Música da Copa do Mundo: Porto Alegre

There was a time when we would have laughed at a footballer playing in green boots.

There was a time when we would have laughed at a footballer playing in green boots.

This is our second article in a series by musician Alastair Kerr looking at the musical traditions of each of the host cities for the, wait for it, 2014 FIFA World Cup™. Last time we considered the musical culture of Cuiabá. Today we turn the spotlight on Porto Alegre.

If you listened to Ai Se Eu Te Pego and survived the subsequent earworm, then I salute you. From Cuiabá, we travel to the far-south of Brazil and the city of Porto Alegre where Australia will play the Netherlands.

The capital of Rio Grande do Sul has been shaped by Portuguese and Italian immigrants, and shares much in common with Uruguay and Argentina – but don’t mention that to the Brazilians. Come to think of it, don’t mention it to the Argentines or Uruguayans either.

The locals (Gaúchos) have a bit more music to choose from than our friends in Cuiabá.  Head to Cidade Baixa (loosely translated as downtown) for the best of it.  The city is big enough to attract the big-name acts from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but also has its own thing going on.  You’ll find samba, funk, bossa nova, the obligatory South American hard rock/heavy metal scene, and MPB (musicá popular brasileira).  Meanwhile, the Centros de Tradição Gaúchas carry the flame for traditional Gaúcha culture.  Be warned, there will be big hats and riding chaps.

Lastly, a Gaúcha who has become a global phenomenon. Guitarist Yamandu Costa grew up in Rio Grande do Sul, and has that little something special. Here he is tearing it up with Australia’s Doug de Vries:

Porto Alegre’s World Cup poster is, well, interesting. Is that the oppressive boot of football crushing industry and recreation alike?

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.