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Brazilian band visits campus

Leila Green | Tuesday, October 9, 2012

40 members of the Brazilian youth band Meninos do Morumbi arrived on campus Tuesday to visit the University and perform during the halftime show on Saturday at the Notre Dame-Stanford football game.

In English, Meninos do Morumbi means “Kids of Morumbi,” the neighborhood in São Paulo, Brazil, where the band is based. The students will remain on campus until Sunday and are lodging at the Sacred Heart Parish Center.

According to the Notre Dame Band website, in 2011, 66 members of the Notre Dame band toured Brazil and performed for Meninos do Morumbi in São Paulo, the country’s largest city and

Dr. Ken Dye, director of bands, said he enjoyed the visit to Brazil.

“They were very gracious hosts and shared their exciting music with our band,” Dye said.

The band later invited the youth band to Notre Dame to perform and experience campus life. Dye is looking forward to the interaction between the Notre Dame Band members and the young performers from Brazil.

According to their website, Meninos do Morumbi is a social project that gives youth an alternative to delinquency, violence and drugs through music.

“We attend around 2,000 children and young from 22 slums of São Paulo,” Ana Paula Costa, the band’s spokeswoman,said.

According to Costa, Meninos do Morumbi has had 14,000 youth participants thus far.

Musician and current director Flávio Pimenta founded the band in 1996.

“I originally invited children from the slums and poor communities found begging on the streets of my neighborhood to teach music in my studio in my house,” Pimenta said. “The idea was not and is not charity.”

According to Pimenta, the band has greatly impacted the students’ lives.

“Not only the music, but the experience of good values. We are a place for good values,” Pimenta said.

According to a press release, the group provides an escape from situations of personal and social risk through many expressions.

“We offer them a range of activities in the areas of culture, music, arts, education and sports,” Costa said.

The band has performed for former U.S. President George W. Bush as well as singer Madonna, according to Costa. They have also performed in the United Kingdom and France.

The band’s style of music interprets songs of Brazilian and African folklore. According to Costa, the youth play music from Brazilian genres including jongo, maracatu, funk and samba.

Sandra Teixeira, a Notre Dame Portuguese professor originally from Brazil, is excited for the band’s visit.

“The Portuguese and Brazilian studies program is very excited about this incredible opportunity,” Teixeira said. “The visit will share an important aspect of Brazilian culture, as well as our love for music and dance, with the entire Notre Dame community.”

Meninos do Morumbi will participate in many events throughout Notre Dame’s campus.

The band is holding a performance today and a Brazilian instrument and dance workshop at the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall from 8 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, the Brazil and Portuguese Language Clubs of Notre Dame will host a welcome reception and social hour in the ballroom of Lafortune Student Center from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

“Besides having the unique opportunity to watch a vibrant and culturally infused show, students will be able to witness a very successful story of the determination and talent exemplified by these kids and mentors,” Teixeira said.