Friday, May 27, 2011

Almost Ipanema

The syncopated sounds of the bossa nova and the samba eddied their way among the stacks, as Brazilian singer/guitarist Fernando Holz welcomed a large crowd into the Valente branch of the library last Wednesday night with dusky rhythms celebrating the 26th annual Rogers Celebration of Portuguese-Speaking Peoples and their Cultures. Row after row of chairs were filled by adults of all ages and a sprinkling of elementary school students from the neighborhood, all of them smiling or bobbing or nodding in time to the music. "I would like to play my guitar like him," said a wistful young girl in the front row, "but I have to wait until my friend can tune it."

"Our house is small but our heart is big for you," said Artemis Kilroy, branch librarian, addressing the audience. She thanked the Manuel Rogers family for its ongoing support of the branch, spoke of the many newly acquired books and DVDs of interest to the Portuguese community, and introduced Valente staffer and fluent Portuguese-speaker Mary Carter, who has recently designed story-times and sing-alongs especially for neighborhood patrons.

Then along came storyteller Len Cabral, pictured to the left, who spoke of whaler ancestors who sailed bravely about the seas "picking fights with the largest mammal in the world." Cabral's humorous tales took full advantage of his Cape Verdean roots, and he enchanted the assembled, illustrating his words with broad and sinuous gestures. The audience, having thoroughly identified with Cabral, were still laughing as they made their way to a table laden with fruits, cakes, and cookies, Holz's guitar thrumming again in the background.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

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