I am Professora Claire. I was born in Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil. I have been teaching Portuguese since 1998 and in 2005 I moved to California. Since then I’ve been giving Portuguese private lessons and doing translation work in Los Angeles .

out 082012

Today let’s listen to some really good Bossa Nova. I would say that all Bossa Nova is good but I have my favorites 😉

Let’s start with Tom Jobim (1927 – 1994). For me, there’s no one better than him although Chico Buarque is close.

Tom is one of the most important songwriters of the 20th century. More than 45 albums were launched between 1956 and 1994. Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra featured Tom Jobim’s songs on their albums Ella Abraca Jobim (20 bit mastering)
(1980, reissued in 2003), and Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967, reissued in 2010).

There is a wonderful DVD of a concert with the three masters of Bossa Nova, Tom, Vinícius and Toquinho. One hour of Brazilian Jazz. Check this DVD Masters of Bossa Nova: Jobim/Toquinho/Vinicius. It’s a classic.

Now, some classic videos. The first one show Tom Jobim telling us how the Bossa Nova started. Incredible video with some really important songs and valuable information.

The second video below shows Tom and Miucha (Chico’s sister) singing “Águas de Março”. It’s from 1978 (subtitles in Portuguese). This song is considered the best Brazilian song ever.

The third video is the same song, this time featuring Elis Regina (another favorite of mine). It’s from 1973 (English subtitles added). Enjoy it!

Tom Jobim interview. Learn about Bossa Nova from the master.

You can listen to this song and 13 more wonderful pieces of Brazilian music on this CD: Elis & Tom

There is another CD with Tom and Frank together. 20 songs. Look at this! Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings

Let me know if you need more CDs suggestions!

out 062012

Nonverbal communication

There are many differences in the way Brazilians and other countries – especially non-Latin countries – communicate, and I am not talking just about the language.


In Brazil, men greet and say goodbye shaking hands and sometimes giving a slight slap on the back; women shake hands and exchange air kisses near the cheek.

When you see Brazilians talking you’ll notice that the conversation is friendly, personal, informal but also complex, combining verbal and non-verbal communication and considerable use of body language.

They usually don’t take turns speaking. Interrupting the conversation to add something or make a comment is common; sometimes even speaking at the same time as their peers.

Brazilians talk easily about personal subjects and always use first names when addressing a person. Maintaining eye contact is important. They are also expressive with their hands and like to touch when speaking. Also, the perception of personal space is different from other countries, in Brazil closeness means trust.

In Brazilian culture, like in many others countries, words don’t communicate everything you really want to say. You can see in this cool video that even if you know the language, gestures can “say” more than words.  😉

There is a wonderful book (in Portuguese) about body language that illustrates well all the aspects of the nonverbal communication:  O Corpo Fala

If you want a good one in English, my favorite is The Definitive Book of Body Language.

Tell me about the nonverbal communication in your country, I love to learn about other places culture!