Hollywood Gets a Taste of Brazil’s Folk Celebration, the Festa Junina

Forróçacana (pronounced Foh-haw-sacana) is one of the most important bands of Forró in Brazil.  They are coming to the US this June.

Two of their albums were nominated for Latin Grammy Awards in 2001 and 2005,  Vamo que Vamo  and Os Maiores Sucessos de São João (Saint John’s greatest songs) for the Best Album of Regional Music and Brazilian Roots category.

Forró (Foh-haw), one of the most traditional and sensual Brazilian rhythms, has been shaking the night clubs all over Brazil. It’s an upbeat, super-catchy dance music from the Northeast of Brazil.

Forró usually features an accordion, with fast, syncopated rhythms similar to samba. In some ways,  is analogous to mariachi in Mexico, or cumbia music in Colombia. Forró, makes use of the flute along with percussion instruments and guitars. It is a very popular dance style throughout Brazil.

It is said that the name forró originated during World War II when America had a local military base which served as the jumping-off spot for North Africa. It was the sight of some really wild parties. One kind was for themselves and the high society types, and the other was open for all to come.

The locals loved those parties, but could not pronounce the words for all, so they started calling them forrós. As luck would have it, it was at this time that the forró style of music developed, and was given that name.

Forró means for all and came from those American parties thrown by our boys in World War II. It is one of the most popular forms of music in and around Fortaleza, and to the American ear has many similarities with Cajun music from Louisiana, particularly when the accordion really gets cranked up. It is very lively, and makes your heart light indeed.

Brazilian Nites Productions is bringing the band Forróçacana directly from Brazil to the John Anson Ford Amphitheater, in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, June 4 at 7 pm.

Singer, songwriter Kátia Moraes and Pure Samba open the night with a musical overview of favorites from Brazil. Oyá Brazil Samba Show adds Forró, Frevo and Quadrilha rhythms to the mix.

The Brazilian Festival signals also the beginning of the World Cup Championship in Germany, which will happen from June 9 through July 9. As everybody knows Brazil is one of the favorites to win its 6th title (the most any country has ever won). The audience is welcome to join in and dance on stage.

Kátia began her career in Rio de Janeiro in 1985 as part of a pop-rock band and has performed and/or recorded with Sérgio Mendes, Rita Lee, and Banda Cheiro de Amor, among others. After moving to Los Angeles in 1990, Kátia formed a band called The Rio Thing while lending her voice to films and television for dubbing and voice-overs.

In 1991 she wrote the lyrics and recorded the track "Chegando" (Arriving) for the CD Dance Around the World for Rhythm Safari Records. In 1994 she formed Brasil Nuts. Kátia has released 2 CDs in the U.S. and has performed all over Southern California, including opening for Gilberto Gil at the House of Blues.

Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times recently commented "…Moraes offers musical magic of Brazil…Sparks can be expected to fly…A galvanizing presence constantly in motion, joyously enmeshed in the music…"

The Oyá Brazil Samba Show, led by director-choreographer Daniela Brasil, complete the party as they dance the traditional samba as well as forró, frevo and quadrilhas (a dance from the northeast of Brazil similar to the Square Dance). Comprised of a diverse team of talented dancers, this local ensemble radiates with energy and passion.

Samba at Saticoy, an after school volunteer children’s ensemble, directed by Lee Cobin at Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood tackles a multitude of folk and popular Brazilian musical styles from  Rio Samba to Tambor de Crioula from São Luis de Maranhão. 

In the spirit of the Northeastern "Festa Junina" celebration, the children will highlight the spirited rhythms of this region which will include forró and other traditional forms.  Be ready to get out of your seat and feel and move to the pulse of these magical rhythms.

Tickets for Brazilian Summer Festival 2006, priced at $38 for general admission and $12 for children 12 and under, are available at the Ford Amphitheater box office by calling (323) GO-1 FORD (461-3673) or by logging on to www.fordamphitheatre.org or www.pelourinho.com. For outlet locations please visit www.BrazilianNites.com

The Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East off the 101 (Hollywood) freeway just north of Hollywood Bowl and south of the Universal Amphitheatre. The Ford is disabled accessible and portable wireless listening devices are available upon request.

This event is part of the Ford Amphitheatre 2006 Season, a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations.

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