Couples couldn’t pick a better destination than Brazil for their honeymoon. Many styles of music pulsate throughout this South American country. Some, such as bossa nova and samba, are well known outside Brazil, while others, including axe, choro, forro and frevo, are more localized. There’s music to celebrate Carnival, music inspired by martial arts, music that sounds like hyped-up marching bands and music that requires an accordion. Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian influences pervade many genres. And there are much more amazing things to enjoy in this wonderful and huge tropical country, which got independent from Portugal in 1822. Its people are vivacious, generous and very outward going.

When he first emerged as a singer, Roberto Carlos was nicknamed the Elvis Presley of Brazil. Fifty years later,  he is more often described as “the Frank Sinatra of Latin America”. No Latin American has sold more records than Roberto Carlos, who  performed on Friday and Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall, part of a North American tour that wraps up a year’s worth of events commemorating half a century as a recording artist.  He is considered one of the most influential artists in Brazil during the 1960s, being cited as a source of inspiration by many artists and bands up to the 1980s. Roberto Carlos left Jovem Guarda in 1968, changing direction to appeal to a wider audience. Moving to romantic ballads,  he became an international star, gaining popularity, awards and breaking musical sales records. During the 1970s, he was also a regular performer on both Brazilian and international television variety shows. He is known to every Brazilian simply as “the King”.

The Brazilian capital, Brasília, designed by the one of the greatest architect of the world, Oscar Niemeyer, is going to celebrate half a century on April 21st. The new city, located right in the middle of the country, in Central Plateau, started to be build in mid 1950´s, by then president Juscelino Kubitscheck, to be the new Brazilian capital. Built in under four years, Brasília was a dream for many Brazilians who thought the country should have its capital inland, not in the coat as was Rio de Janeiro´s case. Today, Brasília has nearly 3m inhabitants, where the empty spaces of barren land are becoming more and more scarce. Since 1960, the city has turned into a giant, still rapidly expanding. The evidence is in the landscape which, when seen from above, reveals the diversity of Brasília and the Federal District. The urban centre of the capital today is a mosaic of cultures from all over Brazil.

 

This year will be marked by successive homage Brazilian people will pay to the late medium Francisco Cândido Xavier in the year of the centenary of his birth. Born on April 2, 1910 and christened with the name of Francisco de Paula Cândido, Chico Xavier became famous not only as a medium and one of the largest publishers in the history of Spiritualism, but as a true apostle of love and charity. Born in Pedro Leopoldo, metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, his parents were named Maria João de Deus and João Cândido Xavier. Educated in the Catholic faith, Chico had his first contact with the Spiritist Doctrine in 1927, during an obsessive process, which affected one of his sisters. He proceeded to study and develop their abilities, which, as he reported in a note in the book Parnassus from Beyond the Grave, only gained greater clarity at the end of 1931. Spiritism is is the belief that spirits of the departed are all around us and that the physical world is influenced by, and influences, the spirit world. Much of its main ideas are in The Spirits Book, which was compiled by Allan Kardec in France in the mid 19th century. The Spiritist Doctrine was taken to Brazil by Brazilians educated in France and there it took hold with the general population.

For the first time in more than 30 years, Brazil and the United States are going to sign a military agreement on Monday. This will be the major bilateral military cooperation agreement between the two countries since 1977, when Brazil was still a military dictatorship.  Earlier this week, a senior U.S. government official told The Associated Press that the agreement provides a broad framework for military cooperation but differs from military pacts Washington has with Colombia and its NATO partners. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.”It deals with military exchanges, everything from comparing military equipment to the exchange of students and instructors at military academies,” the official said. “There will be provisions for U.S. Navy ship visits and sharing lessons in peacekeeping.” According to Brazilian press reports, the agreement would create a “multinational, multifunction” base in Rio de Janeiro to monitor drug trafficking.  O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, which broke the story, did not specify what role the US military would play, but the article says that foreigners cannot command operations in Brazil.

Why Brazilians are so optimistic these days? The inhabitants of the largest economy of Latin America were always seen as having a very positive vision of life, buy now they seem to be overoptimistic. The well-known BBC presenter Robin Lustic went to Brazil to find out what makes them so happy: “For millions of them, the past few years have brought greater wealth, more jobs – and with them, it seems, more happiness. In four years’ time, Rio will host the World Cup final, and two years later, in 2016, the Olympic Games. What more could anyone want?” – says him, adding: “Over the past decade, average income for the least well-off in Brazil has risen by more than 70 per cent. For the richest, incomes have risen by just 11 per cent. As a result, the gap between the rich and the poor has narrowed. Between 2003 and 2008, more than 30 million people were lifted out of poverty.”

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Finally, Americans and Europeans are discovering one of the most incredible places in Brazil: Trancoso, which  is a former fishing village, located in the far south of Bahia´s state, in the sunny Northeast of the country. Its unspoiled beaches and amazing natural beauty  has turned it into a super-trendy getaway for Brazilians and fashionable jet-setters willing to pay St.-Tropez prices for rustic accommodations on an inspirational beach.

“In January, Rodrigo Hilbert and his wife, Fernanda Lima, both Brazilian television actors, were spotted dancing at the Pink Elephant beach club. Francesca Versace and Dimitri Mussard, an heir to the Hermès fortune, party-hopped in Trancoso over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. And the Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto tied the knot here in February in an informal wedding with 50 guests” – writes ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO, in The NewYork Times.