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The Celebration Continues: 75 Years of Vidigal with the SUBA Group

Local band Casa de Swing plays at the SUBA event. Photo: Lorraine Gaucher-Petitdemange

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April 11 marked the second of various celebrations planned to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Vidigal: the SUBA Vidigal event. SUBA (the Brazilian Subversive Union of Artists) organized the event to unite artists, musicians, poets, performers and thinkers across Vidigal’s 75-year existence.

A regular event in the community, SUBA normally occurs in the Vidigal theater. This was the first time the party was held in the community’s Cultural Center. The Residents’ Association made this change as part of their effort to revitalize the Cultural Center, building a new cultural trend in the community.

André Gosi, the cultural and social director of the Association explains that “the future of Vidigal also means looking to the past. The Vidigal of the 80s was very good! We want to revive that identity, looking back to our origins. It is very important to reach beyond trauma and fear through art projects and celebrations to revitalize Vidigal.”

With these intentions, the Association’s first step has been to restore the Cultural Center that has been inactive for more than 20 years and which has only been used to hold events in the open air square. Run down, the Association sees a few renovations of the building as necessary. As soon as these are completed, new cultural activities, such as Brazilian cooking classes, will be implemented. The goal is to turn the Cultural Center into a new central point of the hill, as the location is great and there is enough space to hold various activities. Symbolically, the renovation would also signify a demystification of Largo do Santinho, which suffers from a bad reputation.

African-style clothes of the brand Moda Arte Katuchita Etnias were showcased in the event. Photo: Lorraine Gaucher-Petitdemange

The event entertained approximately 300 people with various genres of art: music, theater and poetry. The event started at 10pm with music played by DJ Marcelo Melo who opened the event with several poets such as Marco Lyrio and Manoel Herculano. Through their poems, the poets told stories that were full of humanity and Brazilian soul. Manoel Herculano, actor and poet, spoke about his art: “I work a great deal with theatrical plays. My poems play a lot with rhymes and rhythms, so that they seem to almost be a song, and so that the melody captivates the attention of the audience. As my poem says: ‘I am from Rio Maranhão / It makes up part of my belief / To arrive at the sound of a song.’ This Maranhão identity inspires me greatly. My city, São Luis, has a distinct cultural tradition because it is the only capital that was founded by the French, so there is a strong link to French culture.”

After the poetry, the rest of the night was dedicated to music. Casa de Swing and other bands played until four in the morning. Casa de Swing originated in Vidigal and its goal is to facilitate the community youth in taking ownership of the neighborhood’s cultural life. A large portion of the audience at this kind of event often comes from outside and not from within Vidigal. Aiming to change this, the Residents’ Association planned a varied and rich program with the goal of drawing in the public of the hill.

The next event will be the Vidigal Craft Market on May 2, 3 and 9. The goal is to showcase artisans of the hill and promote local business. The event will take place in collaboration with the shop Mundo Vidigal which organizes the Mundo Vidigal Celebration of Artisans that takes place every month. Other diverse cultural events are scheduled throughout the year.

Poet Manoel Herculano recites his poetry. Photo: Lorraine Gaucher-Petitdemange