The Cranberries oh so sweet in Belo Horizonte

The people from the city of Belo Horizonte are proud Brazilians but they are probably even prouder to be “Mineiros” i.e. from the state of Minas Gerais. And they have many things to be proud of. Popular Brazilian dishes such as Feijoada and Feijão tropeiro are all MG dishes. The best cheese in Brazil is from Minas which helps make their delicious cheese breads, hence the 5 kilo I have wrapped on around my tummy since I arrived. Cachaça was born here. The state’s well known for its nature, waterfalls, caves, and natural mineral resources. Mineiros are famed for their reserved and balanced character, and friendliness. MG is considered to be more authentic Brazilian than the rest of Brazil. Much more traditional than fancy Rio De Janeiro, a more native flavour than cosmopolitan São Paulo which is full of Italians (imagine!), the south is full of Germans, the north with their native Indians, and the northeast with it’s African influence. Trust me children, I am one of very few foreigners living here in ‘Bh’ (Belo Horizonte), there’s not an Irish bar to be seen until Rio.  With all these flying compliments, you could actually say Belo Horizonte is not only the capital city of Minas Gerais but probably the real capital of Brazil. 

So yes, Mineros, you’re a proud bunch of 30 million. So when someone like Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer from the Irish group “The Cranberries” walks out on stage of Chevrolet Hall, Bh, donning the famous red triangled flag of Minas Gerais. The roar from the crowd seemed to start from the belly of the mines themselves, and rumble up until it nearly cracked the floorboards wide open. I had pins and needles coming out of my arse. 

We hadn’t planned on going to the concert, but it was the idea of my wife, she knew that around Christmas time I had missed home. I think that’s why I was hesitant about going in the first place. I was afraid of my reaction once I saw them. That I might leap on stage, and attempt to give Dolores a hug, and then maybe we could sing ‘Zombie’ together. Yeah.. in my ‘Dreams’, excuse the pun. 

I’d never been to this particular venue, the Chevrolet Hall. It’s basically like a basketball arena, It fits about 3,000 people. The age group was between 18 and 45 and to my surprise the gig was sold out, not that the tickets were cheap, they worked out about R$140, which is €50. Remember the minimum wage in Brazil is about €200 a month, so it doesn’t leave much to survive on. They sang every word. They wore green. I was definitely moved. I thought some people were actually going to pull their hair out they were that emotional. I’m bald already, so there was no chance of me doing that. 

The great reception was well appreciated. Dolores and her band put on a solid show, she was responsive to the audience. She has a strong Limerick accent on her, and even I had problems understanding her. She told the Mineiros how great their city was with their beautiful trees, and she must have called everyone ‘gorgeous’ about a hundred times. She even walked into the crowd for the whole of “You and me”. They played all the tunes that you would want to hear, and also played a couple of songs from her solo album No Baggage, which I hadn’t heard and I liked, Switch off the moment and Journey was in the encore along with one of my personal favourites; Empty, and then they finished with Dreams (which was covered in Cantonese, sung by Faye Wong, and featured in the Wong Kar Wai movie Chunking Express. Sure I bet you didn’t know that!). 

So in the end, I managed to refrain from assaulting Ms. Riordan. But the tri-colour was frantically waved up and down, left to right desperately trying to get her attention. Hoping she would give us at least a nod, or even an “Ah Jayzez, howaya lads, fancy a gargle after the gig in our hotel, sure we’ll get locked”. And even though my wife tried to get past security to see them after the show, there was no hope. Sure she didn’t even acknowledge the flag, maybe she’s colour blind and got the flag mixed up and thought we were crazy Italians from São Paulo. 

With both flags raised high, it was a pleasure to stand alongside you and together sing the songs of a band from my country. Scribbled on the Minas Gerais flag that was wrapped around Dolores were a hundred welcomes from the locals. You should embrace yourselves knowing that your voice is not only restricted to the province of Minas Gerais, but it also extends to the green shores of Ireland. 



“Better Living” by Dr. Duffy

Suggestion 2: 

If you girlfriend/fiancée/wife/insists on approaching the ticket touts and doing all the talking themselves…no problem..just make sure they are doing it with their own money!.  



3 Responses to “The Cranberries oh so sweet in Belo Horizonte”
  1. Kevin says:

    Great blog post Keith. Maybe there’s no Irish bars in BH, but there is another Irishman there, and he’s a Dub too.

  2. Léo Ribeiro says:

    Man. I’m one of those proud mineiros you mentioned. So you can imagine how happy I am to read all this kind words on your post. Thank you in name of BH! P.S: Leave “Athletico” if you realy like soccer! haha

  3. Cleide Sousa says:

    Great post!!! I loved it! I’m a pround “mineira” and thanks for this:

    “And last but Ohhhhh not so least of all, the best looking Brazilian girls are from Minas ..yes folks indeed!”

    And also for telling that BH is the capital of Brazil… I always tought, because the history of our state, that people of MG are the real brazillians… In Rio, they are almost Portuguese… and in the other states, the reality is exactly what you’ve said.

    I loved your site, and I’ll often visit you!!!

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