Brazilian Carnaval: Exotica

Club Nokia


On Saturday night Brazilian Carnival descended upon Club Nokia. The exhilarating festival aimed to recreate the party scene that galvanizes Brazil every year around this time. Women danced in glitzy, revealing attire, many wearing feathers on their back.

Attendees wore beads around their neck and donned clothes the color of the Brazilian flag. Many rattled small, plastic tambourines that were handed out.

But live music was the main event, as at least 100 attendees filled the pit below the stage. The performances featured gyrating samba dancers that writhed their hips vigorously. The Samba Da band took the stage second. “Are you guys happy?” lead singer Dandha da Hora asked.

This 7-piece band offered a Caribbean, reggae-inspired vibe. They were also joined by samba dancers wearing animal prints. Almost every member of the band — which included many percussion players, a guitar player and singer — wore all white.

Dandha bellowed while more dancers who came on stage, wearing glittery skirts and rolled up t-shirts. She pranced up and down the stage, sometimes flanked by them.

They eventually switched to salsa, and dancers returned wearing their African-themed outfits. Each one swayed their bodies from side to side holding a stick with grass on each end.

They reached out to the crowd again, prompting bursts of cheers. “Come you guys, sing!” insisted guitar player Papiba Godinho.

It was probably one of the most eventful performances of the night. It also featured dances dressed in white karate outfits performing kicks and cartwheels onstage to the music. One performed flips across the stage, to the delight of the audience. Later in their set, another dancer in a blue gown burst onstage, reappearing periodically. Her exuberant passion seemed particularly genuine, leaving the stage as the guitar player strummed one of the few solos.

Samba Da continued to enthuse the crowd as the set neared its end. “Let's celebrate love together,” said Dandha, her face covered in beads of sweat. Samba Da has drawn its inspiration from United States civil rights and black power movements, making its mission to tackle racism and build self-confidence.

This Brazilian Carnaval: Exotica event was at Club Nokia for the forth consecutive year, put on by Brazilian Nites Productions. The Burbank-based company, which was founded by Patricia and Gilberto Leao, aims to promote the country's culture.

Personal Bias: I love Brazilian food.

The Crowd: Mostly over 30.

Random Notebook Dump: A sticker at the edge of the stage read “smile.”

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