The ninth-annual Samba Fest takes place May 2 at the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford and will be broadcast live by WRTC.
The fest — co-sponsored by Trinity College and Riverfront Recapture — featuring a mix of Brazilian and Connecticut artists, kicks off rain or shine at 11 a.m. and is expected to run until at least 6 p.m. Admission is free.
WRTC coverage starts at noon with Sam Braga, Chris Cowles, Olivia Gibson, Wasine Mark and Sister True interviewing artists, organizers, dignitaries and spectators as well as providing an overview of the proceedings.
Click here here for highlights of the 2014 fest.
Returning this year following his U.S. debut at the 2014 edition is Brazilian composer, arranger and guitarist Ivan Vilela who will lead a trio as headliner. 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 is a professor at the University of São Paulo in the School of Communication and Arts. He will be joined by bassist Gilberto dos Syllos and percussionist Ari Colares.
“We’re really excited about this year’s event,” says Trinity College’s Eric Galm who conceived and produces Samba Fest. “Every year, we try to take the fest to a higher level. We have a tremendous group of performers who will be playing many exciting styles of Brazilian music. Needless to say, expectations are really running high for some incredible performances.”
Galm, an associate professor of music and ethnomusicology at Trinity, where he directs the Samba Ensemble and is the coordinator for the music track of the Trinity in Trinidad Global Learning Site, will lead the ensemble during the festival, including the opening samba parade at 11 a.m.
The 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.
Also back is New Haven’s Ginga Brasileira, directed by Efraim Silva. The group will lead dance workshops in samba, the Afro-Brazilian martial
art/dance/game of capoeira and maculelê, a “stick dance” developed by enslaved Africans who labored on northeastern Brazilian sugar plantations.
Other performers are the Trinity Steel Band, directed by Curtis Greenidge; the Guakibom Jazz Band, a youth ensemble directed by Ray Gonzalez; and local favorite, The Hartford Hot Several Brass Band.
Making their U.S. debut is Meninos de Minas (Youth from Minas Gerais, Brazil). Comprised of teenagers from a music performance-based social service project located in Minas Gerais — a state in the
southeastern part of the country — for youth between the ages of 14-18, providing positive spaces for children living in often challenging urban environments.
Produced by Trinity College in partnership with Riverfront Recapture, underwriting for Samba Fest comes from the Consulate General of Brazil in Hartford, the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, Trinity College (Austin Arts Guest Artist Series, Department of Music, Office of Multicultural Affairs; Center for Urban and Global Studies Arts Initiative, Trinfo Café and Dean of Students) and the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
A noontime preview will be held on April 30 at the Hartford Public Library at 500 Main St.