Winter Nite

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Once again, we bring the heat and good vibes to this Tdot winter of contentment in frigid temperatures. We have the very best djs and the real deal raw samba of Batucada Carioca. It all happens at Super Wonder Gallery right on College Street near Clinton. What makes this jam fun is the liberty of expression, come out and feel no shame and dance bc no one cares. Click the link above for your advance tickets.Batucada Carioca, are old school alumnae of Uma Nota dating back to the days when the jam was at the Gladstone Hotel. They are led by the effervescent Maninho Costa, a true samba percussion master, born into the tradition inn Rio de Janeiro. For this little gig he has brought together his "nove de ouro" or the "nine of gold," a small group of Batucada's ace players locked in a groove so tight that the surdos and repenique promise to pull you from within and create a bridge between earth and some other-wordily realm of pure bliss. Check our old school blog post that gives you a full breakdown of Batucada, including more pics and video.BatucadaJ Laijenny cutJennifer Laiwint, or better known these days as J Lai, is an artist through and through, dabbling in visual art, Capoeira Angola, and in the last few years making an impact as a dj that moves the dance- floor. She brings a dancehall tip, some baile funk, RnB, electro-tropical and global and Baltimore club mixes for all. Check her mix below.The indelible General Eclectic. General Eclectic is the resident dj and co-founder of Uma Nota, and one of the most popular and well versed djs in Toronto. His crates go deep and his ability to play across genres and always bring the crowd to a groove is legendary. We won't go on about him too much, but he's been called a million dollar dj.And.... (drum roll) debut-ing this jam... dj Win-win! Our homegirl Winnie is gonna show us what she's got and get the jam rolling. Mad styles Winnie, originally from Halifax, is known her fun house parties, playing with Maracatu Mar Aberto, hanging in Kensington Market, and generally cutting a rug on the dance-floor at a number of jams around the world. Let's call it global influenced electronic dance music. Come early and check out the Win-win situation. See you all at Uma Nota Winter Nite!The Win-win situation.  

Grand Bateria Express

Grand Bateria ExpressYes. The story: we are actively involved in the delicate game of getting officially 7, but in reality 9, different groups together for, as Rick Lazar says, a "momentous occasion, the uniting of all of Toronto's Brazilian drumming baterias" (drum troupes).  This is no small feat, as all the groups vary in style, have different personas, different crews that at once share members and are often in so called "competition."" This new drumming supergroup includes leaders and members from Samba Squad, Samba Kidz, Baque de Bamba, Escola de Samba, Batucada Carioca, Samba Elegua, T.Dot Batu, Maracatu Mar Aberto  and YOU (the general publico)!In their first performance, the Grand Bateria will play four rhythms that highlight various tropical traditions embraced by Toronto drummers. If you want to take part you can 1) watch the videos which will be posted here at lulaworld.ca very soon 2) learn your part for each rhythm 3) attend two rehearsals 4) PLAY WITH THE BAND ON JUNE 6!!!!Join the band!An open, public rehearsal will be held on Saturday May 30th from 1 to 5pm at Dufferin Grove Park. (Information about a second rehearsal coming soon.) For more information send us an email at info@lula.ca.Join the facebook event page or check back here for updates.The Rhythms!Click on each rhythm for our videos lessons in each rhythm. Featuring Rick Lazar.layersmaracatubuttonsocasamb-reggae Not a drummer? You can still march, dance, chant, help make costumes or volunteer to help in other ways.Grand Bateria Express is presented by Lula Music and Arts Centre with support from the Toronto Arts Council, The Ontario Arts Council, The Government of Ontario, Citizenship and Immmigration Canada and Heritage Canada with support from the Dundas West and Little Portugal BIAs, CBC Toronto, Steve’s Music and Contemporanea. june-06-gbe 

Domingão do Samba! (Big Sunday Samba!)

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Music.Friends.Food.Dance.Drink

Once again, in the tradition of cultural fairs and Block Party, we present Domingão do Samba (Big Samba Sunday) an afternoon to evening event specially made into a Quadra de Samba, or Samba School rehearsal hall in Rio de Janeiro. Everybody is welcome. Bring the family, chill out, dance, play and hang while the Roda de Samba plays, or go wild as the Batucada plays the big stage!

There will be Brazilian feijoada and tapioca stands, an arts and food marketplace, children’s activities and games including face painting and mini ping pong. There will be incredible music from Rio's rich samba traditions:

Batucada Carioca with special guests (Bateria led by Maninho Costa)

Roda de Samba (Brazilian roots samba)

DJ General Eclectic (MPB, samba soul, samba-rock)

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Batucada Carioca (led by Maninho Costa) 7:30 pmBatucada Carioca is Toronto’s premiere Rio-style samba troupe. Led by Rio native sambista Maninho Costa ("Maninho z10"), Batucada has a raw uplifting style. After a spectacular 10th anniversary show last fall on the Great Hall stage, this time out the samba party includes a beefed-up bateria (samba drums) to give an extra-heavy swing on a selection of classic samba-enredos and other beloved sambas to guarantee a great time for all and singalongs for Brazilians and samba addicts alike. The show features Carlinhos Pernambuco on cavaco and Wagner Petrilli on seven-string guitar along with more special guest performers soon TBA, including Aline Morales among them.Roda de Samba (Brazilian roots samba) 4:00pmA ‘roda de samba’ or circle of samba, is a a gathering of friends who play and sing classic samba tunes with smaller instrumentation (as opposed to the baterias of big samba schools). In Brazil, a roda de samba can take place on market days or at bars with people gathering around a table of seated musicians eating, dancing, rejoicing and often singing along in chorus. In Toronto, Carlos Pernambuco has been at the forefront of this movement, with his infectious voice and cavaquinho leading the songs. The Roda de Samba will happen in the afternoon while the feijoada is being served and other activities happen around the venue.Uma_Nota_Fest_54DJ General Eclectic. Our resident and co-founder General Eclectic is up on the Ones and Twos. His record collection runs deep and his musical knowledge is beyond vast. As his name implies, his tastes are ‘eclectic’ and he can bring out ska/reggae, soul/funk, afrobeat/jazz, cumbia and the Brazilian rhythms, with a longtime love and knowledge of MPB and samba soul references. He will be bringing out great tunes for your dancing feet.

Plus:

Kids activities! Samba dancers to help you learn your movesFace painting by skinfulARTMini Pong for all by VanGreyArtist Market

Food:Tapioca stand by Tapioca GourmetFeijoada DelightAçaí and Salgadinhos Chocolate, Choco Drink & Coffee by ChocoSol

The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St. WestDoors 2 p.m.Schedule & Set times TBA$10 at the door (from 2 to 6 p.m.), $15 after 6 p.m.

Co-presented with Batucada Carioca 

Facebook event page 

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Uma Nota Festival 2014

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The 4th Annual Uma Nota Festival of Tropical Expressions is here! Four days of music, dance food and culture for your senses. Check out our programming, save the dates and see you on the dance floor. We have a festival pass once again this year and it gives you access to all our events (excluding Terra Brasil), a line by-pass and lotsa love from the Uma Nota team.Buy Festival Pass! #UmaNotaFest 

Festival Launch - #UmaNotaFest Thursday

umanota_festival2014_facebook_thursday_1000pixels Uma Nota Festival 2014 and the Brazilian Film Festival of Toronto (Brafftv) kick off an extended weekend with Flavia Nascimento and Band, live MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) sprinkled with forró and topped off with fine Brazilian selections. Free! (FB event)

Dance Migration presents Terra Brasil - #UmaNotaFest

umanota_festival2014_facebook_friday_1000pixels Afro-Brazilian dance company The Dance Migration perform Terra Brasil, a captivating theatrical dance piece performed to live music by local and visiting Brazilian aces. Tickets Available. (FB event)

Friday Night Jamboree - #UmaNotaFest Friday

umanota_festival2014_facebook_friday2_1000pixels Our Friday Night Jamboree is live goodness & incredible djs. An international crew bring you the tropical sounds from an international world to the El Mocambo in one of the last shows you may ever see at this legendary Toronto venue. Come see live reggae, Latin urban beats and sounds from the global underground. The very best for you, in our city, live. (FB event)Buy Tickets Friday Night Jamboree

Digital Tropics - #UmaNotaFest Saturday

umanota_festival2014_facebook_saturday_1000pixels_2 (1)Sweaty sounds from the transglobal underground. This year we’re going one step further by joined forces  with the X Avant Festival for a transcultural party at Remix Lounge featuring New York’s DJ Ushka in her Canadian debut alongside the infamous Poirier from Montreal. Expect digital ecstasy and a few surprises. (FB event)Buy Tickets Digital Tropics

Batucada Carioca 10-year anniversary party  - #UmaNotaFest Community Cultural Fair

umanota_festival2014_facebook_sunday_1000pixels In the Uma Nota tradition of cultural fairs and Block Party, we present Batucada Carioca’s 10 year anniversary party and an afternoon to evening event specially made into a Quadra de Samba, or a Samba School rehearsal hall in Rio de Janeiro. There will be Brazilian feijoada and tapioca stands, an arts and food marketplace, children’s activities and games including face painting and mini ping pong. There will be incredible music rooted in the samba traditions. (Facebook event)Buy Tickets Batucada Carioca 10 year party & Cultural Fair

Check the video of last year's Uma Nota Festival!

  

Latin Soul at Lulaworld 2013

Lulaworld-630x430-630x430This year's lineup for the annual Lulaworld Festival, presented by Lula Music and Arts Centre, is subtle but very impressive. The concept behind the festival is to allow Lula Lounge's non-profit arts wing, the LMAC, to put together a series of presentations and concerts showcasing both local artists, often in first-time collaborations, as well as international guest artists.The 2013 Lulaworld festival, which closes May 31, features more than 120 artists representing more than 12 countries, opening the series with an Ethiopian jazz project and closing with renowned Brazilian dancer, teacher and choreographer Rosangela Silvestre along with Toronto's Dance Migration company in a top-billed performance called Faces of Samba, all capped off with a show by Maninho Costa and Batucada Carioca. Also on the bill May 19th is Brazilian piano mestre Benjamin Taubkin, followed by our very own Luanda Jones. There will be some collaborations between them and the night will finish off with an Uma Nota, Dos Mundos & aluCine combined force after-party. (More here.)This year's festival highlights Lula's "Latin soul", best explained in the official Lulaworld release:"When planning this year's festival, we looked at the latest projects by Toronto artists and were amazed by the depth, variety and caliber of the work being brought forth by Latin music communities over the last year. As a result, this year's festival includes many aspects and elements of Latin music as it blends with and informs other genres. This year's concerts (which include 5 CD releases!) will reveal the Latin soul as it is expressed joyfully through classical, hip hop, reggae, Afrobeat, Jewish music, jazz and straight-ahead salsa!"Sounds good.  That kind of mixed bag of exciting musical flavours reminds us of exactly why we love Toronto, Lula, and the communities that surround our own Uma Nota events as well.Lula-All-Stars

Samba in Toronto: O Encontro de Baterias

Toronto's samba bateria (drum corps) history dates back about 20 years. It's said the first samba drumming performance group evolved by way of a desire from within the Brazilian community to represent during the city's summer festivities. Many of the original players from the first project in the early '90s, Viva Brazil, remain active in samba groups in the city today.Throughout the early 2000s a few new baterias formed, and for about the last 10 years, four different groups in the city have co-existed as Toronto's interpreters and representatives of the Brazilian samba bateria tradition.This past April 7, the four groups came together to play as one bateria in a historic encontro, or meeting.Chocalhos and agogôs (shakers and bells) near the front of the formation at the Encontro de BateriasNegin Bahrami on surdo de terceira and cuíca at the April 7, 2013 Encontro de Baterias (Photos: Dave Burke (left); Avital Zemer (right)The event was instigated by Negin Bahrami of Batucada Carioca, who was inspired by a bateria encontro between various samba schools in Rio.(Video below: TV news item in Portuguese)Bahrami -- who has traveled to Rio several times and has paraded in a top-level samba school bateria and with several samba blocos --  explains what inspired her to initiate the Encontro:

                   "The reason behind the event was to give people here who have never been to Rio a chance to experience a taste of what it feels like to be a part of a large bateria rehearsal the way it's done there  -- generally between 150 - 300 players rehearsing one song [the school's Carnaval anthem] for the parade that year.

                  "In Rio, the samba schools and mestres are all friends (not rivals) and they invite each other to their quadras [rehearsal halls] as guest to perform. It is very common for players to play in more than one group and get together. It is a massive samba community and the only time they are in competition is when they parade through the Sambódromo (and even then it is in friendly competition).

                   "Samba is a passion there; it is community and unity. This is what I wanted to promote in Toronto, and by uniting the four groups, everyone was able to experience that vibe and energy that gives you goosebumps, with the heavy and powerful sound of a bateria made up of 100+ players."

After much gestation, the idea took flight with an initial meeting in fall 2012 between the four directors and some other key players. (Jon Medow, who is my co-director for Samba Elégua on this project, says it all reminded him of a mafia meeting -- a clandestine coming together of Toronto's samba bateria bosses!).The group leaders show off the four t-shirts of the four Toronto samba bateria groupsThe group leaders together at the EncontroThe agreement was struck: They would participate in an Encontro de Baterias, the leaders agreeing to create a musical project everyone could work on to prepare something for all the groups to play together.The four samba bateria groups of Toronto that participated in the event and came all together for the first time are:Escola de Samba de Toronto (a.k.a. Toronto Samba School or TSS)Led by Alan Hetherington, the city's bateria pioneer who started things up for that first group, the "Escola" was the first Toronto outfit organized instruction in the samba bateria style. Many of Toronto's samba heads have participated, and the classes are offered through the Royal Conservatory of Music, where Hetherington also teaches other styles of samba percussion. Under his direction, the group has traveled to Brazil several times, and as an ensemble have performed, studied and recorded with professional Brazilian artists. The group mostly sticks to the samba-enredo and bateria styles, which Hetherington teaches with encyclopaedic knowledge and years of technique. They play some other Brazilian rhythms as well, and in fact have performed complex arrangements and time signatures, but for the most part this Escola de Samba keeps the rhythms traditional.Samba Squad As we have mentioned, Samba Squad are not samba purists. Founded and led by percussionist and teacher Rick Lazar, another old-schooler, Samba Squad is a powerhouse of diverse rhythms and perhaps the group that most represents Toronto's cultural diversity in its repertoire of rhythms. Samba Squad's projects are wide-ranging, from elaborately arranged recordings and stage shows like their recent CD release party (and turns performing with Jesse Cook) to an entire youth arts and music non-profit wing; Drum Artz studio, the org's home base, hosted the Encontro, and Samba Kidz, the youth performing/workshop group, incorporates entire steel pan racks into arrangements for samba, soca and more. Samba Squad has taught and nurtured many local players and samba addicts as well, and to the general populace of Toronto is one of the most visible samba baterias around. For more, read our recent article about Samba Squad and their latest album.Batucada CariocaThis group came onto the scene around 2003, a few years after Hetherington, while visiting Brazil, met Maninho Costa through samba school rehearsals. A native of the Ilha do Governador (Governor's Island) area of Rio de Janeiro, Costa has played in baterias since the age of seven -- his uncle, Odilon Costa, is one of Brazil's most respected bateria masters -- starting in the kids' baterias and moving to the elite levels as a teenager. Following an invitation from Hetherington, Costa visited Toronto in 2000 and 2001 as a performer for the annual Brazilian Ball fundraiser; after the 2001 event, he stayed, later starting his own project. Batucada Carioca began as a smaller group in 2003, and in 2004 grew into a larger bateria; the band plays samba music with an emphasis on the heavy percussive swing of the Rio bateria tradition, performing famous Carnaval anthems along with popular Brazilian tunes and a few other grooves. Check out more about Maninho Costa and Batucada Carioca in our previous article here.Samba EléguaPerhaps the most community-oriented samba project of the bunch, Samba Elégua was founded in 2001 as a free-to-join music group by Itay Keshet, then a student at University of Toronto (who directed the project's first five years or so), and to this day it has managed to survive without anyone paying for classes or rehearsals as a kind of volunteer-based samba percussion collective. Of the four groups, it is the one whose leadership and repertoire have likely changed the most over the course of its history (more than 10 individuals including Jon Medow, David ArcusRaphi Roter and myself have led the group in performance). Like Samba Squad,  Samba Elégua plays both Brazilian grooves and a number of fusion rhythms that represent the sounds of multicultural Toronto. In recent years, the group has reworked and developed a stronger bateria samba groove along with other expanded repertoire pieces. We posted about Samba Elégua's sound in a video-based blog entry here.Tamborims (small frame drums that deliver a high cracking sound essential to the feel of samba, played in a specific turning style) -- this section has the most complex arrangement, including for this first Encontro projectWith participation confirmed from the four groups, the "samba mafia bosses" agreed to try a samba-enredo arrangement for the Encontro, one that all groups could learn ahead of time.Eventually the tune was chosen: Araxá (full title: Araxá - Lugar Alto Onde Primeiro Se Avista o Sol), which was the Carnaval anthem performed in 1999 by Rio samba school Beija-Flor de Nilópolis.Once videos of the arrangement were posted online and made available to all, the groups had a few months to practice.Allow me to speak from my experience: for Samba Elégua at least it was the first time many players had performed samba in this format, the way it is in Rio and São Paulo's samba schools -- not just a samba groove, but everything fitting around a song. We spent months encouraging players to review the videos as posted for each instrument, and rehearsed the whole thing several times; this even meant incorporating amplified singing in Portuguese along with the rhythm, which was also a new experience for many group members.Maninho Costa calling a bossa (percussion break)Finally the erratic spring weather seemed to clear a little for the big Sunday, and by the time everyone was assembled in the Drum Artz studio, we had more than 100 players, making it the largest samba bateria ever in Canada. (We are pretty sure! Did anyone call Guinness?)Among the many drummers, several of the original Viva Brazil players were on hand for the big day, including Rick Lazar, Alan Hetherington, and musicians and members of Samba Squad, Batucada Carioca and a range of other projects like Tony Pierre, Trevor Yearwood, Lyba Spring, Janet McClelland and Gord Sheard.Negin Bahrami lays down a beat on the surdo along with guest musicians, from left: Avital Zemer (seven-string guitar), Carlos Cardozo (cavaquinho) and Wagner Petrilli (guitar). The day involved warming up the bateria, playing the arrangement's breaks, and then getting into the song with guest musicians Carlos Cardozo on cavaquinho and Wagner Petrilli on guitar, plus another guitarist, Avital Zemer, who also photographed part of the event. Maninho Costa was the day's interprete or samba vocalist.Alan Hetheringto calls the bossa (break) for the bateria while Maninho Costa sings.After organizing the bateria into a formation, the leaders directed a successful run-through for over an hour or so, each section of instruments playing its parts of the arrangement, and everyone playing the arrangement's bossa or break together through several repetitions of the song (I would guess around 20-25 times).Samba group leaders from Toronto baterias, from left: Jon Medow, Alan Hetherington, Maninho Costa, Rick Lazar (Photo: Avital Zemer)Things then moved to call and response breaks with the leaders of the groups calling on repeniques (the high-pitched drum played in the bateria style with one hand and one stick, which takes on the role of calling the bateria into the groove and hitting the loud call notes for the bateria to respond).Rick Lazar of Samba Squad leading during the closing procession at the Encontro de Baterias (Photo: Avital Zemer)The afternoon was nearly over, but it wouldn't have been complete without a parade, so everyone marched outside with their instruments and made a loud block party to finish the Encontro in true Brazilian samba bateria style.Happy samba drummers! (Photo: Dave Burke)All in all it was a greatly successful event: Happy people with a new collective experience, new friends made and a samba bateria community that wants to make it happen again.This first Encontro was a hit for sure, and with everyone asking when the next one is, we say: Summer is coming, anything is possible and it seems it may only be a matter of time before the next Encontro de Baterias.All photos used with permission of photographers: Dave Burke and Avital Zemer

The Samba Squad. They Love Drums.

 Samba Squad press shot circa 2004-5If you are a lover of rhythmic, drum-based music, it is impossible to ignore Samba Squad. In multi-cultural, multi-rhythmic Toronto, a city with a great number of street bands, batucadas, maracatus, percussion groups et al., the Samba Squad, after arriving on the scene in 1999, is the city's biggest and most well-known.While they use the name ‘samba,’ they are a lot more. The Squad (as they are affectionately called) play a variety of rhythms from a host of traditions around the world. They come equipped with their own arrangements of samba, samba-reggae and maracatu from Brazil; Cuban congo; soca from Trinidad and Tobago; West African dundunba; and even Middle Eastern and Punjabi rhythms. The repertoire reflects the diverse interests and origins of the band's members. Manyof them have been accompanying the world music scene in Toronto for some time, and, while mostly sticking to the instrumentation of the Brazilian samba bateria, they have no prejudice, using any instrument in the construction of their song or arrangement. While traditional die-hard adherents of one type of musical form (like myself with maracatu and others with samba) are often adverse to the mixing and matching, it is precisely this factor that has made the Squad so popular with so many people in T.O. In many ways, musically, they represent the multi-cultural vibrancy of Toronto more than any other band. And they rock it, too.Picture of Samba Squad at Muhtadi's International Drumming Festival in 2012. In their stage show they have a whole band in place that includes keyboards (heavy composer and Brazil-phile Gordon Sheard), bass (Collin Barret) and guitar (Demetri Petsalakis). They recently released their 3rd CD, Que Beleza ("what beauty"), at Toronto's Lula Lounge. Their special guest singers usually include: Andrea di Bartolomeo, Cuban vocalist "King Bombo" Alberto Alberto,  and Brazilian singer, Uma Nota favourite, Luanda Jones.Here is a sample from their latest CD:I love the wording of the press release:"Hand to Hand, Skin to Skin…. we mix these influences with Global Grooves of the African Diaspora.  The beats ... the grooves … the flavours … all come together in a seething cauldron to produce the sound of Samba Squad." (I especially like the "seething cauldron." I am a big fan of cultural cauldron imagery.)Samba Squad is also the patron of  Drum Artz, a charitable organization that emerged out of the performance group. It is a community percussion school and arts program that is accessible to people regardless of age, gender, class, race and (dis)ability. They are the force behind Samba Kidz, a summer camp and after school program whose name says it all. It is impressive stuff, and proves that the work and vision of Samba Squad in the community is more than just lip service.Of course one can’t  tell the story of Samba Squad without Rick Lazar. Rick Lazar is in many ways the grand daddy percussionist of Southern Ontario. He is a constant reference for gigs, instruments, and considerable percussive knowledge. He is the leader and artistic director of the band and patron of Drum Artz. He is also known as the "thrill sergeant" by the Squad members. Gotta love it. Check here for his bio.bazou12_rick-chip-small-1024x682Here are  couple of videos that show the Squad's versatility and diversity:Afro-Brazilian Cuban Styles with Alberto Alberto!Samba Squad performs  this Thursday, March 21 in Toronto for the CD release of Que Beleza (part of Canadian Music Week). Venue: Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West. Doors 9:30 p.m. $15 at the door. More info: Facebook event page | Lula Lounge website listing

Maninho Costa and Batucada Carioca

In Toronto, there are many agitators in the Brazilian music scene. A great figure and a reference in this scene is the leader of Batucada Carioca, Maninho Costa.  It's crazy, because we don’t realize how lucky we are to have a man like Maninho Costa or ManinhoZ10 (pronounced mah-knee-n-yo-zé-des). He is a true link between our world and Brazil. A sambista through and through, he is the real deal  and his feel in the rhythm is unparalleled. Even in Brazil it would be rare to have the opportunity to study and learn from a man like Maninho.Maninho (a term of endearment meaning "little bro") started playing in the baterias of Rio de Janeiro in his early youth. His uncle, Mestre Odilon Costa, is one of the most recognized masters of the big Rio samba schools. Among 100 hand-picked musicians, Maninho was chosen to record the solo repinique parts on the Sergio Mendez record Brasileiro, for the song Fanfarra. He has played and is recognized in all the major samba school baterias. He ended up in Toronto in the early 2000s after being invited to play for the annual Brazilian Ball. And so it goes -- he has been here ever since, punctuated by the yearly trips to the homeland, Rio de Janeiro.A little preview of what will come when Maninho Costa and Batucada Carioca hit at Uma Nota: Here's ManinhoZ10 as a featured guest with Monobloco. Be prepared for a full-on show.While involved in a number of musical projects in Canada, including Tio Chorinho, Aline Morales, Jesse Cook and Sinal Aberto, Maninho's own samba project in Toronto is Batucada Carioca. What evolved from an informal jam group became the city's premiere Rio-style samba troupe. The foundation of Batucada Carioca's music is a heavy percussive swing, with the melodic accompaniment of cavaquinho, guitar,  and even trombone, as well as various singers singing enredos (traditional styled Carnaval samba anthems).Batucada first played at Uma Nota in 2009, one of the heaviest shows we ever put on at the Gladstone. We recently saw  Batucada play in Montreal to a pumped-up crowd at Parc Jean-Drapeau. A sneak peak of their rehearsal last week impressed the hell out of me. They are cooking up some new stuff and their energy at the moment is pretty hype. Batucada Carioca play the Uma Nota 5-year anniversary at the Great Hall Friday July 27. 

Carnaval 2012 is here, from Rio to Salvador to Toronto

The famous, wild and irresistible "clima do Carnaval" has already been heating up all over Brazil for weeks.  From Friday until this coming Ash Wednesday, all bets are off, pleasure and hedonism rule and the world's most famous giant party takes over.Rio de Janeiro bloco 2012 Me Beija Que Sou Cineasta Fotográfos FoliõesOne member of the Uma Nota community taking part in this year's festivities is Jon Medow, the musical director of  Toronto's Samba Elégua and a drummer in samba master Maninho Costa's Batucada Carioca. He's been in Rio since early February on his first trip to Brazil (following a trip to Argentina), and he's arrived tearing it up on the samba front at just the right time.  A talented drummer who plays several instruments from the escola de samba bateria tradition like a hard-hitting Carioca himself, Jon has managed to get right in there with some of the Rio street blocos and now, we can confirm, in the bateria of an escola de samba.Jon Medow G.R.E.S. Inocentes de Belford Roxo Rio Carnaval  Escola de Samba Carnaval Rio de Janeiro  Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí Sambódromo Batucada Carioca Samba Up there with Rio, another of the most popular Brazilian cities during Carnaval -- for sheer music and joy overload, not to mention the definition of "multidão" (huge, packed to the gills crowds) -- is of course Salvador da Bahia, the birthplace of the "trio elétrico" (among countless other Brazilian cultural manifestations, predominantly Afro-Brazilian ones!). This year, worldwide viewers and social media-happy Brazilians can watch live streaming video of the many shows around Salvador on a new YouTube channel created to showcase the festivities and allow people to interact online to comment on them. (More from the Google Blog here, hat tip to Electric Joshua.)   [tubepress video=nEVzpKFxodQ]   Meanwhile back in "terras frias," Toronto isn't missing its turn to party down. This year the annual Brazilian community's Carnaval bash, produced by the lovely and talented (and "Brasileirissima") Angela Mesquita, also puts Bahia in focus as the region of Brazil selected as the theme of this year's festa. Local stars Banda Bracatum rock their mix of samba-reggae, funk, horns and Afro-Brazilian tunes along with Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder adaptations, all led by Contra-Mestre Bola of Capoeira Camará and more in the action-packed band. Singer Cibelle Iglesias and Adrianna Yanuziello's dance troupe Dance Migration will also perform a special piece prepared for the Bahia-themed party. And Maninho Costa, freshly arrived from his hometown Rio (where he just finished a performance run of the show A Febre do Samba, on the history of the samba-enredo), will lead Batucada Carioca in a set of classic Carnaval anthems by the great escolas de samba including two giants, the heavily Afro-influenced Vila Isabel and the often-Bahia-themed Mangueira. Toronto-bound (revelers) can get their fix this Saturday night. Details here. Feliz Carnaval a todos! Happy Carnaval to all!