As many New Yorkers headed out of town for Labor Day, an enormous number of expat Brazilians gathered at Sixth Avenue to celebrate their Independence Day. Media giant TV Globo took over the artistic direction of the event as the lineup included bands in three different styles, beginning with sertanejo (Brazilian country), pop-rock and finally Axé Music, the Bahia-born dance beat that has become a staple during Carnaval.
Country duo Bruno & Marrone opened the day with a collection of their hits – mostly romantic or spiritually-inspired tunes that went down well with the audience. Up next was rock band Jota Quest, who brought in a high-energy set that contained blend of their greatest hits and also material from their latest disc, the Latin Grammy-nominated Ate Onde Vai (How Far it Goes).
Among the highlights was a cover of Roberto Carlos' “Alem do Horizonte” (Beyond the Horizon), and “Dias Melhores Virão” (Better Days Shall Come), an anti-suicide ballad about believing that things can get better. They also showcased their latest single, “Ja Foi” (It's Gone), and got everybody dancing on tunes like “De Volta ao Planeta” (Back to the Planet) and their breakout hit, “Encontrar Alguem” (To Find Someone).
After a brief break, Bahia's Asa de Aguia took the stage with a non-stop set of Carnaval tunes designed to make people dance. One of the best moments of that show was when vocalist and guitarist Durval Lelys invited the members of Jota Quest back on stage for a Carnaval-flavored rendition of “As Dores Do Mundo” (The Pains of The World), a song by Bahia-born Hyldon that was a huge hit for the rock band in their early days.
As the concert ended, the crowd emptied the streets, and many headed to one of the many non-official after-parties that took place both in Manhattan and Astoria, Queens, where yet another party was scheduled to take place the following day.