Do you know the house where the young Carlos Drummond de Andrade met with other writers and participated in his first soirees in Belo Horizonte? And the church in the capital of Minas Gerais where, in the book “Hilda Furacão”, by Roberto Drummond, the protagonist leaves her fiancé at the altar?
And did you know that Clube da Esquina, one of the main musical movements in the country, had its embryo in the city center, and not in the traditional neighborhood of Santa Tereza, where it became famous?
On foot, passing in front of buildings that still exist, others that have replaced historical points, statues and also landmarks, it is possible to delve into the past and life of Drummond, in the work of Roberto Drummond, and in the creation of Clube da Esquina.
The two writers and the musical movement each received guided tour itineraries created by the couple Rafael Sette Câmara, 37, and Luísa Dalcin, 38, based on reading biographies, historical records and public archives.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade was born in Itabira (MG) on October 31, 1902. The family began living in Belo Horizonte in the early 1920s. The book “Hilda Furacão” had its first edition released in 1991 and is narrated between the years 1950s and 1960s.
Clube da Esquina, whose main names are Milton Nascimento, Márcio Borges, Lô Borges, Telo Borges, Tavito, Toninho Horta and Beto Guedes, was born in the 1960s.
The Drummond itinerary has among its first points a mansion on the corner between Sergipe and Gonçalves Dias streets, in what is now the center-south region of the capital.
The mansion was known as Vivacqua Hall. He belonged to the Vivacqua family, Italian immigrants, who lived in Espírito Santo.
The move to the capital of Minas Gerais occurred because one of its members, Hércules Vivacqua, also young, was diagnosed with tuberculosis. At the time, Belo Horizonte was considered a reference city for the treatment of respiratory diseases.
Drummond met Hércules and started attending the Vivacqua Salon. “It was in the mansion that Drummond had his first meeting with Pedro Nava, also a writer, who would become a friend of the poet throughout his life”, says Sette Câmara.
The mansion becomes a meeting point for writers and artists and a place to hold soirees.
Belo Horizonte appears in several of the writer’s poems. In them, Drummond talks about the gardens of Praça da Liberdade, which had State secretariats and the Palácio da Liberdade, created to be the headquarters of the Executive Branch of Minas Gerais, around it. At the time, trams passed through there.
Trams that connected with the main cultural point of Belo Horizonte at the time Drummond lived in the city, Rua da Bahia, in the blocks close to Avenida Afonso Pena, in the center of the capital, where the tour continues.
There were Bar do Ponto, on the corner of the two roads, Cine Odeon, up Rua da Bahia on the right, and further on on the same side, Livraria Francisco Alves, all frequented by Drummond.
The route also passes by the Automóvel Clube, where Drummond released his first book “Alguma Poesia”, in 1930. The building is on the corner of Afonso Pena and Avenida Álvares Cabral.
It is also the center of Belo Horizonte that another writer from Minas Gerais, Roberto Drummond, uses as the setting to write one of his main works, “Hilda Furacão”.
The protagonist, an upper-class girl who leaves her family to live in the bohemian area of the city, abandons her fiancé at the altar of the São José Church, which is located on Afonso Pena between Tamoios and Espírito Santo streets.
“Hilda Furacão” has characters inspired by people who lived in the city at the time, but is set in places that still exist.
In addition to the São José Church, the building of the then Deliberative Council, a type of Belo Horizonte City Council at the time in which the story takes place, today houses the Fashion Museum.
It is on Rua da Bahia, the same as Carlos Drummond, on the corner of Avenida Augusto de Lima. The building resembles a church.
In Roberto Drummond’s book, a bill would be voted on by the council to remove women from the bohemian zone. The text, however, ended up not being voted on due to pressure from Hilda Furacão, who knew the members of the council.
Hilda’s route also passes through the current bohemian area of the center of Belo Horizonte, which is the same as in the book. The places where the Maravilhoso Hotel, where the protagonist lived, and the Montanhês Club, where she worked, were located on the tour.
One is next to the other on Guaicurus Street, an area that contains the largest number of so-called “up and downs” in the city, which are small buildings with rooms rented by girls and a high turnover of male presence.
In the book, the bar Café Palhares is mentioned as being frequented by Hilda, which is located on Tupinambás Street, two blocks from the São José Church. It was opened in 1938.
Turning the corner of the street where Palhares is located and taking Afonso Pena on the left is one of the stops on another route drawn up by the couple, Clube da Esquina. Today it is a deactivated store.
In the 1960s, it was known as Ponto dos Músicos. “Artists came here to get work, and got recommendations to play at dances and commercial establishments in the capital”, says Sette Câmara.
A plaque at the site shows, among those who arranged service through Ponto do Músico, artists such as Milton Nascimento, Wagner Tiso [um dos principais compositores parceiros de Milton] and Marilton Borges.
The name of what would become one of the main movements in Brazilian music was immortalized by the usual meeting of its members on a street corner in the Santa Tereza neighborhood, in the eastern region of the city.
However, the story of the corner begins in the center of Belo Horizonte, in the Levy Building, on Avenida Amazonas, also in the center of the capital. Milton Nascimento, who moved to the capital in 1963, started living in this building, in an apartment that today would perhaps be called a republic.
The Borges family, the brothers Marilton, Lô, Márcio, who lived in Santa Tereza, and later returned to the neighborhood, also lived in the Levy Building.
“One day the mother asks Lô to buy bread. She goes downstairs and hears someone playing the guitar very well. It was Milton Nascimento”, recalls Sette Câmara.
Also in the center is one of the bars where Milton Nascimento played at the beginning of his career. It is one of the stops on the Clube da Esquina tour.
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