In Conversation: Delei Duarte
Would you say that music is an important part of your life?
I got my musician ID (with official Brazilian register which is valid in all over the world) when I was 18 but I have been playing music since I was a boy, maybe 13 or 14 years old. In fact, my first memory is of singing and my elder sister complaining that she can’t concentrate on her study because of my songs (lol). That time I was three or four years old. So I can say that music is definitely very important in my life.
How would you describe Brazilian music?
Brazilian music, like all American music (North, Central and South America) is a mix of European and African Music. But I think Brazilian music has something unique to it because of the Portuguese, who colonized Brazil, had some influence from the Moors.
Who is your favourite singer or band in Brazil?
My favourite singer in Brazil is Chico Cesar who wrote a song called Mama Africa. Chico Cesar tours Europe every year to sing in some respectable houses. If you search for "Chico Cesar" in google or baidu you can find many of his songs. I also like another Brazilian called Tom Jobim who wrote many songs for Frank Sinatra.
How do local people in Nanchang people react to Brazilian music?
When I sing Brazilian music the audience in Nanchang just stops what they are doing and focus on the songs. I guess that is because the style is a mix of happiness and eccentricity.
Music and dancing go together, so if people wanted to know more about Brazilian dancing where can they go in Nanchang to learn?
In Nanchang there is no place to learn Brazilian dance, but I think if someone wants to at least watch some people dancing to Brazilian music that place should be Bossa Nova Garden, since the Brazilian’s who live in Nanchang go there almost every night.
You have been a key figure in bringing Brazilian barbeque to Nanchang. Has it been popular here?
We have provided Brazilian BBQ twice a week for the last 5 years. It means over a thousand nights of Brazilian BBQ in both Bossa Novas. It is very interesting that almost no Chinese ask for LaJiao to accompany their BBQ, which is really unusual as people in Nanchang love their spicy food. Our BBQ has a taste totally different of Chinese BBQ, but Nanchang people like it and want more and, after they try it once, they come back the next week with their friends. I think that is because the beef we serve is tender and the sausage has no sugar like the Chinese one.
What are them important points of Brazilian barbeque?
High quality beef, very little spice and taking a long time to get to the point that it is done. The slower cooking time means all the juices remain in the meat making it much more tender.
What drinks would you recommend go best with Brazilian barbeque?
The one I would personally suggest is Caipirinha (a traditional Brazilian Cocktail), but some people prefer to eat it with draught beer or Rum & Coke with lime.
Are there any uniquely special Brazilian drinks?
Yes, too many to list here. Certainly well over one hundred, but the one that is known internationally must be Caipirinha
So what is your favourite Brazilian food and drink?
My favourite Brazilian food is called Feijoada (black bean with pork) that is accompanied by rice, vinaigrette and Farofa (a special root flour with onion and sausage). It is possible to find it anytime in Shanghai, Beijing, or in other big cities, but in Nanchang you can only find it in Bossa Nova Garden. We cook it once a week and we have between 12 and 20 people per time (if you’d like to try it please book in advance though). My favourite Brazilian drink is "Cachaça no côco" which is a Brazilian rum that is put inside a coconut for at least a week. We have it in both Bossa Novas.
Brazil is famous around the world for football, carnival, beaches and the liveliness of her people. How would you describe the personality of Brazilian people?
The Brazilians are always available for Samba, beach, BBQ and beer. Sometimes it makes Brazilians seem like a foolish people (if that’s the right word), but we love to celebrate and we’ll never change this side of our character. (lol)
Then what things are important to you as a Brazilian?
I think nothing is more important than peace and love, and to celebrate it among family and friends. When we have a whole day or night celebrating with friends the next work day becomes more productive.
What are the similarities and differences between the way people in Brazil see life and the way people in China see it?
It is very interesting that both Chinese and Brazilians have so many similarities. They both work hard, but when they get a day to celebrate they make sure that day will be so intensive. Neither care about a fashion image or politics, happiness is most important.
What have you learned from living in China?
That It is better to save some money (even just a little) than get a Credit Card.
Is there anything you miss from home?
To be honest I feel that I am a citizen of the world. Any place that I come to live in I will be OK, as long as I don’t forget to bring my guitar and my Baby (my wife).
Did you know you can experience a slice of sunny South America here in Nanchang? Since 2010 Bossa Nova has been bringing us a taste of Brazilian music, food and life. Here we interview Bossa’s founder Delei Duarte about his views on music, food and life in Nanchang.