Festival Gastronômico Sabores de Itacaré

The Gastronomic Festival “Sabores de Itacaré” invites everyone to know a little more about the diversity and gastronomic quality of Itacaré. The event takes place from December 1 to 17. 40 restaurants participate in the festival. Seventeen days with public performances by the best local chefs and a cultural program with popular music.

Festival Gastronômico Sabores de Itacaré




Theater in Itacaré

When one of my students invited me to see the play, “A Igreja Bem Assombrada” I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical, considering I’m from New York, the mecca of arts. In the case of the play directed by Varuna Ribeiro and performed this past weekend, I stand corrected. Pure enjoyment was had by all.
The play takes place in a small town in the state of Minas Gerais. One of the priest’s helpers who is faithful to the church to a degree, invents a lie to attract new members and stir up energy in the town but the priest is not so convinced of his stories. Thus begins a personal investigation plus a sort of cat and mouse situation.
The majority of the actors were young teenagers from the local private school, Espaço Educar, who did a spectacular job. The screenplay, written by Jomar Magalhães of Rio de Janeiro, is by no means minuscule with regards to number of lines; and, the enthusiastic actors had memorized their lines to perfection and picked up on timing as well.
I’ll admit I didn’t understand every word but I was awe-struck by the humble yet professional set design, the changing of understudies, as well as the sound effects. Each month I am amazed by the enormous amount of talent in Itacaré. No one is immune.

Say Hello to Mara

By Lala the Sunchaser.

I first met Mara months ago at a pizza party where we shared only a few pleasantries then bid each other a good night. The next time we talked it would be for over an hour at a friend’s going away party. We took turns lying in the communal hammock on the roof of a popular hostel, sharing stories about our lives and what brought us to Itacaré. Rosemara Borgens de Carvalho, or Mara as her friends and family call her, was born in the neighboring town of Taboquinas. She has been living in Itacaré for more than twenty years. Her story inspired me and I’m glad that Mara was willing to share it with you.
mara_dancaDescribe Itacaré in three words.
(HUGE SMILE!) Belisimo! Exuberant! Exotic!

What do you do here? I have been working as an artist for the last ten years. At first it was a kind of therapy, but now it’s how I make my living. I’m co-owner of an accessory shop on Pituba. I also assist an English teacher in my neighborhood of Barrio Novo two nights weekly. I adore working with children.
At the party, you shared your story about how this shop came about. Please tell me again.
For six years, I had been working in Infant Education. My focus was teaching young children how to read and write. I also worked as a Nanny from time to time and was hired to work    in Salvador. One day my boss was admiring the blouse and hairpiece I was wearing. I told her that I made them both. She was taken aback and demanded that I return home immediately. She told me, “You are an artist Mara. What are you doing here working for me? Go back to your city and open a shop, make art. You have a gift.”

The following day I returned to Itacaré and noticed this location was for rent. (I conducted the interview in her shop on the main road.) I contacted the owner and signed the papers that day … I didn’t have any money, nothing. The rent was R$400 so I ask three of my girlfriends to open it with me and invest R$100 each. They weren’t aware that I had already signed the papers. It was like something was pushing me … a little voice that said, “Go, Try, You Can Do It!” In hindsight, I believe that when you really want something, you find a way. And when you don’t, you make excuses.

How did you learn to make clothes and accessories?
I didn’t take a course or study formally. A good friend who is now one of my partners at the shop makes clothes; I asked her to give me her left-over fabric, the scraps. I would recycle them, making fuxico and hair pieces; and now, that’s what I do.
What inspires your work?
Colors … vibrant colors.

Do you believe in God?
Yes. God is a figure … pure and perfect. The creator who is superior to all of us.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
I love samba … dancing, singing, and listening to it. My favorites are Maria Rita and Alcione. I also like to “people watch” especially at the beach.
What is your favorite Itacaré beach?
Resende … when I am there I am transformed … all worries disappear. I feel light and free.
What’s in store for the future of Itacaré?
It’s a city that is progressing but there are two sides: one positive and one negative. On the positive side, businesses are growing, there are more jobs, and better technology. However, this type of progression brings pollution, more garbage, drugs, crime and violence. This is a world-wide problem but it is more impactful in a small town like Itacaré.

I would like the city officials and the residents to invest more energy and money in education, professional courses, and cultural arts then sports being last. This is important to me because I have two children, ages fifteen and thirteen. They attend the public school in town.

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
Oh goodness, this is difficult … I will pick one for my work, one for me, and one for the world.
1) Professional: I want to grow as an artist and business owner … to evolve and earn my way.
2) Individual: To find romantic love … someone who wants to share everything.
3) World: That each person will experience peace. There is too much violence and war in the world.
Last question Mara, what is your favorite restaurant?
Malagueta, the spaghetti bolognese is delicious.

Mara and I could have easily talked all night. As she closed the shop, she shared another story about one of her many jobs as a receptionist in a funeral parlor. I couldn’t imagine her surround by grieving people and coffins. She was nearly in tears when she described how sad it was to have to sell things to people while they were in mourning. I’m happy she found her passion and Itacaré is better for it.

Introducing Franclin

By Lala the Sunchaser.

Born in Ilhéus, Franci (sounds like Frankie) moved to Itacaré fourteen years ago with his older brother, Thor. Yes, that Thor. Business owner, political candidate, and shining star. In 1998, Thor opened Thor Surf Shops and School and Franci has been instrumental in the growth of his brother’s business. When I asked a few people who’s the best surf instructor in Itacaré, Franci’s name was mentioned over and over. I haven’t had a chance to take one of his classes yet but I am already a fan.
franclinWhat do you do here in Itacaré?
I’m a surf instructor, a shaper (he makes surf boards), and an artist.
In the surf world, who are your influences?
Of course, my brother, Thor. And Washington Soledade. He was the first surfer in Ilhéus. When I was 16 years old, he invited me to work with him at his surf shop.
thorWhat is your favorite beach in Itacaré?

What other city compares to Itacaré in terms of the landscape and beaches?
That’s a tough one. I would say Camburi which is close to São Paulo and shares the same Atlantic Rainforests as Itacaré. When you surf, you can see green!

What makes you happy? What’s important to you?
My health, my work, my family and friends. In that order.
Where do you live and with whom?
I live at Kilometer 6 in the middle of the jungle alone. I don’t have a television so I spend a lot of time listening to the sounds of nature. I like to read and play by guitar too. Being alone is good for me … a nice balance since I work with people all day.

So you like music, what are you listening to these days?
Rush, Baden Powell, U2, and Yamandú Costa (a guitarist).

What is your one wish?
To have my own house in the middle of the jungle.
(Born in late June, Franci is a home body by nature like many Cancers.)

Tell me about your artwork. How long have you been making art?
I have been making the small surfboards for ten years now. The first one I made was so ugly, it wouldn’t even stand up straight. It was just a test but I put it in the window of my first “shaper” shop and a tourist bought it. I made five more the following week and sold them all. Then ten the next week and sold those too. So on and so on … I’ve only been doing the optical illusion paintings and boards for the past three years.
frank_optical_illusionDuring my second visit with Franci, he shared the story of a friend who is a formally-trained artist. This friend labeled him a technical artist and Franci was relieved to hear that there was a name for his particular ability. This friend suggested he take a look at the work of Op Art artist and pioneer, Vincent Vasarely. One year later after a near-fatal illness, Franci searched online and began copying the style of Mr. Vasarely. He said, “At that time, I wanted to be him.” Franci told me that he painted 5-6 hours consecutively some days. Painting nursed him back to health. A year or so later, he returned to Itacaré with twelve optical illusion paintings and started selling them on the main road.
From our previous discussions, I calculated that he began painting at 28 years old. So I asked, why so late? What inspired this?
My ex-girlfriend was a major influence. She comes from a family of painters. I began painting when we were living together.

What inspires me to continue painting is having a balanced life, without stress and problems. When I am working and can afford to take care of myself, I feel balanced.
What does Itacaré need to build a better future?
More emphasis and resources dedicated to the education of children. Also, a collective consciousness that will alter the political atmosphere. I learned to live in Itacaré so I want it to flourish but it’s been slow going. I am hopeful, nonetheless.

I believe that in the mind of each person, exists a world. We are the creators of this world and that means anything is possible. For me, it has been emotional conflicts that have inspired my evolution as an artist and a man. With each life challenge, a new idea materializes.

Our interview was scheduled for one hour. Two and a half hours later, I walked out of Thor’s shop floating and inspired. I look forward to getting to know Franci and watching him in action on the beach.


Meet Marcus Ba

Meet Marcus Ba, artist, painter, musician, Gemini, capoeirista, and home cook. He has been living in Itacaré since he was one year old. His family followed his talented grandmother here.
Marcus, what is your first memory of Itacaré?
A place with really good energy but there was havoc in the streets, on Pituba actually. The police were destroying people’s homes … mainly poor people … forcing them out. This was twenty-eight years ago, I was five. The locals shared everything. Conflicts existed but it was always peaceful in the end.

Itacaré has been exploited greatly. The town itself wasn’t ready for this type of exploitation and growth. The mentality of the people who arrived was totally opposite of the people indigenous to the land. People were living off the land and the ocean. Life was easy and free back then. I also remember the beautiful beaches and playing with my friends.

After this response, I knew I was in for an enlightening afternoon.
How long have you been painting and playing music?
I used to make my own instruments to play at home when I was a little boy. Then I joined my cousin’s percussion group called Filhos de Jah. And drawing and painting has been a constant. So all of my life … I have been making art since I was able.
marcus_filhosdejah marcus_boothMarcus’ cousin is Zé Rasta who currently lives on the border of Rio de Contas not far from Itacaré. 

Are you a Rastafarian?
No, I’m not a Rasta in the religious sense but I have compassion for Rastafarianism. I also have great respect for nature and my body.

Describe Itacaré.

A place beautiful for its nature, the quality of life it offers, and the people who live here.
marcus_paintingsIf you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?
South Africa because I think it’s closest to the culture here in Bahia. Ethiopia because it’s the birthplace of humanity. And Canada because I suspect they have a good quality of life.

What makes you happy Marcus?
Freedom (liberdade). When you are free inside you can do anything.

Where do you live and with whom?
I live in Porto Atrais, just outside of Itacaré center on Rua Novo Brasilia. I live with my family. My mother has been here most of her life. My whole family is respected and loved. My mom is a genuine spirit, very pure. She and I have a spiritual connection.

I can vouch for Marcus, his family is adorable. After a brief chat in front of his booth at the Artesano center, we walked to his house and he prepared the most yummy lunch. Then I met his mother, sister, brother, and his adorable nephew. His family runs a little store in the front of their home while Marcus paints away the day and plays music whenever possible.
marcus_comidaAfter lunch, we randomly stopped by a neighbor’s house. Marcus walked in, picked up an electric guitar, and started jamming with two guys who had been practicing. They were clearly impressed by his musical prowess — as was I.
What I admire most about Marcus is his committed to his art. He has been suporting himself solely on his art for the past 12 years. He lives truthfully and trusts in nature every step of the way. Most of his paintings incorporate waves, plants, trees, the ocean, and scenes from the local culture. I usually visit Marcus at his booth at night and practice my Portuguese while he practices his English. He is currently studying at Easy 2 Speak, the local English school.

ART made with love by KAU

By KalaLea.

When Kau first arrived in Itacaré eighteen years ago, there were no supermarkets, no resorts and only one bar called Bar do Senior Santana in town. Born in Bella Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais, Kau was 33 years old when she hopped off the bus with her (now) husband. Her first memory of Itacaré was the smell of the ocean and the abundance of nature. She immediately regretted putting this trip off for months and fell in love at first sight.
A budding English speaker, Kau and I met in one of my English classes at Casarão Amarelo. After class she invited me to her shop and upon entering I knew I had to write about this sweet, happy and talented artist. Take note, there are no shortage of artists in Itacaré but Kau is one of the brightest stars in the bunch.
kau_portraitWhen asked what inspires her, she gave me a warm smile and said, “colors inspire me to create. I particularly love the many colors of beads (micangas)”. Before coming to Itacaré, Kau lived for three months in Morro de Sau Paulo living only off of selling her bead work.

Kau`s Art Boutique is a warm and colorful little shop on the main road aka Pituba. One of her specialties is fuxico, a brilliant way to use leftover pieces of fabric that may otherwise be thrown away. The word comes from the word “fuxicar” which means to gossip which is exactly what the women who worked in this artform did when sitting around a large table.

kau_shopWhere did you stay when you first came to Itacaré?
I came with my husband to Gravatar Pousada and every night during the week I would sell my artwork in the front.

When did you open your shop?
I opened my first store in 1998 and everything I sold was made with my own hands. Then in 2004, I opened this shop on Pituba. I don`t have the time to make everything any more but I do what I can.
Itacaré has changed a great deal over the last 18 years, has it changed for the better or worse?
It depends on how one sees things, I think it has changed for the better but it`s not as peaceful — especially during the summer or high season.

What is your favorite restuarant in Itacaré?
Encanto de Artes for their pasta dishes (massas).

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I have only traveled around some parts of Brazil and Argentina; however, I would still say Itacaré. It is my Port Seguro (safe haven). There is something special about this place, a strong pulling and positive energy.

What type of music do you like and name your favorite artists.
Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB) and Rock
1) Geraldo Azevedo 2) My favorite song is Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin.

If you had one wish, what would it be?
My wish would be not to lose my inspiration nor my health so that I can always create which makes me feel happy and complete.

Kau`s Art is open every day. In addition to fuxico and fitas de cetim (bracelets), Kau makes and sells tee shirts, handbags, home decorations and much much more. And don`t forget to check the promotion basket for special deals.