Carnaval, aka Mardi Gras, is a Spring festival celebrating the rebirth of life. This year’s rebirth in San Francisco comes with a special treat as one of the “SF Hottest Monthly Parties” – as selected by SFWEELY readers, returns with its iconic festivities known as BRAZA! for a Carnaval celebration with another Mission all time favorite weekly party – Afrolicious, at Elbo Room, on May 21st. The lineup features the world-class DJ/Producer, Marcelinho da Lua, the man behind the prolific electronic Brazilian group, Bossacucanova and a live performance by the Bay Area Brazilian All Stars, composed of members of various local bands, like Dona Francisca, Boca do Rio, Antonio Guedes (BRAZA!’s host), and more, at the SF Carnaval 2015 Kick-Off Celebration. A percentage of the profits will go to the Hamilton Family Center, which mission is to end homelessness for families and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Marcelinho’s band, Bossacucanova, is most notable for having been nominated for a Latin Grammy award in 2002 for Best Brazilian Contemporary Pop Album for their release Brasilidade. They are the godfathers of combining traditional bossa nova with electronica, and among the group’s members is Márcio Menescal, son of bossa nova legend and pioneer Roberto Menescal. His solo career is as equally successful as his group, with two awarded albums which are mandatory on Brazilian and international dance floors: Tranqüilo, Marcelinho’s debut solo record from 2004, and Social, from 2007, both winners of the Brazilian Music Tim Awards as Best Electronica Album. The debut disc also granted him two Best Electronic Video awards by MTV Brazil, for the tracks “Cotidiano” (2004) and “Refazenda” (2005). With Tranqüilo, Da Lua comes up with a new approach to Brazilian electronica, creating grooves that go way beyond easy radio models. Working with artists like João Donato, Seu Jorge, Black Alien, Luis Carlos Ramos, Bi Ribeiro and Mart’nália, among others, Tranqüilo showed to the public and the critic that besides being an excellent DJ, Marcelinho is a producer and musician whose name has already been established in the contemporary Brazilian music grounds.
Bossa nova was a movement that arose from the mix of traditional samba and American jazz, in the 60’s. There are so many musical styles that have their roots entrenched in samba, that even native Brazilians have a hard time understanding all its rhythmic lavishness. Samba de roda, samba de côco, samba de break, sambarock, etc, are all different accents of the same beat, have different musical influences, and originate in different regions of Brazil. Then you have marchinhas carnavalescas (little marches), which is an extremely comedic genre of music and the very name satirizes the seriousness of military marches, in both musical and marching step senses. It dates back to 1899, and the bands feature trombones, tubas, horns, clarinets, flutes, piccolos and percussion. On May 21st BRAZA! will feature a mix of all these styles, performed by various local artists, lead by Antonio Guedes, who is releasing two new singles, “Samba Novo“ and “Mandinga.”
Part of the money the artists will raise will go to the non-profit organization Hamilton Family Center, which has been established since 1985, and has helped in risk individuals and families, who are facing, or about to face, homelessness. Their solution to solve this problem is primarily by re-housing families quickly and appropriately, and providing limited follow up to support housing stability. BRAZA! recognizes the value of such organizations in our community, especially in times like the one we are living in right now, with families being kicked-out of their homes, creating much broader issues for our city, and would like to start making a difference in our social environment.
If you are wondering what braza – which is an adaptation of the Portuguese word brasa – means, it is ember. But, it’s also a nickname native Brazilians use to refer to their motherland. The event BRAZA! is exactly what the red burning charcoal represents: a celebration of the heritage and diversity of Brazilian music, and the warm culture of the country it comes from. When we say diversity we mean not just the cadence of the internationally cultivated samba beat, but also everything from Brazilian funk, Tropicália, hip hop, forró (from northeast of Brazil), MPB (Popular Brazilian Music), house, boogie, soul, disco, and bossa nova. The party started back in 2010, when a DJ, and first time club owner, Kento Tanaka, approached his 3 friends Antonio Guedes (musician), Elan Kamesar (DJ) and Vanka (DJ), to create an event that had one thing in mind: to make people sweat to temperatures manufactured and controlled by turntables, and to travel south, without even leaving the northern hemisphere. And so they did. Soon the party became a must-go in the City. DJs from all over the map have come down for a chance to play to a crowd hungry for tropical sets.
Here they are again, feeding the city with more hot lineups and eccentric vibes we all need to preserve and support in this ever changing environment we live on, so that we can always enjoy the diversity this city is known for, for years to come.
Event Date: Thursday, May 21st.
Doors: 9pm DJs at 9PM Show starts at 10pm.
Where: Elbo Room, 647 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110.