Canecao: Remembering Rio's Legendary Concert Hall

by Brazil Club - Let The Music Take You There on 06/27/2015 - 12:51 pm

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Rio's Canecao nightclub. Photo courtesy Globo

photo: Globo

By Scott Adams, Midday Host on The Sounds of Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is a busy city these days. With less than six weeks to go before the Olympic torch ignites the Summer Games of 2016, there is activity everywhere: New construction, updates and improvements. What was old is becoming new again as the city brightens its profile for the world stage.

However, one stage that won’t be making the trip forward is in the legendary Canecão concert hall which this week celebrated the 49th anniversary of its grand opening in ignominious silence.

Originally intended to be a large brewery and dining emporium (its name means ‘Big Mug’ in Portuguese), Canecão’s musical debut came on June 22, 1967 when singer Bibi Ferreira strode onto the stage. Since that opening night the venue played host to a ‘Who’s Who’ of Brazilian performers and international tours including Gal Costa, Djavan and Roberto Carlos. It was the scene of countless premieres. Marisa Monte launched the release of her ‘Rose and Charcoal’ album from under its spotlights. “Everyone who’s anyone,” as Frommers Brazil noted.


The Sunday Brazilian Brunch salutes Canecão with three-in-a-row 'Ao Vivo' sets from Gal Costa, Leo Gandelman and Djavan. Listen Live (above) at 9 am, 2 pm and 8 pm Central.


The playbills piled up so quickly that within just a few short years Canecão had secured its place in Brazilian musical history as the most important concert hall in the country’s most important musical city. Its name became synonymous with Brazilian pop. The sign on the door said it all: “In this house, the history of Brazilian pop music is written.”

And even though it held up to 2,500 seats, the stage was close enough to the audience to create an intimacy that performers loved. Bossa singer Miucha remembered: "This show we did was unique in that it looked like you were in the room with friends, the way Vinicius de Moraes chatted with the audience was a magical place."

Located in Botafogo across the street from the popular shopping mall Rio Sul, Canecão shuttered its doors for good in 2010 after a protracted court case. And while there is hopeful talk of restoring the venue to its former musical glory no plans have been undertaken.

Today, it’s a safe bet that generations of Carioca concert-goers still have ticket stubs to remind them of the magical memories of a night at Canecão. Good thing. Because today, that’s all that’s left.


Did you make it to Canecão during a visit to Rio? Tell me all about below.