Brazilian and Connecticut artists join forces with Trinity College students at the eighth annual Samba Fest onSaturday, May 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Boulevard. Admission is free. Rain or shine, the show will go on.
“The Samba Fest brings together thousands of people from the Greater Hartford region to celebrate many different aspects of Brazilian music and dance,” says Trinity College professor Eric Galm, who conceived and produces Samba Fest. “We have a great mix of artists new to Samba Fest this year, and their music will serve as an introduction to the cultural events surrounding the 2014 World Cup, which will be held in Brazil in June.”
The family-friendly event begins with drum-making and face-painting for children and families. Those who make a drum on-site or bring one from home are invited to participate in the opening parade at noon.
The Brazilian composer, arranger, and guitarist Ivan Vilela will make his U.S. debut at Samba Fest. A specialist in playing the viola caipira, an acoustic guitar with ten steel strings used in Brazilian folk music, Vilela has recorded more than 15 albums and is currently a professor at the University of São Paulo. Nation Beat, a band that mixes the rhythms of Northeastern Brazil and New Orleans, and Nanny Assis, a Brazilian jazz singer-songwriter from Bahia, will make Samba Fest debuts.
Samba Fest features the Trinity Samba Ensemble, directed by Eric Galm. The group is formed in an academic course in which students learn Brazilian culture through its music and rhythms. The Samba Ensemble repertory derives from the batucada, a drumming group that plays samba music during Brazil’s carnival celebrations. They perform participatory call-and-response songs in Portuguese and English. The group plays percussion instruments such as the surdo (similar to a bass drum); tamborim (small frame drum); agogô (double-bell); and ganzá (shaker). The group takes musical cues from the repinique, the “master drum,” supported by guitar, bass, and other instruments, which add harmonic layers to the multi-part vocals and rhythms.
Throughout the afternoon, New Haven’s Ginga Brasileira, directed by Efraim Silva, will demonstrate the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira and the “stick dance” called maculelê, which originated with enslaved Africans working on Brazilian sugar plantations. They will also give a workshop in samba dance led by Brazilian dancer Thelma Ladeira. In addition, JuggleJoy will teach circus skills throughout the day.
Other performers include the Hartford Steel Symphony, co-directed by Curtis Greenidge and Kelvin Griffith, the Trinity Steel Band, led by Curtis Greenidge, and the Interdistrict Steel Pan Ensemble.
Eric Galm, who conceived and produces Samba Fest, is Associate Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology at Trinity College, where he directs the Samba Ensemble and is the coordinator for the music track of the Trinity in Trinidad Global Learning Site. From 2006 to 2010, he served as president of the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Northeast Chapter. He has lived, studied and traveled extensively throughout Brazil, and has conducted research in Cuba and Trinidad. He holds degrees in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan and Tufts universities, percussion performance from the University of Michigan, and performance certificates from the Escola Brasileira de Música and the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Produced by Trinity College in in partnership with Riverfront Recapture, Samba Fest is sponsored by the Consulate General of Brazil in Hartford, The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, Banco do Brasil, Trinity College (Austin Arts Guest Artist Series, Music Department, Office of Multicultural Affairs; Center for Urban and Global Studies Arts Initiative, Trinfo Café, and Dean of Students), Greater Hartford Arts Council, West Hartford Cultural Council, and Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy.
Samba Fest is free and open to the public. For directions and parking information, visit sambafest.com. For general information, call 860-297-2199.
Samba Fest can be heard live on WRTC 89.3 FM radio.
SAMBA FEST SCHEDULE
11:00, Activities booths open, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
11:00-Noon, Trinity Steel Band, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
Noon-12:15, Samba Parade – public invited to join, Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
12:15-12:30, Welcoming Remarks from Ambassador Cézar Amaral, Consul General of Brazil in Hartford, and Eric Galm, Associate Professor of Music, Trinity College, Plaza Stage
12:30-1:15 ,Hartford Steel Symphony, Plaza Stage
1:15-2:00, Nanny Assis – BrazilianJazz, River Stage
2:00-4:30, Samba, Maculelê, Capoeira Workshops, Plaza Stage
2:30-3:30, Nation Beat – Brazil meets New Orleans, River Stage
4:00-4:45, U.S. debut of Ivan Vilela – viola caipira guitarist from São Paulo, Brazil, River Stage
5:15-6:00, Trinity Samba Ensemble with Ginga Brasileira, River Stage