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Gifts by Locals, Brazilians and You: Weekend Fair Trade Doubleheader

Call it a call to action on some inconvenient truths. For Xmas gift options beyond the packaged, processed norm, two events this weekend between them offer a mix of guilt-free gift shopping and authentic Brazilian music one side and yes, education and innovation around sustainable gift-making, vegan soup kits included, on the other. After the jump, up your joy and ditch your stress surrounding gifts, holiday preconceptions and Sunday afternoon activity decisions.

GlobalAware, a collective of writers, photographers, activists, environmentalists, runs a workshop on sustainable gift-making at the Toronto Free Gallery on Queen East followed by another on re-thinking solidarity work. While the gift workshop focuses on alternatives to harmful consumer practices and why we need those alternatives, the second workshop examines ways "to provide viable alternatives for a more just and sustainable future." Those two events happen on Saturday, though next week GA's silent auction, party and fundraiser also featured some of the stark, eye-opening photos they've displayed around town and at their new Kensington Market store.

On Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7, The Trane on Bathurst hosts a craft fair set to the infectious shake n' syncopate of live Brazilian music, all of it with a homegrown flavour. Locally made and fairly traded goods on sale include handmade wool hats, jewellery, cards, textiles, musical instruments and drums, wood carvings and clothing. Organizer Luciano Porto Gonçalves, whose own importing business, Bavia Crafts, embraces creative living and fair trade, shows off two of his musical sides:

The berimbaus and other instruments Gonçalves imports support directly the Brazilian artisans and families that craft them, as do the hammocks and other goods. And if the bass drums bound by rope (alfaias) and beaded gourds (xequeres) look familiar, it's because Gonçalves is a mainstay of Maracatu Nunca Antes, His three brothers, also Nunca Antes stalwarts, join him for the afternoon's performances. Pagode da Betty, billed as a samba jam ("bring your instruments" he says), leads off at 3 p.m. for the forró and fusion act Mulambo Groove at 5:30, and it's all in the family. In fact, Gonçalves and partner Annie Lacaille are expecting their first child next spring, so you can support the incoming little one by buying your best chica some of Lacaille's jewellery (jóias in Brazilian Portuguese, as a matter of fact). There's no cover charge, and the Trane's kitchen opens right at 1 p.m. Tip: If you know anyone who's got the Capoeira bug or a jones for authentic Brazilian percussion instruments, bring 'em out for a jam and a look at the city's best-priced fair trade pandeiros and more, straight outta Recife.

Image from Bavia.ca. Flags and tapestries not included.


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