Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Sao Paulo Adventure Begins

November 24, 2011
bradspurgeon

I arrived at my hotel in Sao Paulo last night after the dinner hour and in an area of the city where I have never stayed. So I felt lethargic and said to myself, well, too bad, I’ll miss a night of the musical adventure; it is too late to venture out into Vila Madalena and Pinheiros or Bela Vista to find a music joint to play in, I’ll just play in my room, eat somewhere near the hotel and forget about music for one night.

So I played some songs and then went out of my hotel – near the Republica square – and I began crossing the street to what looked like a busy bar or restaurant on the other side. Before I got halfway across the street I heard loud music from behind that sounded like it was a live band. I turned to see some popular cafe/bar with its doors wide open.

I immediately back-tracked and entered the place to find a large, community-like bar with a stage at the end of it, with two musicians, a young man and woman, playing some lively popular Brazilian music and some of the clients of the bar dancing in front of the stage. I ordered a hamburger and a Brahma beer and I set about listening to the music, observing the scene and suddenly remembering that you do not need to make all that much effort to find music in Sao Paulo. I had suddenly stepped into a festive, life-affirming moment in a neighborhood bar.

Unfortunately I had arrived a little late for the band, and they played only around three songs before they packed it up for the night. The woman sang and played guitar, the guy played a small drum set.

I then left the bar and decided to check out the one or two others on the street and suddenly my ears were accosted by yet more drumming. This was very lively, almost military or perhaps carnival-like drumming. It came from the square, so I immediately turned on my camera and headed over to the sound to finally find a big group of young people marching about the drumming. I foolishly did not approach them to ask what the occasion was. But I think it will not be the last time on this trip that I have a chance. This is Sao Paulo, there is music everywhere. (Finding an open jam session is not quite as easy over the weekend, but I have a few ideas in mind, one of which for the final day is a pretty sure thing….)

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3 Comments

  1. I’m visiting Sao Paulo in April. I’ve been wanting to visit Brazil for the music. I was looking at a book and they talked about the music in Sao Paulo, so I booked a flight to check it out. Where are the great places you can recomend to listen to music at night and the day time too. I was hoping to find a place where musicians gather and play their music at cafe’s during the day. It’s my first time to Brazil, and I just want to enjoy the music I hear.

    Thanks.

    Calvin Vialpando

    • Very cool. I will definitely get back to you on this within the next two days!

    • Sorry to take so long. Every Sunday night in Sao Paulo at this bar, going from around 10 PM to 5 AM you have a jam session that is open to anyone, and that generally has a great crowd of wonderful musicians:

      http://www.facebook.com/varalbar

      On Sunday afternoons, on the nearby street through Pinheiros/Vila Madalena, you have the street called Rua Teodoro Sampaio on which you have jams all afternoon. There are cafes and musical instrument shops on this street too.

      You can also apparently find buskers and other musicians in the Ibirapuera park on the weekend.

      Otherwise, just explore the many bars and cafes of the Vila Madalena and Pinheiros areas. There are lots of places with live music, and sometimes you can get to play.

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