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My Intro to Brazilian Telenovelas: Gabriela, Cravo e Canela

As a man, I feel I must confess. I’m watching a soap opera (my first) and, you guessed correctly, it’s Brazilian. It’s rather coincidental that I started watching it as I was walking past a street fair and saw a famous book for sale so I bought it, and the book was Gabriela, Cravo e Canela by Jorge Amado. As I started to read it, I felt there were too many characters being introduced for me to keep track and that’s when I remembered the telenovela made in Brazil a few years back called Gabriela (after a 1970s version with Sonia Braga in the lead). READ MORE>

Brazilian Music and Colloquial Portuguese: Está no Sangue


Gilberto Gil is a Brazilian singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has played a key role in the musical and cultural scene in Brazil. From co-founding the Tropicalismo movement in the sixties to acting as the Brazilian Minister of Culture in 2003, when Lula was the President, Gil has helped shape Brazilian music. READ MORE>

Learn Portuguese: Por or Para? How to give thanks in Portuguese

In this Portuguese lesson I will show you how to use the correct preposition to thank people for something they have done for you.

I often see advanced Portuguese speakers making mistakes when saying simple things such as “Thank you for the information” or “Thank you for helping me.” Starting today, you will be able to always say it right. In the video, I will also give you and important pronunciation tips. READ MORE>

Learn Portuguese: Making Plans with Your Friends - Combinado


My friends and I were planning to have brunch together and the conversation chain on Facebook was in Portuguese. Then Carl comes and says: "I told Vanessa we were going to join them for brunch. Why did she say 'combined' in response?"

I immediately knew what was going on. When making plans with friends: READ MORE>

Learn Portuguese: How to say "Any Questions?" in Portuguese


Very often literal translation from English to Portuguese or from Portuguese to English is not the best way to say what you want. Here is a good example:

  • Alguma dúvida?

Literally, this question translates to: "Any doubt? But in the classroom setting it is the Portuguese equivalent to "Any questions?" READ MORE>

Life in Brazil: São Paulo's Big Worm

If the image above looks familiar, you may have seen it in person in São Paulo or in one of several Brazilian films such as Foreign Land (Terra Estrangeira), Not By Chance (Não Por Acaso) or Blindness (Ensaio sobre a Cegueira) which all featured the giant overpass. READ MORE>

Brazilian Movies: Brazilian Spotlight at the Newport Beach Film Festival

The Newport Beach Film Festival in Orange County, CA, will be special this year: It will host a special screening of the Brazilian movie The Invisible Collection (A Coleção Invisível) as the 2014 Brazilian Spotlight film. The Brazilian gala will be immediately following the screening on Wednesday April 30th. Street Smart Brazil clients and community members get a discount for the festival. More info below. READ MORE>

Brazilian Music: DJ Dolores


DJ Dolores, aka Helder Aragão, is a Brazilian designer, DJ, and musician from the northeastern state of Sergipe who makes electronic music, as well as soundtracks to films (most recently, Neighboring Sounds and Tatuagem). One of the earlier contributors to Recife’s Mangue Beat/Bit movement made popular by Chico Science and Nação Zumbi in the early 90s, DJ Dolores didn’t start making his own music until almost a decade later. READ MORE>

Brazilian Culture: Signs you're in Rural Brazil

I was watching a short news report when I realized that within the video are many telltale signs of Brazilian life. The report itself is about the “Macgyver of the Trans-Amazonian”, a 20-year old guy from Piauí who is basically a self-taught auto mechanic. Despite the nickname, Edson has never seen the TV show Macgyver, but a truck-driver once told him about the fictional character and that’s when Edson took the name as his own.

The video (in Portuguese), which you can watch here, reveals life throughout most of Brazil. Below, I'll list everything I noticed while watching it.  READ MORE>

Brazilian Culture & History: When Ipanema had a Pier

In 1968, the government of the then-State of Guanabara made plans to build a pipeline in Rio, to have sewage taken out into the ocean, far away from the coastline. As part of the process, they had to build a pier on Posto 9 in Ipanema. Its construction made for the best waves in all of Rio, because it created an artificial sea floor and because all the pillars on either side had steel plates alongside them, preventing sand from crossing from one side of the pier to the other. Both factors made for great surfing. READ MORE>

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