Música da Copa do Mundo: Cuiabá

Cuiabá will host the Socceroos opening match against Chile. What’s the deal with the bird?

Cuiabá will host the Socceroos’ opening match against Chile. What’s the deal with the bird?

This is our first article in a series by musician Alastair Kerr looking at the musical traditions of each of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup. Ah, we mean, the 2014 FIFA World Cup™.

When the draw for this year’s World Cup was held, many Australian fans thought, “Where the hell are Curitiba, Porto Alegre and Cuiabá?”  (How many Australians could even pronounce “Curitiba” correctly?)

The less couth may have expressed disbelief that a team of such international significance would not be scheduled in Ridgey-didge-a-nai-roo.  Or Say-o Poor-lo.  But enough of such unkind thoughts.

World Cup foodies may have pondered the lack of pie-charts, and wondered if there will be pasties available at the home of Flamenco or Fluminese.   More than a few speculated if the stadia would be ready. (They’ll be ready, but on Brazilian Standard Time).

Chile and Australia meet in Cuiabá on 13 June.  Deep in the interior of the continent, the state of Mato Grosso has a culture strongly influenced by indigenous South Americans, as well as the Portuguese and African.  A city of not-insignificant cultural output, Cuiabá is not known for its music.  Its proximity to other South American countries has led to the flourishing of a mix of folkloric styles.

Like most of Brazil, music won’t be hard to find, but it is the hidden gem that will give you the real Brazilian experience.  Talk to the locals.  Avoid música sertaneja, unless you want a taste of this:


salgadinhosIf you do want a taste of that, maybe Cuiabá is the place for you.  But, considering the likely result, maybe it’s best to just find a nice little bar, order a cerveja and some salgadinhos, and contemplate how you’ll get to the next city in time.  Or if you’re keen, hang around for Nigeria vs Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Time to burn in Cuiabá?  Why not decode the poster?

Drummer/percussionist Alastair Kerr has performed with many of Australia’s finest jazz musicians. He is recognized as one of Australia’s leading Brazilian percussionists.