Got Brazilian?

Queen of Samba contest was a festive celebration of Brazilian culture in Chicago

Who would’ve thought a Chicago’s  cold Winter night could transform into a hot Brazilian summer evening? That is how it felt like at Logan Square Auditorium during the Chicago Samba’s Queen of Samba contest.  Chicago Samba is  a Midwest-based music ensemble that has been performing  the authentic sounds of Brazil mixed with the flavor of “Carnaval” for more than 21 years.   They are also the organizers of the only Queen of Samba contest in Chicago, an event that brings Brazilians and non-Brazilians together.

Some of the band members also come from non-Brazilian backgrounds. The keyboard player, for example, is from Uzbekistan, and the trumpet player is from the South Side of Chicago. His name is Ben Lamar and he  grew up listening to Marvin Gaye, Bossa Nova and Tom Jobim. Here he is giving us his best smile:


Ben moved to Rio de Janeiro for three years. When he first got there he could not speak any Portuguese and was afraid, but he was able to connect with people through his music. He naturally felt at ease in a culture that was attractive to him because it reminded him of old traditions that were common in America before capitalism took over. For example, Brazilians  fix things if they break instead of getting rid of them; they also go to small Mom and Pops neighborhood stores instead of big and impersonal supermarket chains, and they have musical instruments at home, the way it used to be here before the advent of the Television era. This allowed room for creativity, connection, and for sharing one’s family musical heritage. He suggests that when going to Brazil or any country in Latin America “forget about speaking languages, that just causes confusion, but connect with the soul, language is the last thing you worry about” he says. “I can transfer my good energy without even talking to you”. And certainly, his good energy and of the Chicago Samba ensemble was felt the whole night.

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Edilson Lima was an enthusiastic cheerleader throughout  the event. His energetic dance lead from the stage and from the dance floor, along with Chicago’s samba festive music, had everybody dancing non-stop. It definitely felt as if we were in the middle of a Carnival celebration. But the queen of the night was undoubtedly  the Queen of Samba contest. A group of beautiful ladies faced the judges and the  crowd to  show their love for Samba. The winner of the contest was Panamanian Karlies Kelley, who was crowned Queen of Samba and given the grand prize of $250. The second place was awarded to a Brazilian, Ludgy Cunha, who was named Princess of Samba and given a second price of $150. Our friends from Chicagoano, a website that covers all things Brazilian in Chicago, were also present at this event and shared their videos for this post. In this one you can see the current Queen of Samba Karlies Kelly performing (she is the first one appearing on the video):

After the contest, the party continued with a grand finale performed by dancers dressed in spectacular Carnival costumes. Chicago Samba’s Edilson Lima called Christina Trumbauch and Pierre Cameron from Folia Tropicalia Dance Group, to share the stage and dance with them:

This was an evening that definitely had an enthusiastic atmosphere, and it was a great way to start the Carnival festivities in Chicago. If you want to experience this by yourself, then go to one of the two Carnival celebrations that will take place on February 18, or why not go to both?  Click on the links below for more information about these events:

Chicago Samba

Swing Brasileiro and Folia Tropicalia

Feliz Carnaval Galera!

Look who I found….

….at the Andersonville Midsommarfest. This is an annual Summer festival located in the Andersonville neighborhood on Clark Street , between Foster and Catalpa, in which vendors from around the region sell their wares to passers-by while ethnic dance troupes and cutting-edge bands keep the party going. There is a significant number of Middle-Eastern businesses in this neighborhood, as well as a new influx of families with children, and a large lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender population. I came to the Festival to see the local Brazilian band  Chicago Samba perform. They gave a very entertaining show thanks to the dancers dressed in colorful and flashy outfits, but they paled in comparison to the outfit of this passer-by:

I took this picture during the performance of the 80s music band 16 Candles (who were a great discovery for me. Except for a few songs, their music selection and rendition was very engaging). Andersonville Midsommarfest is a definitely a good option to see great local bands perform and for seeing interesting outfits and beautiful men (who, unfortunately for me, happen to be gay. My friend said that she had never seen so many beautiful men in one place). By the way, this reminds me that I have to mark my calendar for the Chicago Gay Pride Parade on Sunday June 26 . I attended this parade a few years ago and had a great time. Let the fun begin: Summer in Chicago is just starting!

This weekend: Chicago’s Blues Festival and more

The Chicago Blues Festival and CUBE: Chicago Underground Blues Experience

The Chicago Blues Festival, the largest free blues festival in the world and  the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals is in full swing right now. The local Blues dance community is organizing an event called CUBE: Chicago Underground Blues Experience 2011 in which they serve as guides to all the best our fine city has to offer in live music, local blues joints, evening dances and all-out fun. More information at http://chicagobluesdance.com/CUBE/2011/ andhttp://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/special_events/mose/chicago_blues_festival.html.

GLOBE SONICO @ Cafe D’Noche
2710 N. Milwaukee Ave. 10pm-3am
Join Aguzate & Sound Culture on Fridays and Saturdays as they remix the world!
They’ll be hanging out and playing the best in Afro Latin, Tropical Bass, Global beats and International grooves in the heart of Logan Square.
D’Noche is an intimate lounge that serves up cocktails and pan-latin cuisine. (Kitchen is open until 11 pm). Patio is open.Free Parking in the Rear.
See menu and drink selection: dnochechicago.com 
No Cover, Drink Specials, Friends, Family, and Global Grooves.

Sonic Diaspora at Butterfly Social Club

722 W Grand Chicago 9pm-3am

On the second Saturdays of each month, Brotha Onaci and guest selectahs play the best music of Africa and the African Diaspora, including Afrobeat, High Life, Soukous, Afro-House, Afro-Latin, and much more. This month DJs AfroQbano, Sherwin O and David Nallah Marques will be holding down rhythmic sets to keep you dancing all night long. No Cover

Red Rat (Jamaican Dance Hall Reggae)

Cubby Bear (1059 W Addison St. Chicago) $10-20

Also featuring Chicagos own “Kofi” & DJ Slacky J

Andersonville Midsommarfest 

Clark St. betwen Foster and Balmoral)
Midsommarfest is one of Chicago’s most unique street fairs. Born out of Andersonville’s Swedish heritage, Midsommarfest retains its quaint, international flavor. Old-world Swedish traditions, including a festive dance around the Maypole, are incorporated into an unrivaled array of entertainment for families and adults. Click here for the list of world music performances at this fest, which include Funkadesi , Chicago Afrobeat Project, and Chicago Samba

Chiara Mangiamelli Ensemble
“A spectacular ensemble! Captivating and inspiring… With every move, Chiara Mangiameli brings vitality to the stage. Her performance was spectacular in every regard – from the circle of her wrist to her rhythmic footwork, Ms. Mangiameli captivated every member of our audience!”- Christina Salerno, Director for Salt Creek Ballet.
Uncommon Ground on Devon 9.30pm $15
1401 W. Devon Ave, Chicago

Balkan Sounds Party

DJ Romasoul(Balkan beats via Chicago house) and DJ MG (“Turkish remix master”), two of the most famous Deejays of Balkan origin in the Greater Chicago area are coming together at the Stone Lotus downstairs lounge for one of the most attractive summer kick-off parties of the year.
Stone Lotus 10pm password “balkan” $5 before 11, and $10 thereafter.
873 N. Orleans Street, Chicago

Latin and World music tonight at  ñ

The people at  ñ invite us to another wonderful musical evening with Mauro Frosio trio ( old world music and tango ) and DJ Charrua ( Electronic and Latin beats )They promise a  great atmosphere, authentic Latin food and exotic cocktails along with great Latin music that includes salsa, bachata, merengue, mambo, cumbia and electronic music. No cover

Show starts at 9pm, party until 2am.

Tonight and Every Tuesday Night: Brazilian Music with Bossa Tres

If you are in Chicago and are looking for options to go out tonight, I would recommend checking out the fantastic Bossa Tres show at Barra Ñ (2977 N Elston Ave Chicago). This band brings you to the shores of Brazil every Tuesday night. So plan on going next Tuesday if you can’t make it tonight. Stop by and enjoy the culture. The faithful crowd that gathers at Ñ on Tuesdays  is a mix of Brazilians, people  from other South American countries, and everything else. The band starts playing at 10 p.m. and the show runs until 1 a.m. I have been to Enye ( the English pronunciation for the Spanish letter “Ñ”) many times and have always had a good time due to the positive energy filling up this place. Try the Raspberry mojitos. They are the best in town. No cover.

Tonight: Brazilian Music with PLANETA AZUL

Cuban restaurant Cafe Laguardia in the Bucktown neighborhood is turning out to be the spot to hang out on Wednesday evenings to listen to live Latin music.  Tonight, local Brazilian music Trio PLANETA AZUL will be playing there from 8 to 11pm.  I was at Cafe Laguardia the last time the trio played and it was a blast. There is  no cover, so don’t miss the chance to hear them play. The address is  2111 W Armitage Chicago. More information about Planeta Azul at  http://ow.ly/4Shz5. And here is a video with a sample of their music. Enjoy!

Traveling Around the World in Two Days

Friday is here again, and I am so happy to be able to give you so many LIVE world music options this weekend. Are you ready to embark on a tour around the world in two days?  Here are your possible stops (please click on the links if you want to find out more about the dances and listen to some of the music featured in these events):

Today Friday April 15

PUERTO RICO

The Puerto Rican cultural center  Segundo Ruiz Belvis is hosting its monthly Traveling Baile de Bomba event at Tumbao Bar & Grill in the Logan Square neighborhood (3213 W Armitage). Continuing its tradition of cross-cultural programming, this live-music event will also have Tropicalia Brazilian Dance Group performing Afro-Brazilian dancing.  They will also have a Bomba Dance class for kids early in the evening. The Traveling Baile de Bomba event is free and family friendly. The event runs from 6:00PM to 9:00PM

ARGENTINA

If after doing some Bomba you still fee like dancing, then head to ARTango Center (4011 North Ravenswood Ave) for a tango lesson and a MILONGA with a live performance by Argentinian duo DOBLE TANGO. This duo is formed by Juan Emilio Cucchiarelli (piano) and Federico Diaz (guitar). They are currently touring the United States and will offer their only concert in Chicago tonight. Doble Tango is producing a path of innovation in Tango music by creating a spectrum of sound that gets influences from  jazz, academic and Latin American music.  The price for the tango lesson and the show is $15;  Tango lesson starts at 9 pm . Concert starts at 11:00 PM and the milonga usually runs until 3 AM

SIERRA LEONE
Another good option for the evening is to go to the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
concert featuring DJ Maliq at Mayne Stage in the Rogers Park neighborhood (1328 West Morse Avenue, Chicago). This group is formed by musicians who escaped the violence of Sierra Leone’s civil war. The band formed at a West African refugee camp to keep their spirits and hopes alive. They have become an international musical sensation, playing at South by Southwest, NPR’s World Café, Bonnaroo, and Fuji Rock in Japan. Their remarkable story and music has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN International, and PBS. Tickets cost $20 and show starts at 9:30 PM (Doors open at 8:30 PM ).

GREECE

Katerina’s (1920 West Irving Park Road Chicago) presents Rebetiki Istoria, on tour from Athens, Greece. This is their only Chicago appearance.Rebetiko (the Greek Blues) is similar to Portugese Fado or the African-American blues, and it stirs the depth of human emotions in pain or joy. The group is comprised of Pavlos Vassiliou on voice/tzoura, singer Eirini Liokoukoudaki, Nikolaos Menegas and Giorgos Petroudis on bouzouki, Vangelis Nikolaidis on guitar and Yona Stamatis on violin. Rebetika Storia  is said to perform many early Rebetiko works, including a repertoire of difficult and unusual songs rarely performed today. Tickets cost $20. Show starts at 10PM.

BRAZIL

If you are looking for lighter rhythms, then go to Xippo Lounge (3759 N. Damen, Chicago) for their monthly live Samba, Batucada, Bossa Nova, Reggae,  andBaile Funk with Bossa Tres and DJ Blakish. Cover is $5 and the show runs from 9:00PM to 2AM

Tomorrow Saturday April 16


COLOMBIA

Continue your wanderings around the world tomorrow at Las Tablas Restaurant at Irving Park (4920 W. Irving Park Rd,  Chicago). You will get the chance to hear live music from two different bands: Salsa from 8-11pm with ‘Carpacho’ Marin & Yankatino and live Vallenato from 11:30-1am with Juvenato. Latin dance music with live DJ until 2am. No cover all night. Dancing until 2AM. Call 773.202.0999 for reservations

SPAIN

Soulful Spanish Troubadour-Guitarist  Javier Ruibal will be at Katerina’s (1920 W. Irving Park) tomorrow. His songs are beautiful and responsible, intimate and participatory, personal and universal. His vocal qualities allow him to move freely and without inhibition through the sonorous terrain of flamenco, Magreb, Indian and Caribbean styles in a constant, harmonious flow which invites us to believe firmly that the fusion of musical styles and peoples will bring us to a new place of enlightenment, a new planet still being formed. Tickets cost $12 and show starts at 10:00 PM. 

If you decide to go to any of these events, please let them know that you heard about them trough Chicago Urbanite. Also, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your pictures, videos or comments about any of the events featured. Thanks for your support and enjoy your weekend!

Tonight:Come to the best Brazilian Carnival party in Chi-Town!


BRAZILIAN CARNIVAL 2011 at MAYNE STAGE

Last year, I had the fortune to be in Rio de Janeiro for carnival. This is one of the biggest celebrations in the world and something you should experience at least once in your life. The entire city stops its regular activities and parties for days. I took this picture at the Sambodromo during  the wee hours of the night.  As you can see, the place was packed and the people were exhilarating, dancing and singing non-stop. To me, carnival is the ultimate expression of what it is to be Brazilian. This year,  I cannot be in Rio,  but  since I am in beautiful Chicago, I have the chance to party Brazilian style with the local musicians and dancers. I am planning on attending this fabulous Carnival celebration. Don’t miss it! It promises to be the best party in town.

*** Swing Brasileiro will be playing the best of Brazilian Carnival. A lot of Marchinhas, Sambas, Batucada and more ****

Carnival costume dance performance by Passistas Samba Dancers and Special performance by Gingarte Capoeira.

Vallet Parking: Only $5

Caipirinha special $ 5.00

Beers $ 3.50 and up

Cover: $15 if purchased in advance and 20$ at the door
Buy your tickets now!!!!!
http://ow.ly/48uf6

18 and older to enter. MUST be 21 and older to drink alcohol.