Last night we went to a place that we’ve been wanting to go to ever since we happened upon it more than a year ago. Casa de Francisca is a fantastic little music venue, reminiscent of the old-time blues clubs you’d find in Chicago or New York, only above ground and stocked with candlelight and chandeliers.
We went there to see Paulo Vanzolini, a famous Brazilian samba composer (and scientist), perform his work. Or at least that is what we thought when we paid the R$80 per person. Instead, his music was performed by a very talented vocalist, who had to be at least in her sixties, and a three piece band.
Sure, Paulo was there. On stage even. But he just sat and drank beer and intermittently produced some encouraging hand gestures or some stories (I think he recited a couple dirty limericks, not sure). I guess he did sing one song after they pulled another famous musician, Paulo Carlos, from the audience. But unfortunately I was in the restroom at the moment and missed it. I supposed our expectations were a bit unreasonable considering Paulo Vanzolini is 88 years old. Regardless, it was an excellent time.
One of his songs repeatedly referenced a Brazilian term that I originally learned about in my Portuguese class. Madrugada, which means the early, early hours of the morning, after midnight and before dawn, does not have an English translation. This is because, unless one works the night shift, Americans should not be out doing anything at during this time period. For us, only regrettable events occur, such as drunk texting an old girlfriend or boyfriend, drunk Facebooking unflattering pictures of yourself drunk, or hanging out at a 4am bar and losing your wallet and car keys (and thankfully, your car).
But in Brazil, the most romantic episodes occur during madrugada, as well the most painful, deliciously memorable heartbreaks. At least according to the music. It’s the time of night when a walk on the beach is most beautiful. It’s the time of the night when the boemias met at all night-cafes and got their inspiration for poetry, music and art. It’s when the most fabulous Brazilian parties just start to get going.
Thanks to the fact that the band got a late start (it took Paulo about thirty minutes to shuffle to the stage) and the numerous encores requested at the end, we got home during the madrugada. For us, it was rather uneventful, only a little girl climbing in our bed and snuggling with us in the chilly night – which was quite nice. But now that I’m in Brazil, I think I’ll try and experience more madrugada – maybe I’ll find it brings me inspiration.