I have just returned from my trip to São Paulo, Brazil! I went with our band, the Stovepipe Ceilidh Quartet, for an action-packed four days of non-stop music. I thought I’d let you know what it was all about, because apart from anything else, I don’t have much to blog about because I’m trying to do the laundry and settle back in to being on a normal schedule again.
This is a very picture heavy post. Also, I can only apologise for the quality of the photos, we were really very busy and I couldn’t concentrate too hard on it!
Day One – São Paulo
Did you know that a flight to São Paulo takes 11.5 hours? Lots of knitting time…or so I thought…I got my knitting through security, settled down to make a sock, and shortly after take-off, woke up on the tarmac at the airport in South America, completely stunned to have actually had a good flight. (I’m not fantastically comfortable on planes.) I took Kittylow along – that must have contributed as it turns out he is an incredible travel-pillow!
The first day in Brazil was spent settling in at ACER, a charity for children which has a five-step programme. More can be found out here, although get your Google Translate button ready – I don’t speak Portuguese either! We did a fair amount of practice, which turned out to be essential – my violin bow reacted very unfavourably to the humidity and it was really difficult to play with, so I’m glad I got used to that. We were taken out for dinner, tried out our first caipirinha’s, and got to bed nice and early.
Day Two – São Remo and Lar Sant’Anna
We were woken up nice and early, had a breakfast of fresh bread and jam, and got in a kombi for a two hour drive across São Paulo. We met up with one of our hosts, president of the Royal British Legion in São Paulo, and he took us to São Remo, a favela where he had a project similar to ACER running for kids, called AGENTE. We played for them, they danced Strip the Willow and we had a nice big family photo taken. It was glorious, they were all so special and we were touched to have made an impression on their lives in a positive way.
We were then driven across to Lar Sant’Anna, a retirement home, where we again played some of our Scottish music, as well as a few songs and waltzes – we had the residents up and dancing so vigorously that they kept knocking into my music stand and sending it flying! We were treated to a cup of tea (!!) and cake, then sent back to ACER for a ‘light bite’ and bed.
Day Three – The Big Event
The main reason we had been flown to Brazil was for the 89th Annual Ball of the St Andrew Society of the State of São Paulo. Before we could head to the Rosa Rosarum Buffet for big show, we performed at a street party ACER was putting on for their kids in the road outside the centre. It was highly successful – we rocked out in the rain and watched some Brazilian Pipers do their thing in the street. Then another two hours in the kombi…
We did a big sound-check, had a nap in a sitting room that nobody is supposed to sit in, and played the big gig! It was amazing, the audience were incredibly receptive, we were well sound-checked and the music all went a lot better than any of us could have hoped. We were fed well, plied with whiskey and wine, and 2:30 am found us leaving, exhausted and ready for the next day…
That’s it for now – more another time for the last two days!