Dive into Brazilian culture through a week of workshops, food, music and dance.
The Northwest Language Academy Cultural Center in Langley plans a special installment of their popular Language of Food Series on Saturday, Feb. 16, with “Celebrate Brazil!”
“This unique event series explores cuisines and cultures from around the world, and the ways in which they maintain an unbroken relationship with traditions of the past,” said Josette Hendrix, director of the nonprofit language academy.
For the first time, NWLA is expanding the Language of Food event for a weeklong exploration of all things Brazil. Package pricing is available for those wishing to participate in all events.
The week begins with “Today’s Brazil,” a Fireside Chat with Vicki Robin, Charlie Murphy and friends from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. Benefit from Robin’s decade of immersion in the mosaic of modern Brazil, from leading eco-tourism trips to presenting at the Instituto Visao Futuro and World Social Forum.
Along with fellow educator and activist Charley Murphy, Robin will lead a discussion rich in information and provocative ideas about social innovation and what can be learned from the multiplicity of cultures coexisting in today’s Brazil. Brazilian refreshments will be available for purchase. A donation on a sliding scale from $25 to $15 is suggested at the door.
From 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, join NWLA for a Capoeira workshop with Mestre Silvio and members of Capoeira Seattle. This Afro-Brazilian art form is a fluid and rhythmic martial art, combining tradition, philosophy and grace into a “beautiful game.” The workshop is open to all ages; pre-registration is required. Cost is $35; student discounts are available.
From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, local herbalist and ethnobotanist Steve Morris, doctor of naturopathic medicine, and his son Aaron Morris, doctor of naturopathic medicine, will share personal experiences of working with native healers and collecting medicinal plants in the Amazon rainforest. Participants will also learn how to make their own healing salves and preparations with Amazonian botanicals. Seating is limited; early reservations are recommended. Cost is $35, which includes all materials.
Then, from 2 to 6 p.m. Feb. 16, join Ana Paula Mendonça and Dora Oliveira in a hands-on cooking class focusing on Brazilian specialties. Discover how to make authentic Brazilian feijoada, empadinhas, churrasco, pao de queijo and more. Learn how Brazil’s unique mix of cultures and nationalities has marked its cuisine. Participants will receive a unique Brazilian cookbook with recipes from the instructors. Pre-registration required. Cost is $35 dollars.
The week will culminate with the Language of Food event “Celebrate Brazil” from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16. The evening begins with a feast of traditional Brazilian specialties, prepared by Ana Paula Mendonça and Dora Oliveira. Guests will enjoy regional dishes like feijoada, caruru and balhoada, as well as the national cocktail, caipirinha and, of course, coffee.
“Following the meal, NWLA is thrilled to welcome internationally acclaimed Brazilian artist Eduardo Mendonça and members of Show Brazil!,” said Hendrix.
Mendonça, a vocalist, composer, percussionist, guitarist and musical arranger, was born in Salvador, Bahia Brazil, and traces his lineage to a royal African family bearing the hereditary title of Mama-beka. He has performed in many venues in Bahia — Brazil, including performances for Brazilian President João Baptista Figueiredo, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama and former South Africa President Nelson Mandela.
For this event, Hendrix said, he is putting together a “special performance with family and friends that will bring Brazilian culture alive for our community.”
Expect song and dance from the traditions of Carnival, bossa-nova, Brazilian standards, and MPB (Brazilian popular music), as well as a special capoeira performance.
Learn more about Mendonça and Show Brazil! at www.showbrazil.com. Seating is limited; advance reservations recommended, as Hendrix says the event is certain to sell out fast. Cost is $75 per person. NWLA also welcomes volunteers in various capacities.
Overnight accommodations are available in the Cultural Center’s Guesthouse, 5023 Langley Road.