Annual Soho Portugal celebrates Portuguese culture and music

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Under the hot summer sun, on July 10, the annual Portugal took place on 6th Avenue and Canal Street in SoHo Fett.

The pandemic version of last year’s festival was a virtual concert, but this year’s festival features musicians and returns in person.

After its premiere at the Arte Institute’s Soho Square in 2015, nonprofit sponsors expanded the Portuguese cultural festival to Sullivan Street, making it one of the city’s most authentic block parties.

This surrounding block of Soho is one of the streets where Portuguese locals settled after WWII and are still inhabited today.

Currently, it is difficult to get a permit for an event in the outdoor public space, and with the help of GreenBelow 14, the founder of the Ana Ventura Miranda festival has secured the Juan Pablo Duarte square for this year’s cultural compliment. . She predicted, “Next year we’ll be back on Sullivan Street.”

Ana Ventura Miranda moved to New York in 2006 and worked as a journalist for Portuguese Television, the United Nations Mission in Portugal and the Sonnabend Gallery. She promotes contemporary Portuguese art through the Arte Institute, which she founded in 2011. Her documentary, Soho Portuguese, was released in 2016.Photo by Tequila Minsky

The former actress, now a producer and journalist, left Portugal for New York 15 years ago. Three months after arriving, she found that she was living in a building in the Printing District on Bloom Street. Almost half of the tenants were Portuguese, many of them due to migration after WWII.

Her residence, anchored in the Portuguese community of New York, urged Miranda to elaborate on the history of her neighbors and neighbors. His documentary Portuguese Soho, released in 2016, tells their story and has been screened at Bethbio Park in Soho and at the Anthology of Film Archives, MOMA in 26 other countries.

Miranda founded the Arte Institute in 2011 to promote Portuguese culture. With support, she produces nationwide musical, film, artistic, literary, dance and performance events.

In front of the statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, named after the Dominican military leader, Carlos Ferreira played the entire drum session, bringing modern rhythms to the streets.

Switching to a softer shade, Fatima Santos and Jose Luis Iglesias represented traditional Portugal through the Fado musical genre.

The expressive and melancholy music is known as fado.Photo by Tequila Minsky

Fado, played in Portuguese pubs, cafes and restaurants, is known for its expressiveness and melancholy. It is part of the intangible cultural heritage inscribed on the representative list of UNESCO. The afternoon Portuguese melodies and lyrics definitely brought the culture home.

Village resident Maritherma Costa stumbled upon it mistaking the gray parrot for air and was mesmerized by Fado’s performance.

Village resident Maritherma Costa and her gray parrot Toto set off in search of air.Photo by Tequila Minsky

“It was great to hear some of Amalia Rodriguez’s fados from such a delicate soloist,” she said. “Unfortunately, the music was not amplified and some notes were swallowed up by traffic on 6th Avenue.”

Also in the afternoon, on site, art tables and thick chalk provided for hands-on activities encouraged people to recreate some of the beautiful designs of traditional Portuguese cement tiles.

The annual Sohofet usually includes a large number of food vendors selling Portuguese products and always offering a ‘Portuguese taste’. This year, both camps were missing.

These Portuguese tiles, leaning against the wall of the heart, inspired the reproduction of the drawing and the color of cement in chalk.Photo by Tequila Minsky
Under the Portuguese flag (here seen from the back), young people are encouraged to express themselves through art.Photo by Tequila Minsky

Miranda deplores the lack of Portuguese food.

“What is a traditional festival without food? She sighed and explained why food sales weren’t allowed this year.

Nonetheless, this year’s festival continues the tradition of this annual event.

The Arte Institute is currently presenting the New York-Portuguese Short Film Festival at Lincoln Center on July 14 and at the Tribeca Film Center on July 15. For more information on the work of the Arte Institute, visit: arteinstitute.org.


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