June 7, 2011 1 Comment
By Rob Packer
Autumnal Sambaqui, a village strung along three bays on the northwest coast of Santa Catarina Island, feels a world away from the subdued bustle of Florianópolis’ centre or the summertime activity of the city’s beach resorts. It and Santo Antônio de Lisboa, another village close by, were some of the earliest areas of the island to be settled by Portuguese from the Azores, and apart from restaurants taking advantage of sunset views, small-scale fishing and oyster farming are the most visible parts of the local economy.
I’ve been to Sambaqui a couple of times—it’s a stunningly beautiful place—but that is nothing on what I went to yesterday night, which still seems like one of those dream-like, eternally memorable, never repeatable moments. On Sunday nights, the owner of the fishermen’s wooden boatsheds I’d walked past last week opens it up and fills it with acoustic samba de raiz by a group of wonderful singers and musicians. Part of the charm was that it feels like more like a group of friends jamming, having fun and indifferent to the hundred people or so watching, although at the same time the boundary between audience and performer dissolved as one or two singers appeared out of the audience to take the mic, only to disappear into the crowd again. This might have a lot to do with that yesterday was the night’s anniversary and the place was fuller than anyone I’d spoken to had ever seen it—part of what makes a weekly event unrepeatable.
I had no idea that yesterday would be so special, so didn’t take my camera, but here are some photos of daytime Sambaqui, which is stunning without any of the obvious, and cheap, samba/Sambaqui puns that I’ve been trying to avoid.