A close-up of the sign of Hendershot's Coffee Bar on Feb. 5, 2019 in Athens, Georgia before the start of a watch party for the State of the Union Address. The event was organized by Fair Fight, an organization championed by Stacey Abrams for its work in advocating for voter rights. (photo/Julian Alexander)

Athens band Bichos Vivos will take the stage of Hendershot’s Coffee & Bar this Saturday to celebrate Brazil’s Independence Day, declared by Dom Pedro on Sept. 7, 1822, with lively rhythms and a traditional cocktail.

Sept. 7 is a national Brazilian holiday marking the country’s independence from Portugal. The date is typically celebrated with parades, fireworks and concerts.

Tony Oscar grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and moved to Athens in 1991 in search of a new way of life, he said. His band, Bichos Vivos, came together two years ago and plays a traditional form of Brazilian music known as forró, which Oscar said is making a strong comeback in Brazil.

“It’s a very upbeat style of music,” Oscar said. “Everywhere we play there’s people dancing.”

Forró music is commonly traced back to the late nineteenth century when British companies built railroads using the labor of workers from the region. The company would host parties for the local workers to bring their friends and families and to enjoy lively music from local musicians, according to Encylopedia.com.

The parties were meant to be open to everybody, Oscar said, so it was announced to be “for all.” Invitations spread by word of mouth, and the legend says forró music derived its name from the pronunciation of “for all” changing to sound like “foh-hoh,” Oscar said.

Hendershot’s owner Seth Hendershot said Bichos Vivos has performed at Hendershot’s before. It is a coincidence that his band was asked to perform on Brazil’s Independence Day, and both Oscar and Hendershot thought it would be great to host a special celebration with traditional Brazilian music and drinks, Hendershot said.

“It’s just a big dance party,” Hendershot said. “This band is a party band, for sure.”

Hendershot’s will be decked out in festive decorations, and guests will be served caipirinha, a popular Brazilian cocktail made from cachaça and sugarcane.

The members of Bichos Vivos include Robert Moser singing vocals, Philip Kohnen on accordion, Lucas Tavares McAuliffe on guitar, William Freeman on bass, Todd Mueller on drums and Oscar himself on percussion.

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