Prior to living in Brazil, I was a fan of Brazilian music. I listened to stereotypical 1960’s music, mostly what I would have then called “pop samba” and Bossa Nova, including songs like “Mas que Nada” by Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 and the ultra-cliché Frank Sinatra duet with Tom Jobim, “The Girl from Ipanema.” Of course, in my ignorance, I was totally taken by surprise when I moved to Brasília and was introduced, about as subtly as a brick to the face, to Sertanejo music. Being a Virginian, you might think that I have some affinity for country music, but since I lack this genetic link, I was not a fan of Sertanejo when I first started hearing it.
For me, Sertanejo is best described as “pop country.” I had a long discussion with one of my students about the history of the music. From what he said, the music began in the 1990’s in the state of Goiás—although a person from the nearby state of Minas Gerais might argue about the origins of the music (they both claim Sertanejo as their own and have a lot of famous singers from their regions)—and has recently gained national popularity. Since Brasília and the Distrito Federal are technically located in the state of Goiás, the Sertanejo music is rampant on the radio stations. Although I admitted that I didn’t like this country music before, I had an experience at a club which changed my mind about it! During one night out, a friend’s boyfriend took pity on me, standing alone, and asked me to dance to one song. The song happened to be Sertanejo—coincidentally, it was the most fun experience that I had dancing, and I realized that this music is absolutely lovely for partner dancing. So, I changed my mind and decided that from that moment on, Sertanejo was great!
As a fan, naturally I have come to know many different art
ists of this genre of music, of which Wesley Safadão is by far the most popular. Ironically, he is not from the country states of Goiás or Minas, but from the Northeast state of Seará. Although he isn’t from the stereotypical states, he has a presence and an attitude that makes him admirable to say the least. Actually, he holds the record for having the most expensive concerts in Brazil at this moment. So, when my friends told me that he was coming to Brasília to have an intimate concert called Garota White (loosely translated as “Girl in White”), we almost immediately decided to go to the show. I might also add that I learned, embarrassingly late as usual, that Safadão is not his real last name, but it means something like, “very naughty.” It all made sense when I learned that—his name is Wesley “Naughty”?! He sings songs about being 99% an angel and 1% a “tramp”! It all was coming together for me.
The show was phenomenal—we were up close and personal with this Safadão and I was enjoying every moment of his singing, when suddenly, a man walked past me and lingered for a few seconds too long. Right as he slinked away into the crowd, I knew there was a problem. As I frantically felt inside my purse and didn’t feel my phone, I screeched, “That man stole my phone! Stop him!” But, as luck would have it, in this pressure, I didn’t yell in Portuguese, but in English, and no one understood me. So, the man got away with my cell phone, but I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying the naughtiest of naughty, the King of Sertanejo, the one and only, Wesley Safadão. Actually, I felt a bit reassured when I went to the police station the next day to file a police report and I learned that the police apprehended over 180 stolen cell phones from the concert. Although I doubt I will ever see my old phone ever again, I learned an important lesson—don’t take your cell phone to a concert—not even if you paid for the most expensive, exclusive tickets to the show!