It’s such a shame to see the Olympics dwindle away so fast. The end of these international events always seems to sneak up on you. One minute you’re watching the walk of nations, and then…poof! All of a sudden the closing ceremonies come out of nowhere like a bittersweet kick in the head, serving as a harsh reminder that workplace conversation is a lot less seamless when nothing interesting is on TV. It’s no secret that Brazil was a roller coaster ride of media gold (pun intended), with swimmers being “robbed” at gunpoint, marathon runners doing push-ups mid-race, and kayakers crashing into stray couches. While we may not get to see teary-eyed, smiling faces gazing up at their respectively rising flags for a couple years, the cultural nuances of Brazil are easier to relive than one would think.
Take Trails and Ways for example. Despite the Californian band members meeting at UC Berkeley, their musical expression is heavily influenced by their time spent in Brazil and Spain. “Nunca” is a perfect example of that influence, with inclusions of Sao Paulo’s graffiti art scene, internationally inspired knocks at governmental corruption, and poetic Portuguese expressions. In reality, “Nunca” doesn’t have to do specifically with the Sao Paolo or Brazil as a whole. Rather, the song refers to the band’s confessed obsession with the world-renowned graffiti artist “Banksy“, hence the terms “Nunca” (never), Te esconder (hide you), and desaparecer (to disappear), all of which refer to Banksy’s mantra of unidentifiable elusiveness given no one has ever seen him before. Banksy aside, the soundbites of old-school boombox buttons and spray paint cans still contribute to the 80’s Brazilian dance hall allure that “Nunca” provides. Not to mention, speaking a few sexy Portuguese words can play nicely into my attempted façade that I’m an interesting person.