By Shirley M.

Perhaps because the Portuguese language, like other Latin languages, is very melodious, Brazilians seem to love music. And I don’t mean that they like to just listen to music. In my family, my father, in particular, loves to sing. I remember, with chagrin, how annoyed I would get as a teenager, whenever my father would start singing at the top of his lungs on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Being the weekend and finally not having to wake up early for school, I would always hope to be able to sleep in late, but it was never to be. My father, a baritone, is equally happy to sing in a Choir, at a gathering with friends or even in the shower. Indeed there were many a times when his beautiful voice intruded on our viewing of a favorite TV show. But it was gratifying whenever he would have over the kind of friends that, after some barbecue and some beer, would bring out a guitar. As if by magic, percussion instruments would show up: surdo, cuica, tamborim and pandeiro. They would sing and play for several hours, no partitures or written material. They just went from song to song, until someone got tired and passed the guitar to the next person. It seemed like everyone knew the lyrics and nobody was shy about singing. And yet, they sounded great! As the end of the night would approach, people would start leaving, instruments in tow and a wide smile on each of their faces.