted above us and all around us. It was just so spectacularly awesome and overwhelming and special and emotional. As we celebrated the arrival of 2015, I had this feeling in my chest that it was going to be a year of magic.

As I explored the stretch of the beaches into the rest of the morning, I found so many exciting things. There were many stages set up along the beach with carnival performances and local samba schools playing. People took my hand and danced with me on the beach. My most profound memory from new year’s madrugada though was when I came across this group of people just jamming out together so hard. One guy was playing the baile funk groove on a pandeiro and the group of people singing just got larger and larger. One person would start singing a song, and then everyone would get super stoked recognizing it and then join in!!! I loved this so much!!! Then, they started playing GARRAFA in which you form a circle and someone puts a bottle in the middle, a garrafa, and then you have to shake your booty to the floor over the bottle till you knock it over! Girls would get in the circle turn by turn and sexily rock it out. It was so amazing. I made friends with the pandeiro player and he let me play the baile funk groove. Below is a recording of me playing it with them that night. I asked him about his drumming in Portuguese and he was like, I’m not a drummer! I realized that many people here just grow up knowing how to play certain rhythms, they may not call themselves a drummer, but they can rock out at the basics. I loved this so much. I want to live in a place where having basic rhythmic ability is woven into the fabric of basic skills required to grow up.

I met up with wandering Harvard friends and we wandered over to the Aporador to watch the kiran of the new year together and weep and clap and feel wild. What else is there?!

The rest of the days were musical. I met up with Sami, another super talented drummer, and watched his show with my mom at a club in a favela called The Maze. Another day I hung with Gui and Ana Clara who are a musical married couple who tour and produce gorgeous music together. I spent other days biking with my mom around the lagoa and meeting new people on the beach and exploring the places with the best juice and learning from Roberta who runs Spotify in Rio and kicked it with my french favorite Edouard Dalvaux in the rainforest recording waterfall sounds.

“Ficar a vontade”

The music of Brazil is so tender and soulful, it hits you right in the heart.



To Do:

– Bike the lagoa

– Anything in Lapa…I really liked the Scenarium man maybe it’s a tourist thing but it was wild it felt like Moulin Rouge – I loved the idea of being able to sit and eat and hang for hours watching amazing live music – I haven’t really seen this so much here – you always have to stand to watch live music in the US

– Clap and weap for the sunrise Apoador (better than sunset in my opinion)

– Hike the rainforest

– Botanical gardens

– Run the length of the beaches

– Buy and use Granado bath products

– Watch a show at Estrellias de babilonia in the favela over-looking the beach

– Hike Pedra Bonita

– Check Luko for Vintage clothing

To Eat/Drink:

– Eat pineapple and queijo sandwiches at Cervantes

– Aprazivel in Santa Teresa for a grand dinner – the heart of palm is insane – they literally cut it out of a log in front of you

– Eat quiejo coalho roasted sticks on the beach

– Eat coco gelado with a spoon

– Have suco de cupuaco frozen

– Drink leao matte zero

– Eat acai frozen com granola

– Eat vegan brazilian food at Bio Carioca

– Drink juice at Bibi

– Drink maracujah matte at ZaZa



(lyrics adjusted so that it’s easier to sing along to and pronounce!!!!)

Fala Mal De Mim

Não olha pro lado, quem tá passandé o bonde se ficar de caozada 

aaa porrada come! (2) 

As minas qui da área no baile se revelam. 

Não importo que eu faça vira moda entre elas. 

Falam mal do meu cabelo e da meeya maquiagem. 

Ôh, coisa escrota pode falar à vontade sa mina recalcada não arrumo namorado. 

Não mexe coh meu 

não sou de mandar recado. 

Fala mal de mi

na roda dos amigos. 

Que coisa garot eu nunca fi-na-da contigo se entrar no meu camiiiiiyu

Vai ficar perdiiiida. 

Oh, rata molhada se mete na tua vida__ 

___Não adianta não tem vergonha na caaaara… 

Fala mal de mi mas é meeya fa encubada. 

Oh recalcada, escuto papo da Beyonce: 

Não olha pro lado que tá passandé o bonde se ficar de caozada 

aaa coroh da come!