Opulent churches, quiet streets, cobblestone paths, historic architecture – it’s always there, in Ouro Preto, Brazil. However, one experience of visiting this small town sheltered by the mountains of Minas Gerais is never the same as any other. I always get delighted, even if it’s just to spend a couple hours before heading back to Belo Horizonte.
Always full of events year-round, Ouro Preto’s calendar for 2011 is a special one, which makes it worth yet another visit. Having celebrated its tricentennial (300 years!) this past Friday, July 8, Ouro Preto has organised a series of celebrations that started exactly a year ago. Beyond the traditional events, like the Carnival and Holy Week (Semana Santa), the town will boast a host of musical and cultural events.
Opening this weekend, the celebrated Festival de Inverno or Winter Festival of Ouro Preto promises to be a special one. The rock band Paralamas do Sucesso, the multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal and the symbol of Minas Gerais music, Milton Nascimento, promise to warm-up the arctic nights of Ouro Preto.
Another event that enhances the musical appeal of Ouro Preto will take place next month, from 25 to 27 of August. This year, the Festival Tudo é Jazz (Ouro Preto Jazz Festival) will pay homages to Tom Jobim, the great master of Brazilian music. In its 10th year, the festival usually brings jazz fans from all over Brazil, who gather around a few stages erected around the town.
I’ve been to a few of the past festivals and I can tell you that the most fun part, as shown in the photo above, is the train ride from Ouro Preto to Mariana. In 2008 I had the pleasure this musical journey in the company of the Russo Jazz Band (pictured), already a highlight of the festival.
This year, as the it couldn’t be any less fun, the Ouro Preto Festival Tudo é Jazz is already marked on my calendar.