Rio de Janeiro

Days 4 & 5

Photographs and Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

     Music / Indigenous Tribal / [Fulni-o  / Museu do Índio, Rio de Janeiro ]: 2 min excerpt

     Music / Northeast  Forró/ Siridó [Severino Januário & João Silva  / Forró do Brasil / ARC Music]: 3 min excerpt

Viewing / Copying/ Saving/ Sending/ Printing

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Day 3 is a visit to another museum, the one dedicated to the art, music, and culture of the native tribes of Brazil. This museum is indeed  a treasure, well organized and presented. The following day was a visit to the Northeast Fair, in São Cristóvão district,  but we came on the wrong day, as most shops were closed and bands performing forró were only on weekends. Because the Rio Zoo was nearby, we elected to spend some time there. The next day was a free day for us. My brother Bennett went inland to view an aviation museum packed with aircraft, some of which were new and rare to his very expert eyes. I went to the central city to walk in silence and observe people and happenings and write Zen haiku poetry, inspired by what I saw. I also sought out the galleries of  Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, which is known for exhibits of modern and avant-garde art. Alas, when I arrived, all three floors were closed for installations. One exhibit in preparation was of renown National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry, but I did glimpse a few large photographs already mounted on the walls.

Another example of the mosaic sidewalks that are characteristic of the city. Colorful buildings were rare, but this small street in west Botafogo had several in cool pastels. The favelas are hillside neighborhoods of the poor. This smaller one, Favela Dona Marta, is being renovated and painted in some locations with the help of Dutch artists Jeroen Koohaas and Dre Urhahn. A close-up showing a few colored tenements and the tram line up the steep hill. In Botafogo is the Museum of the Indian, also known as  the Indigenous Museum. Scenes  of tribal life cover  panels and the niches of the exterior of the buildings.

More photographs.

Covered doorway. Example 2. Example 3.

Inside, under subdued light, are arrays of artifacts, here vessels and animal objects.

Various vases.

More examples of vessels. An arrangement of carved ladles. Decorated baskets and vessels made from coconuts and seed shells. Alligator, snake, and armadillo  totems. Tropical bird carvings. Decorated  animal-like seats.
Finely decorated bowls. Coiled snake carvings. Armadillo. Different spears for catching fish, animals, and birds. Flutes. Wind chimes?
A ritual space demarked by poles. The first director of Brazil's Indian Protection Bureau, Marshal Câdido Mariano da Silva Rondon. An explorer, he accompanied Theodore Roosevelt on the expedition of the River of Doubt in the Amazon. The museum docent, who offered me at minimal price a private CD-ROM of tribal music I heard and admired in the museum shop. The museum has over 250 CDs of tribal music in its scholarly library. By this time, we learned about the excellent Metro and headed back to Copacabana. Late afternoon, we decided for late lunch at Maxim's on  Atlantic Avenue.: a tad expensive but the food was delicious. I had the best crushed  pineapple juice before or since in Brazil. These lively Bahian musicians played for change. Bennett and I after dinner visited the famous music venue Bip Bip, which is an "open" acoustic jam bar, not much more than a hole in the wall, with people at tables in the alley. Some of the musicians that evening.
At the entrance to the enclosed Centro Luiz Gonzaga de Tradiçoes Nordestínas is a statue of Gonzaga himself in costume. He came to Rio, and from traditional folk dances and baião developed festive forró. The sculpted leather hat and leather chaps indicates that the Northeast, mainly Pernambuco, is dry cowboy country, filled with brush and cacti. The hat and leather vest is emblematic of the Northeast. After strolling to through the arena, we walked to the zoo. This blue parrot was taking a bath. A red parrot came to say hello. Parrots in their abode. A stately bird.
What the zoo lacked in mammals it made up in tropical birds. Caged birds and zoos do rub the wrong way, but seeing the live critters is indeed superior than viewing pictures on the internet. The brown bear cools off. The lone giraffe looks for company in the next pen. Tiger. The heat of Brazil is no problem. Bennett Bibel with his travel hat.
The black fish has a shark appearance. It is shark catfish. More interesting fish in the aquarium. Further examples. For dinner, Bennett and I enjoyed truly excellent sushi at Copacabana's Botekim do Japa. We liked it so much that we came back another night. We also returned to Bip Bip. Note the 4-string cavaquinhos..
On my free day, I walked around Centro. Amid some narrow alleys filled with cheap, flea-market shops, I found this jewelry store. My Gioia kin may be amused. What made it more difficult was that the short streets kept changing names. Strolling toward Uruguiana metro station, I looked at the broad commercial streets. Another view. The metro square itself was filled with entertainers:. an amusing "lving bronze statue" of Johnny Depp as the pirate Jack Sparrow;  the Black Madonna of Brazil; and a group of performance artists with long hollow tubes for mouth to ear communications. What caught my ear was this trio of musicians from the Northeast in traditional attire and playing traditional music. Yes, I bought one of their CDs. If instead of a flute the musician played an accordion, it would parallel a Cajun band.    

© 2012 Debra Jan Bibel


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