It was so lovely capturing this family and their generational “evolution” within the folklore experience. Growing up in ranchos folcloricos right here in New Jersey, from the age of 7, to present-day adulthood and parenthood, Victor’s personal journey with Portuguese folklore groups has defined so much of his life. There is so much to say about so many wonderful ranchos in this post, that I’m not sure I could do it any justice, but all of them are lucky to have had him.
From dancing in Dancas e Cantares de Portugal do P.I.S.C in Elizabeth, NJ, at the age of 7, to his present involvement in Rancho Camponeses do Minho, and Casa do Ribatejo in Newark, NJ, there were several in between, including:
- Rancho Roca-O-Norte – Newark, NJ
- Rancho Casa dos Arcos -Newark, NJ
- Rancho Pescadores do Tejo – Newark, NJ
Whether it was as a child in one, or being recruited with his parents and sister to another, or now with his children in one that is especially family-oriented, his experience is well-rounded. Starting off solely as a dancer when younger, his musical abilities pushed him to explore the concertina, and he has since been on that side of the coin. Every member of his family has held a different role in these ranchos, whether it was dancing, part of the procession, or as a singer or musician. Now a dad, he hopes his children continue this tradition too, with his two young ladies as dancers themselves.
Ties that Bind: Portugal, but here
To hear Victor talk about everything related to his experience with Rancho, well, you could sit for hours. The stories and excitement that comes with them are especially palpable. Rancho was not only a way to bring Portugal closer to him while living here, it was also a way of finding Portugal elsewhere around the globe. From almost every Portuguese community along the eastern seaboard, to Canada and even France. There was a “familiarity, a common ground, a space an opportunity for connection and friendship”, as he puts it. On a random trip to Lisbon, he followed the sound of concertinas one night in Alfama. At the end of those melodies, he found the Casa dos Arcos de Lisboa having a festa. Coincidentally, at the same time he was part of Casa dos Arcos here in Newark.
During summer visits to Portugal, seeking out and going to other Ranchos’ festas was the norm. Immersing himself in all that Viana do Castelo, Barcos, Ponte de Lima and Arcos had to offer was the vacation. The summer would end with his return in time for a massive festa in Ludlow, Massachusetts. Some would call this a pilgrimage of Portuguese immigrants from all over the world who have been involved in ranchos.
Ultimately, rancho gave his family a sense of unity. With summers in Portugal, they sought to explore more of what folklore across the country had to offer. Noting his interest in the concertina, his grandparents even commissioned one be custom made by boutique concertina-maker Joaquim Nogueira. Perhaps one day, this will be his son’s.
As he puts it: “rancho is like an escape to Portugal- but instead of taking a seven hour flight, you walk through the door as the concertina plays and the castanholas keep the beat.”
Knowing exactly what he is talking about, I can’t say I disagree.
To inquire about participation in this unique Ranchos Folcloricos project, please visit the page below for details and application.
Sofia Ribeiro Photography is a New Jersey Maternity Photographer, New Jersey Newborn Photographer, New Jersey Baby & Child Photographer, and New Jersey Family Photographer based in Northern New Jersey, serving North and Central NJ, including but not limited to Bergen County, Essex County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Morris County, Monmouth County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County, and Warren County. We also serve New York City and Staten Island.