Colo. Brazilian-Americans use dance, music to connect to their heritage

July 30, 2014

Photo: Brazil Fest(Photo: Courtesy of Colorado Brazil Fest)This weekend, you can learn how to dance the samba, play a popular Brazilian tune on the guitar or taste Brazil’s national dish -- feijoada -- a stew of rice and beans.

The third-annual Colorado Brazil Fest begins Thursday and runs through Sunday evening at various Boulder venues including eTown Hall, Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place, Boulder Theater and Boulder Beer.

Hosted by Boulder Samba School -- a nonprofit that promotes Brazilian culture in Colorado -- the festival is a four-day celebration of Brazilian dance and music. It features live performances from both Colorado and Brazilian artists, dance and music workshops and food vendors serving authentic Brazilian fare.

One of the headlining acts is the Boulder-based musical ensemble Ginga.

The group is comprised of six Colorado musicians: Greg LaLiberte (flute, saxophone, percussion, backup vocals), Francisco Marques (lead vocals, cavaquinho -- a small, string instrument), Bill Kopper (guitar), Raoul Rossiter (percussion, backup vocals), Carl Dixon (percussion, backup vocals) and Victor Mestas Perez (keyboard).

The band's members possess deep roots in Brazilian music and have been playing together for nearly a decade.

Ginga brings a bit of Brazil to the Colorado Public Radio airwaves with a traditional samba track called "Aquele Abraço.”
Renown Brazilian composer and performer Gilberto Gil wrote the song in 1969, shortly before he was exiled by the Brazilian military.
The title means “the embrace,” and it is Gil’s tribute to Brazil’s second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro.
Its lyrics evoke the city’s famous landmarks, cultural figures and neighborhoods.