HARTFORD, CT, May 1, 2014 –
Brazilian and Connecticut artists will join forces with Trinity College students at the eighth annual Samba Fest on
Saturday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Boulevard. The public is invited and admission is free. The show will be held, rain or shine.
“The Samba Fest brings together thousands of people from the Greater Hartford region to celebrate many different aspects of Brazilian music and dance,” said Eric Galm, the associate professor of music 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. 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 10 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 singer-songwriter from Bahia, will also be making their Samba Fest debuts.
Samba Fest will feature the Trinity Samba Ensemble, directed by Galm. The ensemble emanates from an academic course in which students learn about Brazilian culture through 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 have a workshop on 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.
A member of the Trinity faculty since 1999, Galm, also 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; the Music Department; the Office of Multicultural Affairs; the Center for Urban and Global Studies Arts Initiative; Trinfo Café; and the Dean of Students), the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the West Hartford Cultural Council, and Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy.
Samba Fest can be heard live on WRTC 89.3 FM radio.
For directions and parking information, visit sambafest.com. For general information, call 860-297-2199.