Get a taste of Brazilian culture in Union Square

On September 8, 2011, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Set your inner Brazilian free this Saturday at Brasileiro in Union Square.

By Cathleen Twardzik

If you enjoy, fantastic music, delectable food, a good soccer competition, and traditional dances, then make the trek to Brasileiro, which will hit Union Square on September 10 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  A rain date of September 11 has been set.

The day will feature local businesses and artisans, all of who will sell their products to participants. Brasileiro will also celebrate Brazilian culture in the area directly surrounding Union Square.

“Every year, the Somerville Arts Council applies for money from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to continue doing art and culture programming in Union Square,” said Meagan O’Brien, ArtsUnion Coordinator of the Somerville Arts Council (SAC).  Importantly, that helps “to boost its economic growth.”

“This summer, the SAC is running nine events, including Brasileiro.  In the past, we have worked with the large Brazilian community in Somerville and [with] SCATV to present things like the film screening of I.D., a film that highlights the struggles of being a Brazilian in the United States,” she said.

A sample of the most interesting products which will be sold at Brasileiro includes: delicious Brazilian barbecue from the Union Square market Pao de Acucar (chicken and beef kabobs) and plates of traditional food from Rodizio Brazilian Grill.

Photos of visits to Minas Gerais, Pantanal and Rio de Janeiro will be displayed by IM Creative Photography.

“The festival will begin with Marcus Santos Grooversity beating their drums on the way to the stage.  He actually teaches a class in Union Square at M.A.P.S., and you can usually hear them drumming from the street.  Later, Samba no Pe will play with a full band and two samba dancers, who will give a little lesson, [which will demonstrate] how to dance,” said O’Brien.

For individuals with an interest in soccer competitions, one will occur in a specified area.  It is predominately for children, but other participants are welcome.  Gift certificates, all of which are in the amount of $25, were donated by the Union Square Brazilian meat market Casa de Carnes.

The Brazilian group Fabrica de Sonhos (Dream Factory), who does activities at nursing homes such as dancing and balloon making, will lend themselves to face painting at this event.

Robson Lemos, Somerville resident and actor, who is originally from Brazil, will perform a traditional dance of the ox called bumba-meu-boi. “The bumba-meu-boi, (bumba-boi, boi-bumbá, etc.) is a very popular and widespread comic-dramatic dance, which tells the story of the death and resurrection of an ox.  It started at the end of the 18th century in the coastal sugar Its name comes from the verb bumbar, meaning to beat up or against plantations and cattle ranches of northeastern Brazil, and from there, it spread to the north and south,” she said.

Brasileiro was adopted because of its importance to the SAC, as well as to ensure that “Somerville remains a cultural destination, welcoming people from all backgrounds to live here.”  In addition, the event was scheduled because it will be fun.

“We’re hoping most participants are Brazilian and come out to dance, eat, play soccer and have a good time celebrating. It also gives them an opportunity to see organizations, such as The Welcome Project that they may not have utilized before. We hope other participants also have fun and appreciate what a strong Brazilian community exists in Somerville. In Union Square we have Casa de Carnes, Pao de Acucar, Padaria, a bakery on Bow Street, and several smaller shops (hair dressers, jewelers, convenience stores) that [display] a Brazilian flag in their window,” said O’Brien.

In the future, another Brazilian festival may be funded, although it may not be of the same name.

Businesses that are interested in participating in the event or individuals who would like to volunteer in Brasileiro, may send an e-mail to


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