The coolest Brazilian brands

one of the brands that represents Brazil internationally

one of the official logos for Brazil

There are a lot of things that have led to the recent internationalization of Brazil. Of course, of course we have their increased visibility on the international level because of the improved economic situation in the country. The economy is finally maturing and the increase in expendable income  in the hands of people who have largely been disenfranchised and apart from the regular economy has helped turn things around. Public policy, tight bank restrictions, capital controls on foreign investment, and raw materials exports to “hungry hungry China”  have helped make this a reality.

But… the goodwill Brazil enjoys around the world is not due to a ‘vibrant’ economy nor the appetite of the Chinese for steel, wood and coffee, and not the mainstream brands worth like banks and what not. The cool factor of the Brazilian Brand is the people, their music, their dance, their ’style,’ the beaches, the nature and their sports. Basically Brazilian culture!

Let’s take a quick look at what is ‘cool,’ and Brazilian. Please note that a lot of these cross over.

Let’s start with Brazil’s most famous brand…

Carnival

There is no explanation needed for what is surely the world’s largest party and is a national obsession in Brazil. This year Carnival starts on March 5th and goes until March 9th, but many parts of the North East, the festivities have already started. The Northeast is more of a traditional style carnival with lots of street parties for the people and a tradition of being by the people and for the people. It is music, dance, and drink: samba, marchinhas, frevo, maracatu, madness, joy, a little debauchery and lots of kisses!

Carnival in Olinda, Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil

Carnival in Olinda, Pernambuco, Northeast Brazil

And now a little bit of sport…

Screen shot 2011-03-01 at 10.04.43 PM

Futebol (soccer)

Of course the country known as the ‘land of football (soccer) is perhaps the worlds largest soccer playing nation and home to its own unique style. Everybody loves the Brazilian team, its like the go-to team when your own home country loses. Pelé is the most famous soccer player the world has ever known, kinda like the Mohammed Ali of football. The players are national heroes, and they are known for having that special “swing” or balanço.

The Braziliannational team in 1962

The Braziliannational team in 1962

and now…

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Samba!

Samba is so many things. Music. Dance. Party. A special kind of swing in your step. Synonymous with the verb ‘to dance,’ it is a way of life. A round table with musicians playing tunes and singing, with everyone around belting out the chorus. It is a drum troupe with quick breaks and lots of brilliance. A circle dance with people clapping in unison. It is all over Brazil… there are as many types of samba as there are types of people in this great country. A few: samba de roda, samba chorinho, partido alto, samba enredo, samba canção, samba de mesa, samba de côco, samba de caboclo, samba rock, samba reggae.

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…and when samba meets the cool cat guitar players and poets of Rio de Janeiro we get…

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 1.23.56 AM

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova is the style that Tom Jobim and João Gilberto pioneered. According to wikipedia, Bossa Nova emerged primarily from the upscale beachside neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro vs. Samba’s origins in favelas of Rio. It is cool conscious, jazzy, quiet, tranquil and romantic.

what makes a body move?

Axé capoeira

Capoeira

The martial art  of Brazil is hidden within dance and is a symbol of Afro-Brazilian resistance to colonial rule. Capoeira in its essence is liberty. It is a finely tuned game with its own set of rules and guidelines. More than that, in its modern version, students of capoeira have shown incredible acrobatic prowess with their own unique technique and grace in the movements. Some of these guys seem to have no spine and defy conventional thought on what a body is capable of doing.

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Favela

While Brazilians mostly skip a heart beat when gringos go on about favelas (there are many negative associations) but nevertheless, they have been part of the modern Brazilian brand ever since Black Orpheus won the Palm D’Or at Cannes in 1959 and City of God presented the updated epic story of the favela. Favelas are basically shanty towns built up in marginal areas, like the sides of big hills, and are, or have been mostly beyond the reach of the state. They are also a visual wonder; house built on top of house and an example of the possibilities of close co-existence. There is a good side of favelas: community spirit and art. Many are being”pacified” in Rio and the economic advances of Brazil are seeing many people in the favelas become part of the commercial and legal economy of the nation.

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Bikini

Ever since the girl from Ipanema became a huge success the Brazilian bikini has taken off. A country with so much sun and beach is a natural location for some some of the world’s best bikini. Originally famous for their skimpyness, today’s reality of bikini design is more subtle and always in 2 parts; going topless is illegal in Brazil!

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What would that Brazilian bikini be without the…

the tools

Brazilian Wax

Ahem… using wax or sugar & gum, a woman’s nether areas are cleaned and sculpted… ok nuff said… this is wildly popular around the world. Downside: it hurts in the instant. In Brazil it is pretty common practise and adored by everyone, or at least a healthy chunk of the population.. You never know though, styles change all the time. Things may shift the other way… I’m just saying… this is based on a lot of research.

a tongue and cheek video about Brazilian Wax in the UK…

now let’s talk meat…
picanha

Picanha

The Brazilian cut of beef so famous that there are restaurants around the world who have adopted the Brazilian formula of all you can eat meat served on giant skewers. This cut of beef was made famous the world over by the Gaúchos of southern Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. In case you want to know what the cut is called in english, it’s sirloin cap, but a lot of its deliciousness is in the preparation: rock salt for 10 minutes, then beat it, cut the steaks at the right angle and throw it, with the fat intact, on the grill, then use sharp knives to cut small strips at the proper angle. Add farinha to give more substance and.. pronto (ready).

do you want a drink with that?

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Cachaça

Cachaça is the national alcoholic drink. It is like rum in that it is made from sugar cane. It is strong and is the basis for the world famous Caipirinha: cachaça, ice and fresh limes. The best cachaça comes from Minas Gerais and can be sipped slowly and is a delight, the cheaper stuff is better for mixed drinks.

hmmm delicious and strong: caipirinha

hmmm delicious and strong: caipirinha

maybe nature is more your thing…

800px-Amazon_Manaus_forest

The Amazon

The world’s largest forest and the world’s largest river (in terms of volume of water) known as the lungs of the world because of the amount of oxygen generated by the mass of vegetation. It is also probably the most bio-diverse area in the world with what could be thousands upon thousands of plant and animal species yet to be discovered by the man. A trip through the Amazon is an experience one never forgets. Deforestation in the Amazon has been a world wide concern and used to get Brazil a lot of bad press, but thankfully, the government has taken steps to make use of the Amazon basin more sustainable. Do check it out.

Amazon_rainforest

and who loves the Amazon? Uncle Da Silva, that’s who…

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Lula

Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva, the country’s first ‘left’ leaning president, former trade unionist, and the world’s “most popular politician” according to President Obama. Lula used his charisma together with Brazil’s emerging economic power and his bolsa familia (family grant) plan to charm the masses and bring the country out of its colonial heritage into a new future. Lula in the international arena has made Brazil a country that carries respect and admiration. He has revived the “non-alignment” tradition of the past and taken an independent path for Brazil, one that has economic growth balanced with social equity.

and now for something different… hmmm, how ’bout a get away from hectic life…

Boipeba beach, Bahia

Boipeba beach, Bahia

Beach

Beach in Brazil is abundant. From the urban locals of Rio, Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza, and Florianopolis, where you can have an espresso and head to the beach, snooze after work, or go play after school. Then there are the remote paradise-like, hard-to-get-to gems of Caraiva, Boipeba, Jericoacoara and Maracaipe, where one goes to escape, eat fisherman’s fare and enjoy the tranquility. The country is blessed with white sand, clear temperate waters, lots of sun, and beautiful surf.

a vid from the urban beach Ipanema…

and what is the beach without máte,

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Cold Mate

In Rio, iced máte has evolved into the beach beverage. In the 1930’s, mate vendors began toasting the dried mate leaves and selling the brew as a cold beverage in soccer stadiums. Now, Southern Brazil has become the world’s largest producer of yerba máte, and máte bars and beach vendors are as ubiquitous in Rio as Starbucks is in North America.

thats all for now folks, let me know what you think on facebook

Alex Bordokas

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2 March 2011

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