Beleza Brasil (formerly Grupo Saveiro), twice voted “the best Brazilian group in the United States” by the Brazilian International Press Association, has been performing at Carnaval Brasileiro in Austin since 2003. The group has performed at the annual Brazilian Independence Day celebration in Manhattan, at Lincoln Center “Midsummer Night Swing,” at the Queens Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art “First Saturday,” Irving Plaza, Manhattan Center, Windows On The World and many other venues. Based in New York, they perform regularly at festivals, clubs and events throughout the East Coast. Individual group members have countless years experience in Rio’s most famous Samba Schools. In addition, several members have their own solo careers or perform with other notables including Angelique Kidjo, David Byrne, Baden Powell, Beth Carvalho, Martinho da Vila, Sun Ra, Marvin Gaye, Milton Nascimento, John Zorn, Arto Lindsey, Zeca Pagodinho and many others. Singer Marianni Ebert made her Carnegie Hall debut in 2011, has performed frequently on Brazilian television, and is a Saturday night fixture at New York City’s iconic Zinc Bar.
Acadêmicos da Opera, is Austin’s Samba School composed of approximately 100 local drummers and dancers trained in performing authentic renditions of Rio’s great carnaval groups, the escolas de samba. Director Robert Patterson, former leader of Sambaxê among other Austin Brazilian groups, spends many weeks each year in Brazil learning new drum techniques and rhythms which he transmits to the group’s members in long, dedicated hours of rehearsing. They offer a great taste of the amazing sound of Rio’s legendary carnaval parades. Each year they adopt a theme, usually taken from popular fairy tales, operas, and literature—for example The Wizard of Oz, Verdi’s Aida, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. For 2013, they will costume inspired by the classic tale of Peter Pan.
For an Acadêmicos sound sample, click here.
The Samba School is composed entirely of enthusiastic volunteers who rehearse once a week for the 10 months preceding Carnaval. If you would like to get involved with this amazing Austin group, go to their website, here.
We have added an interesting dissection of Rio’s samba school drum sections, the baterias, explaining their makeup, their role in the parade, etc. Complete with photos and sound! Click here.