After hearing the story of Minas, Philadelphia’s established Bossa Nova band, it’s hard not to believe in fate. At the band’s core are Orlando Haddad and Patricia King Haddad, couple whose musical and romantic partnership spans over forty years and reads like the blueprint of a fairytale.
At first glance, it’s surprising that the band ever came to be; while Orlando grew up in Brazil, Patricia hails from Pennsylvania. While a teenaged Orlando developed a fascination with British and American culture that spanned from the Beatles to blue jeans, Patricia became interested in Brazilian beats. Or, as Patricia describes their divergent backgrounds, “I was tuning into the Brazilian music while Orlando was tuning into the American music.”
But the couple’s musical interests must have tangled somewhere over the Atlantic, because in that collision of Brazilian and English culture lies the genesis of their new show, The Beatles in Bossa Nova. The event, scheduled for this Saturday at World Cafe Live, will be a “bridging of the two cultures,” a compilation of Beatles songs translated into Bossa, Samba, and other forms of Brazilian music. However, to all the Beatles purists out there, the duo gives assurances.
“It’s very familiar,” Patricia says, noting that they left the original lyrics intact. “It doesn’t really stray from the essence of the music.”
Furthermore, the duo states that in the process of translating the Beatles into Bossa Nova, they found that some songs, such as “I Will,” “Day Tripper,” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” already contain rhythms of Bossa Nova.
However, Minas’ cultivation of Brazilian culture in the United States goes beyond their band, constituting a fundamental element of their lives. In fact, it was Orlando’s relocation to the States for college that rerouted his interests from Beatlemania to Brazil. He says that upon establishing himself in the United States, he realized: “I come from a terrific culture that has its own ways and traditions, and all I have to do is reach out.”
And “reach out” he did. First by studying Brazilian music, then by forming Minas with Patricia in 1978. As Minas, the pair takes credit for bringing Brazilian music to Philadelphia, since before they arrived there “was no Brazilian scene.” Furthermore, their outreach extends beyond their band to a school program called Brazilian Adventure. The program, which has reached over half a million children, exposes kids to Brazilian culture and corrects their misconceptions about the country, beginning with its location on a map. In fact, this show is just their latest endeavor in bridging the gap between Brazilian and American culture; a project they’ve been forming for decades instead of, as they claim, a few months.
This Saturday, by reaching back to Beatles music, they extend a hand to you: to Beatles buffs, to fans of Bossa Nova, to tired students in need of a “tropical perspective,” or simply to those who want, as the band promises, to sing along to “Hey Jude” at the end of the show. So come this Saturday if you want to see a performance practically written in the stars, or perhaps more accurately, written in the sky with diamonds.
The Beatles In Bossa Nova will take place at World Cafe Live– Upstairs on Saturday, Nov 11. Doors 7:00 PM/ Show 8:00 PM