Monday, August 27, 2007
Festival de Forro
O gente. So, this past weekend was another one full of activity. My host mom, Jusse, wanted to go to this fazenda (farm) in the interior of Bahia to attend this Forro thing. If you don´t know what Forro is (which is very probable because it´s a traditional Brazilian music), let me explain. The only thing i can come up with to even come close to explaining the type of music that Forro is, is to have you think about Polka. Yes folks, polka. Forro´s main instrument is the accordion. It also has a triangle, drums, tamborine, and sometimes cowbells. I´ve only ever heard it and heard of it being sung by men, and it´s an old, traditional type of music singing about all kinds of things: love, missing someone or something, fun, partying, etc. anyhow, i wasn´t sure what i was getting myself into when i went to the interior/inland, nor did i really understand what it was we were doing. Jusse just kept saying `we´re going inland to see forro´. well, after 4 hours split between two different busses, we arrived and were driven to...a fazenda. haha. who would´ve thought. anyhow, this farm was owned by some people that she knew through her brother, who also plays in a forro band. this family that owned the farm was amazing. they welcomed us with open arms and tons of hugs, kisses, and smiles. after all of the affection and introductions, they did what all brazilian people do when they have guests. start feeding. haha. they started making all kinds of food and telling us to eat, eat, eat. oh man people, i think brazil is going to make me blow up from the stomach out. sorry if i come back a gordinha (little fatty). anyhow, we chilled and walked around the farm for a few hours. little did i know, but this farm was actually an orange farm!!!! it was awesome! they were telling me that it was pretty small farm, but it seemed big to me, especially since they collect all of the oranges by hand and do all the work like that too. wow. but anyhow, it was great. i walked through part of the orchard and saw the trees, and they showed me a beehive that was in one of the trees. ok, usually i don´t get too excited about beehives, but this was a really cool one. the bees even were really different from those in the states. they were skinnier and looked like a cross between a bee and a wasp, but they called them bees. who knows. maybe they were really wasps and portuguese just doesn´t differentiate with the two species. even if they were wasps though, they were skinnier and smaller than the wasps we´re used to. anyhow, away from that, this place was really remote and the ultimate in relaxing. it was so neat because you could tell that these people know how to live. they work with the farm, but when they relax, they really relax. they play music, sing, dance, enjoy eachother´s company and sit outside on the porch laughing. such happy, friendly and just generally heart warming people. after our relaxing day, we all got ready and went to this small outdoor (though inclosed by walls) bar. it had a small stage where all these forro bands would get up and alternate playing some of their songs. we ended up getting into the bar for free because they knew most of the people in the bands. they also knew the owner of the bar, so obviously that helped. anyhow, we sat, drank beer, and listened to the music. shortly after we arrived, one of the family members (of the farm family) asked me if i liked to dance. please. i LOVE to dance! haha. as soon as she heard that, she started telling all the different band members (who were all sitting with us) that they should dance with me, so sure enough, one after another, they would grab me and take me out to the dance floor to dance. well, forro has it´s own type of dancing, you see. it varies with the beat a little and you can kind of play with it, but in general, it´s got the same two step-like dance. it was so fun dancing with all of these people. obviously, not having forro in the states meant that i really didn´t know how to dance it, but that´s never stopped me from dancing before. i just followed along with what they were doing and picked it up after the first song. it was great though, cause every guy i danced with (don´t worry ma, they were all older-40 and up....oh wait, this is brazil we´re talking about, they don´t care about age differences....haha-good thing i do) anyhow, the guys all had different styles of dancing so it was really neat to dance with each of them and see how they varied the basic step. as we were getting ready to leave, the ladies told all the band members that they ought to give me CDs to bring back to the states and remember the bands...so being generous as brazilians generally are, they all went to their vehicles and got CDs of their bands and gave them to me!!! yea!!! now my CD collection is growing and including more brazilian music! it was such an amazing time! the next day, after trying to sleep in, which is impossible in brazil, because when someone´s sleeping, they don´t really see the need to talk quietly haha, i woke up and again got fed a crap load. i walked outside and like 6 or 7 of the band members who were at the bar the previous night were on the porch with their instruments getting ready to play! before long they started playing and I, being me, started dancing! it was so much fun! my host mom and some of the other ladies joined in too and then before long a few of the guys who weren´t playing an instument at the moment would join in too. the whole weekend consisted of eating amazing food (one dish was made with fish, coconut milk, a different red sauce gathered from coconuts, and lots of vegetables), dancing, singing and laughing. it was perfect. before i left, they told me that i needed to return and if i wanted i could bring friends too. they also told me that anytime i ever wanted to come back to brazil, including during carnaval, i should stay with them for free instead of paying for a hotel, etc. something that i think is neat here is that when people invite you to stay with them, they really REALLY mean it. they don´t just offer to be nice, they offer because they genuinely want you to come and stay with them! it´s really inviting and makes you feel great, cause they ask and then they start telling you of all the things they´ll show you and take you to and they start making plans! haha it´s hilarious! i have to tell them that i don´t know my schedule a month or two ahead of time, so we´ll have to wait and see! they get so excited though to have guests and be hospitable. i think i love brazil more and more every day. it´s hard to describe though, i wish i could just take all of you and bring you here so you can experience it for yourself.