Samba reigns in Hartford

The eighth-annual Samba Fest took place May 3 at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza and the entire event was broadcast by WRTC

U.S. debut: Samba Fest producer Eric Galm with Ivan Vilela, a virtuoso viola caipira player who made his North American debut at the annual festival. (Eric Crawford photo)

The fest featured a mix of Brazilian, Connecticut and New York artists and was co-presented by Trinity College and Riverfront Recapture.

One of the highlights of the day of music and related culture was the U.S. debut of Brazilian composer, arranger and guitarist Ivan Vilela who headlined. A virtuoso on the viola caipira, an acoustic guitar with 10 steel strings used in Brazilian folk music, Vilela has recorded 15-plus albums and performed around the world.

Vilela was one of a number of performers and participants who was interviewed by WRTC hosts who broadcast remotely near the main stage.

Live and on site: WRTC carried the entire festival, broadcasting performances from two stages and interviewing performers. Taking a break from the action are staffers (from left) Chris Cowles, Sam Braga, Wasine Mark and Sister True.

Sam Braga, Chris Cowles, Olivia Gibson, Wasine Mark and Sister True provided commentary and conducted a series of interviews throughout the day with guests including Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra; Trinity professor Eric Galm who produced the fest and led the Trinity Samba Ensemble which closed the day; Brazilian percussionist Nanny Assis; and drummer Scott Kettner who leads the New York-based group Nation Beat.

Maracatu meets second-line rhythms: Drummer Scott Kettner and vocalist Fabiana Masili of New York-based Nation Beat perform along the Hartford waterfront. (Eric Crawford photo)

Other performers included the Trinity Steel Band, the Hartford Steel Symphony and Ginga Brasileira. There were also workshops featuring Maculelê, samba and capoeira dance styles.

Add Hartford to the list: Ivan Vilela has played in his native Brazil as well as Spain, France, Britain, Italy and Portugal, but his performance at Samba Fest marked his U.S. debut. (Eric Crawford photo)










Ensemble assembled: Eric Galm (left) leads the Trinity Samba Ensemble during the Hartford Samba Fest. The group was joined by Ginga Brasileira during their performance to close the day. (Eric Crawford photo)


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