NOEL ROSA, Poet of the Vila

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NOEL ROSA, Poet of the Vila

Noel Rosa, (1910-1937), born in Vila Isabel, a bairro (section of town) of Rio de Janeiro, was one of the most influential musicians in the history of Brazil. Noel was one of the first white musicians to incorporate black Brazilian music into his compositions, bringing samba, the music of the morro (the favela, the poorer, mostly hilly, areas), down to the asfalto (the non-slum part of town), and into the mainstream culture. Even today you will hear his songs played and sung at any gathering of samba musicians (sambistas), such as at the tiny Bip-Bip bar in Copacabana.

Roda de Samba at the Bip-Bip bar
Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

In his humorous “Conversa de Botequim” (“Bar Talk”), Noel satirizes a colorful and irresponsible carioca (resident of Rio) who he considered typical of many of his friends—and himself! This caricature is still popular today, feeding off the myth of the shiftless carioca.

“Conversa de Botequim”
Por Noel Rosa

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If you want (or need) to keep up with news about Rio de Janeiro, be sure to make www.riorealblog.com a “favorite” on your computer, notebook, and smart phone. Julia Michaels, an American journalist and writer who has lived for 30 years in Rio, started the popular blog two years ago. She is now regularly consulted by movers and shakers in business, government, and other fields from the U.S. and the rest of the world. RIOREALBLOG provides regular updates on everything important that’s happening in “A CIDADE MARAVILHOSA” (The Marvelous City).

OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO LANGUAGE LEARNERS: Besides keeping updated on “things carioca”, this blog gives you the same article in English and Portuguese on the same page, plus plenty of links to related sites, as well as news videos. You can practice your new language by reading articles and watching video links depicting real events in Portuguese, often with English explanations. Learn about Brazilian culture and history while improving your language skills. This type of bilingual publication, with practice for learners of both languages, goes right along with my prescription for learning the living language in everyday situations.

HOW TO USE RIOREALBLOG TO IMPROVE YOUR PORTUGUESE: Check into the blog a couple of times a week to see the latest news. Read (at least) the first paragraph of the lead article in Portuguese, then in English. It doesn’t matter if most of the words are brand new to you. Pick out and write down the key terms by referring back and forth between English and Portuguese. Choose five new words and write them on a slip of paper (ten words if you’re ambitious). Keep the paper in your pocket or tape it to your dashboard or bathroom mirror. Several times a day, think of the meanings as you read each word aloud in a normal voice (DON’T BE EMBARRASSED!! THIS IS HOW YOU LEARN!!). Do this and the words will become part of your active vocabulary list by the end of the week—GUARANTEED!

PLANNING A TRIP TO RIO? OPENING A BUSINESS IN BRAZIL? As the song says, “You gotta know the territory.” Besides the written articles on www.riorealblog.com, click on links to interviews, on-the-spot news stories, editorials, and background videos, with newsmakers speaking educated native Brazilian Portuguese. Repeat aloud the key words you want to remember. This is an excellent way to train your ear to recognize and reproduce the sounds of Portuguese.

Combine www.riorealblog.com with www.learn-brazilian-portuguese.com, and you’ll be well on your way to success in Brazil. Start today. Começa hoje!