It’s Called Culture podcast tells stories of Portuguese growing up


It’s called Culture, have you ever heard of it?

The podcast, that is.

Fall River natives Melissa Cole and Kelly Ferreira are the co-hosts of It’s Called Culture, a new podcast about “stories, anecdotes, and historical information about the growth of America’s first generation.”

Cole, who grew up in Cabral, and Ferreira met in kindergarten about 30 years ago when they attended Espirito Santo Parish School.

They are the millennial children of Portuguese parents, the first generation to have grown up in the United States.

“Kelly and I experienced this culture as millennials, living through the technological transformations that define our generation with the layering of customs and social behaviors from the remote and deeply religious archipelago of the Azores,” Cole said.

With both of their families coming from the Azores and their early school years immersed in the Portuguese community, Cole and Ferreira only realized later that their experiences growing up weren’t as universal as they thought.

“Because the community was so overwhelmingly Portuguese, we grew up with customs, beliefs and traditions that we thought were widespread and common. Eventually, with distance and reflection, we were able to recognize the uniqueness of what we collectively experienced growing up as part of the local Portuguese culture,” added Cole.

Their podcast is all about sharing the experiences they now know are special.

“Kelly is a podcast enthusiast and has wanted to start a podcast for many years. I had never listened to a single podcast, but was in desperate need of a creative outlet after working for over a decade as a ‘professional engineer,’ Cole said.

Mix millennial and Portuguese culture

Their episodes so far have covered what it was like growing up at the intersection of millennial and Portuguese culture, their families’ immigration stories, and what it was like to be in a Catholic school. Portuguese in the 1990s.

“Listeners are warned,” Cole said. “We have a sarcastic and humorous delivery even when dealing with the most sacred subjects. In our 30s, we realized we had work to do to “unlearn” ideas of guilt, fear, shame, and social norms influenced by ethnicity, religion, and the media. Our podcast will continuously explore and challenge these ideas.

Fall River natives Melissa Cole and Kelly Ferreira are the co-hosts of It's Called Culture, a new podcast about

There’s also a lighter, more humorous side to it, and while this podcast is for everyone, listeners who are also first-generation Luso-American millennials will find plenty to relate to.

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Cole and Ferreira talk about the vergonha (shame) that there was a lice outbreak at their school, as well as the school lunch struggles:

“Maria wasn’t going to buy Lunchables for you.”

The sandwiches including PB&J were on a papo seco of course.

Family travel stories also loom large, especially carry-on luggage that would never go past the TSA today.

A celebration of Portuguese culture

It’s Called Culture is also a celebration, a way for Cole and Ferreira to stay connected to their past and, well, their culture.

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Ferreira is still local, but Cole moved to New Hampshire in 2010 and now has a 5-year-old daughter. She sees the podcast as a way to reconnect with where she grew up, but also as a record her daughter can turn to and stay connected to her roots.

Fall River natives Melissa Cole and Kelly Ferreira are the co-hosts of It's Called Culture, a new podcast about

“My daughter is largely estranged from the culture that surrounded us as children. Our podcast allowed us to reconnect with the culture and document our experiences for future generations. We love to see our families and friends light up when we show interest and ask them to tell stories from their past.

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And they’re just getting started. They recorded a few more episodes about the Portuguese Catholic school experience of the 90s, and they have a lot more on the horizon:

“From here, we will continue to explore the experience of millennial immigrant children compared to our American peers. How was our life? Where did we vacation (hint: funerals and weddings don’t count)? …. What are our Vavos [grandparents] think of MTV’s spring break lineup and Jerry Springer? Cole said.

Where to find It’s called culture

They also plan to have friends and other members of the Portuguese community as guests, to broaden the reach of their stories.

“We would like our listeners to contact us and share their stories with us via email or on our social media. We are not limited to Portuguese culture – the first-generation American experience is one that is shared across cultures,” Cole said.

It’s Called Culture is available on all podcast platforms. Their website is https://www.folkandfad.com and they are on Twitter @folkandfad. Follow them on Instagram @_itscalledculture.

Kristina Fontes, Editor and Digital Producer of Herald News/Taunton Daily Gazette, can be reached at [email protected] Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette today.

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