2014 Jazz Fest highlights New Orleans' and Brazil's cultural si - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

2014 Jazz Fest highlights New Orleans' and Brazil's cultural similarities

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - There's a South American spirit in the air at the 2014 Jazz Fest.

This year, the cultural exchange tent features more than 100 performers and authentic food from Brazil.

"This is a sample of the variety and the richness of the culture. That's all we can do, give you a sample, a little tease," said Valerie Guillet, the Cultural Exchange Program Coordinator.

The Brazilian culture exhibits draw parallels to the culture in New Orleans.

"Brazil has their own Gumbo, so does New Orleans," said Guillet.

They even share similarities in the intricate, custom, wearable-art.

"If you look at their beaded robes that they wear, you will see striking similarities with our Mardi Gras Indian suits here in New Orleans," said Guillet. "It's interesting, because as we see Mardi Gras Indians coming through, they go and check it out."

The practice also lures New Orleanians who are drawn to the similar histories of Brazilians and Louisianans into the Cultural Exchange Pavilion.

"They really love life. I think that's something that New Orleanians have in common with them. They're resilient, they survived a lot just like us, and the music is awesome," said Jazz Fest attendee Sarah Whalen.

"If you look at the heritage of the two places, they're similar: similar blending of African, indigenous and European cultures," said Guillet.

Guillet said the performers who flew in for Jazz Fest are committed to preserving that heritage.

João do Pife has been making traditional flutes in Northeast Brazil for more than 50 years.

"It's a very natural sound, it's very rustic and it's transversal," Pife's assistant said through a translator.

The authentic sound of the rich culture rang out in the midst of a festival dedicated to celebrating cultural force.

"Brazilians feel at home here. They already told us many times that they feel like they are home," said Guillet.

The cultural exchange tent sits in between the Acura and Congo stages. The tent features a stage with live music and dance showcases, a craft store, and Brazilian street food.

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