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Valeria Oliveira: A Brazilian gem in New Orleans

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Valeria Oliveira: A Brazilian gem in New Orleans Photo by Luciano Azevedo
Having completed a study abroad program in International Business in Brazil, a good friend of mine gave me a CD of the music of Brazilian singer and songwriter Valeria Oliveira knowing how much I love the Portuguese language. I was only too excited to finally listen once again to this beautiful language that I dreamed of learning for so long. Since receiving the disc, I have fallen in love with the melodic sounds of this songstress and the disc has remained on repeat. Full of the emotion experienced with Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged and the sultry sounds that you would expect enjoying Sade, Valeria's mixture and sound is more alluring than I could ever have imagined.

When asked if I would like to sit down with this songtress to hear her take on her time here in New Orleans, I was only too excited to accept. I was a bit nervous to converse in Portuguese, but nonetheless more than happy to welcome such a gem to our city.
Invited to New Orleans by musical producer and musician Mitchell Player along with Dean Ellis of WWOZ with support  from the Ministry of Brazilian Culture, Valeria Oliviera is here to perform jazz, samba, and bossa, as well as her own compositions, while also working to improve her English at the Intensive English Language Program at the University of New Orleans. She has already performed at Preservation Hall, on WWOZ with Dean Ellis and Suzanne Corley, and at Snug Harbor with local artist Tricia “Teedy” Boutte. Having performed with Tricia in 2010 in her hometown of Natal, Brazil, Valeria continues to promote cultural exchange with artists. She said, “My coming here is very beautiful and very exciting. I met Mitchell Player for the first time back in 2009 at Preservation Hall. We began corresponding via email and one year later we invited his band, The Bootleg Operation, and Tricia Boutte to come to Brazil and now I have returned here. We continue to discover music and it's really quite exceptionall.”

Not having realized that this time of the year she would have the opportunity to enjoy what has become the nation’s largest free music festival, Valeria was blown away by French Quarter Fest. “It was four intense days with so many good people and great artists," she said. "During the festival, there were samples from so many of the city's famous restaurants, so we enjoyed an abundance of delicious food, especially seafood. It was marvelous!” Valeria couldn't help but to admit that New Orleans is a "seductress" and plans to make her way back here for next year's French Quarter Fest. She added, “I love the happenings in Jackson Square because in this square, there are always bands playing, which is very interesting to me. And the streets are full of wonderful musicians! It shows just how strong the cutlure is."
Valeria has been absorbing as much of the New Orleans music scene as possible. “I’ve enjoyed many things, including the music, various interesting artists, and very good performances,” she explained. In promotion of cultural music exchanges with local musicians, Valeria has already invited Tricia and The Bootleg Operation to perform again in her hometown in 2013 and is looking forward to the opportunity to bring other artists as well. 

WHAT: Tricia Boutte and Paul Longstreth

WHEN: Sunday, April 22 (7:00pm)

WHERE: Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse (300 Bourbon St.)

Last modified on Sunday, 22 April 2012
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