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Musician premiering new song Sunday in Bradford

Jerry Levitan will perform The Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos at the Portuguese Cultural Centre
2022-05-12 Jerry Levitan
Jerry Levitan will premiere a new song, The Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos, Sunday during an event in Bradford.

Jerry Levitan is best known for his Oscar-nominated short film, I Met the Walrus, about his teenaged encounter with John Lennon. Now he’s honouring a legendary rooster as he campaigns to be the Liberal MPP in the Toronto riding of Davenport.

The lawyer, writer, actor, filmmaker and musician has written a song, The Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos, that has been embraced by the Portuguese community as the anthem of the Barcelos Migrant Association of Toronto and will be premiered at this Sunday’s MOTO GALOS A.M. Barcelos-Toronto in Bradford.

Bradford Deputy Mayor James Leduc and luminaries from the Portuguese community will be on hand to pay tribute to Levitan and introduce the song to the event crowd.

The Moto Galos ride participants will gather at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Doce Minho Bakery on Dufferin Street, in the heart of the Davenport riding, home to the largest Portuguese community in Canada. There’ll be daylong events at the Portuguese Cultural Centre on Simcoe Road in Bradford (where the Moto Galos ride will officially begin at 10:30 a.m.) with singers, dancers, food, even the “blessing of the helmet,” to inaugurate the new Rooster Motorcycle Club.

In Portugal, the rooster is a symbol of faith, good luck and justice, dating back to the folk tale of the “Old Rooster of Barcelos.” The miracle of a roasted fowl coming to life, just as an innocent pilgrim was about to be hanged for theft, led to the freeing of the condemned man. As legend has it, the pilgrim returned to Barcelos to sculpt the Calvary (or Crucifix) to the Lord of the Rooster, in praise of the Virgin Mary and Saint James.

Toronto’s Little Portugal has its own Rooster of Barcelos, at 1212 Dundas St. W., featuring a rooster statue that was gifted by the Municipality of Barcelos, Portugal, to the City of Toronto.

“I was part of the audience that watched the installation of the Painted Rooster in 2021 on Dundas Street West,” Levitan says. “I read about this great story that has such meaning to Portuguese people all over the world, including in Toronto’s Davenport. It is a story of justice, honesty, integrity and truth. That was my inspiration to write The Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos and why I am so honoured and happy that it will be used as the Barcelos Migrant Association of Toronto’s anthem.”