MUSIC

Brasil 70: Samba, Soul & Resistance

The Los Angeles collective Samba Society pays tribute to the powerful socio-political music of Brazil during the military dictatorship.

Samba Society collective includes MôForró and Os Zagueiros

Samba Society, a Los Angeles-based music collective led by multi-instrumentalist Beto González, has more than just vibrant Brazilian dance music to share with the audience on Friday, August 4, 2017 at the Ford Theatres. With a repertoire that features the artistic response to the oppressive military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985, the show highlights some of Brazil’s most compelling musical/political movements.

BRASIL 70: Samba/Soul/Resistance presents interpretations of influential musical genres of the 1970s, when Brazilian music experienced one of its most creative periods but also suffered intense repression. Many of the country’s most revered artists (Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, and Gilberto Gil, among others) were forced into exile and had many of their songs censored in the name of “morality” and “good traditions.”

BRASIL 70 will also highlight the tremendous influence of international political movements and musical genres—such as Black Power, Pan-Africanism, funk and soul, rock ‘n’ roll, and reggae—on the music of Brazil.

Divided into three acts, the show starts with “Os Anos de Chumbo” (Years of Lead), representing the darkest period of the dictatorship, when the regime heavily censored all media and many dissidents were tortured and banished. Required to submit all song lyrics to be vetted by a censorship board, artists employed creative metaphors to sidestep censors while making powerful social commentary. The second act, “Resistência” (Resistance), explores the increasingly defiant demands for social justice. Finally, “Abertura” (Opening), reveals the regime’s imminent downfall as the music reflected the promise of open elections and a democratic Brazil. “Brazilian music is powerful and the language has a beautiful musicality, so it is natural that Brazilian music lovers are drawn to it purely for its sound. However, we want to go beyond the aesthetics of the music by adding some storytelling about socio-political movements in Brazil,” says González.

BRASIL 70: Samba/Soul/Resistance also brings to the stage special guests including Diana Purim, Tita Lima and Thalma de Freitas — who all hail from legendary lineage of Brazilian musical pioneers (Diana is the daughter of jazz legends Flora Purim and Airto Moreira; Tita is the daughter of Liminha, musical producer and former bass player of the groundbreaking Tropicália group Os Mutantes; and Thalma is the daughter of maestro Laércio de Freitas).

About Samba Society

Samba Society was created as a live band in 2009 by Brazilian American musician and ethnomusicologist, Beto González. After spending a year in Rio conducting research funded by a Fulbright, he returned to Los Angeles determined to form a “roots” samba project inspired by Afro-Brazilian musical forms. Establishing itself as LA’s premier samba band, Samba Society then expanded as a collective intent on exploring the multiplicity of Brazilian musical genres beyond samba.

Beto González is joined by his co-producers, guitarist Bobby Easton, founder of Long Beach funk band Delta Nove, and drummer Simon Carroll, both avid researchers of Brazilian music. The roster of musicians includes guitarists Colin Walker and Mitchell Long, trombonist Fabio Santana de Souza, percussionist Dana Maman, vocalists Emina Shimanuki and Kátia Moraes, bassist Leo Nobre, keyboardist and saxophonist Dan Reckard, and “LA’s Accordion Diva” Gee Rabe.

“Brazilian music has a long history in Los Angeles beginning with Carmen Miranda, who came to Hollywood in 1939. Samba—as many other culturally-specific genres being played in L.A.—is homegrown, not just imported from Brazil. We are part of a generation that is creating Brazilian music right here. We are an L.A. band with roots in Brazil. That is Samba Society,” says González.

Read more at LA Weekly, La Opinion and KCRW.