“São Paulo, land of drizzle”. In my childhood I came to know it, fine and constant drizzle. And from my childhood I carry so many other memories and references that thrill me even today. Now there is no more drizzle, but the references have been preserved and multiplied. The city grew with me, “rising and destroying beautiful things”, especially its own nature.
I picture how they were originally, Vale do Anhangabaú (Anhangabaú Valley), the muddy waters of Ipiranga (whose “peaceful banks” heard the cry for independence of Brazil), the Tietê river bed and its large floodplain, partridges who lived in and named my neighborhood, with its fountains and streams.
In the most remote of my memories, at Christmas, my father took us downtown to see the streets and buildings decorated with lights. From inside a store you could hear “Trem das Onze” (Eleven o’clock Train) by Adoniran Barbosa, played by the group “Demônios da Garoa” (Demons of Drizzle) (see how inspiring the drizzle was). In that moment of pure magic, I was rocked by the melodic and harmonic rhythm, the instruments, the chant, and the character of the song, who lived in Jaçanã and could not miss that train because he was an only child and his mother did not sleep until he got home. To this day I have not been to Jaçanã neighborhood, but I’m close to it because of the mark left by the song, like many Brazilians.
Adoniran also introduced me to Bexiga and Brás of Italians, Arabs and Jews living in harmony, and so many other places and situations typical of São Paulo. Many other musicians and composers have enriched my poetic view of this city. Paulo Vanzolini showed me places downtown, like Clovis square and São João Avenue. Itamar Assumpção went delirious at Vão do MASP (MASP Span) and at the Trianon park, in “Sampa Midnight”. Luiz Tatit took a real tour in town in “Esboço” (Outline). Eduardo Gudim brought lyricism to Paulista Avenue. And Rita Lee, as well revealed by Caetano Veloso, is the complete São Paulo, expressed in person, work and spirit.
São Paulo belongs to all is nobody’s, not even of its own inhabitants. Mutant city, it takes its own path, beyond the reach and control of its inhabitants.”
São Paulo belongs to all is nobody’s, not even of its own inhabitants. Mutant city, it takes its own path, beyond the reach and control of its inhabitants.
São Paulo has always had the gift of sheltering the people who come from various parts of Brazil and the world. People who have prospered here, giving to the city and receiving from it. And São Paulo knew, as few other cities in the world, how to digest, mix, ferment and multiply these diverse and unique cultures, creating its own knowledge, tastes, ideas, concepts, engineering giants, monuments and works of art.
All this was understood, or intuited, by the modernists, and brilliantly translated in their Manifesto Antropofágico (Anthropophagic Manifest), written with poetic mastery by Oswald de Andrade. “I only care for what is not mine. Law of Man. Law of the cannibal”.
All this came to me, still during my childhood, under the thin drizzle of São Paulo, through the fascination with music and songs, in all forms, including marches, sambas, ballads and even football hymns. These were the songs that inaugurated São Paulo in me, through the works of their creators.
Through songs that mention, suggest or foreshadow the wealth and beautiful things of this city, I could draw a sightseeing tour, a cultural guide, or a gastronomic scene. In these guide-books some would have a guaranteed place, in my opinion, as the Ibirapuera Park, with the original landscape and architecture designs by Burle Marx and Oscar Niemeyer containing works such as the Marquee, Ibirapuera Auditorium, the OCA, the Planetarium, the Bienal building, besides MAM (Museum of Modern Art) and also the Flag Monument, by Victor Brecheret. A trip to MASP (São Paulo Art Museum) and to SESC Pompéia, two works by the architect Lina Bo Bardi. A walk on Saturday in the fair at Benedito Calixto square, and another on Tuesdays and Fridays in the morning at CEAGESP, to see the trade of an almost infinite variety of plants. A walk along Paulista Avenue. In the old center, the Portuguese Language Museum, Pinacoteca do Estado (State Pinacotheca), Sala São Paulo and the Municipal Market. The Pizzerias at Bexiga neighborhood, the bars at Brás, the Arabic restaurants, colors and flavors of Liberdade neighborhood, the bars at Vila Madalena, besides the Italian cantinas throughout the city. At Pacaembu Stadium, the Football Museum and football contests, extending the visit to the Morumbi stadium and Parque Antártica, besides the historical Vila Belmiro in Santos.
I know, however, that every resident and every visitor will have their own routes (…)”
I know, however, that every resident and every visitor will have their own routes, their affective references, their places of excitement and fascination. Only the imaginary and almost inconceivable union of all these guides and private tours would be able to express the dynamic wealth and the infinite facets of my hometown.
Adoniran Barbosa: Trem das Onze, Um Samba no Bexiga, Samba do Arnesto, Saudosa Maloca, Coríntia (meu amor é o timão), Viaduto Santa Efigênia, etc. Eduardo Gudin/ J C Costa Netto: Paulista. Itamar Assumpção: Sampa Midnight, Venha pra São Paulo, São Paulo é outra coisa, etc. Luiz Tatit: Pro bem da cidade, Esboço, etc. Mário de Andrade: Garoa do meu São Paulo, Paulo Vanzolini: Praça Clovis, Ronda. Passoca: Sonora Garoa. Premê: São Paulo, São Paulo. Rita Lee: Vírus do Amor, As minas de Sampa, etc. Tom Zé: São Paulo, meu amor, A briga do Edifício Itália e do Hilton Hotel, Corinthians, Hino do centenário, Augusta, Angélica e Consolação. Zé Miguel Wisnik: Inverno (Anhangabaú da Felicidade).