Around Town with Phil: A Month of Portuguese Heritage Programs
The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will host a variety of programs to explore and celebrate Portuguese heritage during the month of June. Resident artists Manny Vinagre and Manny Catulo will demonstrate their crafts, a film chronicling the dory fishing days of the White Fleet will be shown, and Fado singer Ana Vinagre will entertain with songs of loss and longing. All events are free and open to the public.
Resident artist Manny Vinagre will demonstrate Portuguese decorative knot work on Saturday June 2 and Saturday June 9 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Vinagre learned how to tie seaman’s knots at escolaprofisional de pesca (fish school) in Portugal over 50 years ago. Now a retired fisherman, he creates intricately woven cintos (belts) and bolsas (bags) of his own design using synthetic rope. Each belt or bag is unique, with original patterns created through the use of color and texture, that Manny plans out in his head for each piece.
On Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m., The Lonely Doryman will be the featured Dock-U-Mentary film. For more than four centuries, young Portuguese fishermen went to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and Greenland to fish for cod. Known as the Portuguese White Fleet, men set off on schooners under full sail, to then drift in a flat-bottomed dory as they baited hundreds of hooks on long-lines. They labored 18 hours a day in pursuit of cod.
This 1968 National Geographic film provides a rare window into this life. Retired fisherman Manny Vinagre, who fished as part of the White Fleet before emigrating to New Bedford, will share memories of his dory fishing days. The film will be shown at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park's theater.
Resident artist Manny Catulo will demonstrate the art of model boat making on Saturday June 16 and Saturday June 30 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Catulo recreates the traditional fishing boats that plied the waters of Portugal prior to World War II.
These wooden boats predate the engine and were propelled by oar and sail. His detailed models begin as planked hulls and are then brightly painted in traditional blues, greens, and reds. He carves miniature oars, creates tiny anchors, fishing nets complete with floats and sinkers and even bailers. He will also have model boats on display.
A free concert featuring Ana Vinagre, one of the area's best known and most respected Fadistas, will take place on Thursday June 28 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Born in Portugal, she immigrated to New Bedford as a young woman with her husband Jose.
Both had been members of folkloric dance and music ensembles and they have continued to perform at area Portuguese restaurants, community events, and in festivals and concerts around the nation.
They take great pride in their culture, and enjoy teaching American audiences about the tradition of Fado music, a genre that developed in the port city of Lisbon performed at waterfront clubs and bars frequented by sailors and seamen.
This series is funded in part by Massachusetts Cultural Council.
The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of the commercial fishing industry past, present, and future through archives, exhibits, and programs. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Center at (508) 993-8894.
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