Thursday, December 16, 2010

Seu Jorge in "The Model: Oshun & the Dream"

"The Model: Oshun and the Dream" from Now-Again on Vimeo.

"Now-Again Records and What Matters Most present the second episode of a the two part film based on the recently released Seu Jorge and Almaz album by Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge. "The Model: Oshun and the Dream," stars Jorge as he continues to struggle with this echoing image of "The Model"..."

Directed & Edited by Kahlil Joseph
Photography by Bradford Young
Music by Seu Jorge and Almaz
Produced by Omid Fatemi and Daniel Song for What Matters Most
Featuring music from the Now-Again Records album Seu Jorge and Almaz

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Model ft. Seu Jorge

I got this link from a tweet. It's a short film directed by Khalil Joseph featuring singer/musician/actor Seu Jorge. The video features a cover of Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves The Sunshine," Martinho da Vila and Joao de Aquino's "Cirandar," and Kraftwerk's "The Model."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Samples Series: Jay Dee's "Runnin' " and Luiz Bonfá's "Saudade Vem Correndo"

Little did I know when I first heard this song that legendary hip hop producer Jay Dee sampled "Saudades Vem Correndo", a song composed by Luiz Bonfá and Maria Toledo:

Acclaimed Detroit-born hip hop producer Jay Dee sampled Bonfá's guitar from the song "Saudade Vem Correndo" (Jazz Samba Encore!, 1963) on his track, "Runnin' " (Labcabincalifornia, The Pharcyde, 1995). It seems to be a fairly well-known sample based on my YouTube research. Jay Dee (Dilla) is amazing, yes. Guitarist Luiz Bonfá is quite amazing himself, as he played melody, rhythm, and bass at the same time on the guitar, and that's exactly the part of the song that Dilla highlighted in his sample. This is perhaps the most satisfying part for me - Bonfá's guitar really makes the song.

More on Bonfá:
Japanese fan site - English; info, discography with album cover photos
Dicionário Cravo Albin da Música Popular Brasileira - Portuguese; bio, discography, more

More on Jay Dee:
Wikipedia - English; bio, discography

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Samba Mixtape 4 Track List

Here's the track list to the Samba Mixtape I've been using in my classes lately.

Tudo Bem Malandro, Curumin
Ilê Aiyê, Gilberto Gil
Funk da Umbigada, Saravah Soul
O Carnaval Quem É Que Faz, Baiana System
Eu Bebo Sim, Monobloco
Carolina, Seu Jorge
O Morro Não Engana, Clube do Balanço
Mussum, Saravah Soul
Chega no Suingue, Seu Jorge
Te Queria, Seu Jorge
O Samba Tai, Seu Jorge
Pequines e Pitbull, Seu Jorge
Mangueira, Seu Jorge
Na Madrugada, Seu Jorge
Funk Baby, Seu Jorge
Balança, Chernobyl & Praga
Dama Tereza, Instituto & Sabotage

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saravah Soul

Found this on baixafunda, an excellent music blog (in Portuguese)
Brazilian rhythms meet afrobeat, funk, & soul! (I only had time to put a few of my favorite tracks up so far).

"Exploding out of the rich cultural melting-pot of London’s underground music scene comes the half-Brazilian, half-British, Afro-Brazilian Funk sound of Saravah Soul."

The album is on the London-based TruThoughts label.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Katherine Dunham

Katherine Dunham was an American dancer, choreographer, songwriter, author, educator and activist who was trained as an anthropologist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater of the 20th century more

Ned Williams will host a Dunham Technique workshop on Sunday October 10, 2010 at PMT Dance Studio in Manhattan. I highly encourage anyone who is interested in the dances of Africa and the African diaspora to attend.

What is the Dunham Technique?
A blend of African & Caribbean movement (flexible torso and spine; articulated pelvis; isolation of the limbs; and polyrhythmic movement) integrated with techniques of ballet and modern dance.

Dunham Technique Workshop
October 10, 2010 | 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
hosted by Ned Williams

Beginner Class ($20) 11:00 am - 1:00 pm | Prerequisite: no dance training necessary

The class supports the beginning student by providing a constructive warm-up through guidance on healthy body movement and coordination as well as a strong emphasis on basic placement and alignment. Learn the fundamentals of Dunham techniques such as Dunham flatback, body isolations and head rolls in a positive and supportive atmosphere.

Advanced Class ($20) 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm | Prerequisite: at least 2 years technique dance training

This class supports the advanced student with concentration on Dunham combinations across the floor, intense bar work and fluid body movement. It encourages students to develop an in-depth understanding of movement as well as meaningful appreciation of Dunham technique in a positive and supportive atmosphere.

at PMT Dance Studio
69 West 14th Street at 6th Ave, 3rd Floor

Clara Nunes

My friend and dance partner Larisa introduced me to a Brazilian street vendor from Cachoeira, Bahia up in Harlem near the Apollo Theater on Sunday. He recommended a greatest hits compilation containing songs by one of his favorite Brazilian vocalists, Clara Nunes. I included links to some of my favorite tracks on the album below (click on song title to listen):

Juizo Final
Canto das Tres Raças
Tudo é Ilusão
Portela na Avenida

(Tracks from Clara Nunes Raizes do Samba series, Label: Msi Music/Super D, 2002)

Clara Nunes was a factory worker when she decided to compete in a music contest, placing third at the finals held in São Paulo in 1959. She got a day-job at a radio station in Belo Horizonte (capital of Minas Gerais, Southeast Brazil), and sang in nightclubs.

In 1965, Clara moved to Rio de Janeiro, recording boleros (Spanish music made for dancing) and samba songs on her first album. After a few LPs featuring assorted styles, she signed her name as a samba vocalist in the 70s. In 1974, her album sold approximately 300,000 copies, thanks to the hit samba "Conto de Areia" (Romildo/ Toninho). It was a remarkable number then, helping put down the common idea that women weren't big record sellers and stimulating the companies to invest in other female samba musicians, like Alcione, who made her first album in '75, and Beth Carvalho, hired by RCA in '76.

The following albums transformed her into one of the three samba queens of the '80s, along with the two above-mentioned musicians. In the second half of the decade, she would release one album every year, all of them selling well and featuring historic tracks like "Juízo Final" (Nelson Cavaquinho/ Élcio Soares), "Coração Leviano" (Paulinho da Viola) and "Morena de Angola" (Chico Buarque).

Clara was also famous for songs crafted upon the rhythms of Candomblé, her African-Brazilian religion, and for her typical costumes, as she always dressed in white and wore lots of necklaces and African beads. She died prematurely, after a botched surgery, causing a popular outcry.

(Source: National Geographic Music,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mombojó - Papapa

I like the choreography in this video--there's some old-school hip hop moves (specifically popping, I believe) and even a little samba. Found out about it through Mais Um Gringo's Blog. The video is nominated for MTV Brazil Clipe do Ano (Video of the Year Award).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mais Um Discos

<a href="">Oi! A Nova Musica Brasileira! by Mais Um</a>

Compiler Mais Um Gringo explains how the album came about: “All the Brazilian compilations I found either offered a tired mix of nu-bossa and nu-samba or were titles covering niche genres like baile-funk. I was looking for an album that provided an overview of the most exciting new Brazilian music across all genres”

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brazilian Day NYC 2010

The big day is coming....Brazilian Day NYC 2010!
Catch me in the official opening procession for Brazilian Day, the Lavagem da Rua 46 this Saturday September 4th. Hint: I'll be in the Rio de Janeiro section wearing a Carmen Miranda outfit...

LAVAGEM DA RUA 46 (official Brazilian Day opening parade & cultural festival)
Saturday 9/4
10am to 12pm
from 44th St & 6th Ave to 46th St and Madison Ave
Rain or shine
Free & open to public

Sunday 9/5
11am to 7pm
43rd St to 57th St
between Madison & 8th Aves
Main stage at 43th Street and 6th Avenue
Second stage 46th Street between 5th and Madison
Rain or shine
Free & open to public

Upcoming Performances

||SATURDAY 9/4|| Lavagem da Rua 46 (Official Brazilian Day opening parade and cultural festival)
10:00am to 12:00pm
44th Street and 6th Ave to 46th Street and Madison Ave

12:00pm to 6:00pm
46th & Madison Ave

||WEDNESDAY 9/8|| The Brazilian Boat Cruise
||WEDNESDAY 9/15|| The Brazilian Boat Cruise

Boarding: 6:30pm
Sailing: 7:30pm – 10:00pm
Where: Pier #40 – West Houston Street & West Side Highway
Description: This after-work party sizzles with a performance by two samba dancers and hot Brazilian beats & top 40 dance hits from DJ Fabio Soul. Don’t miss the Caipirinha drink specials!
Special Guests: Performance by 2 Samba Dancers, DJ Fabio Soul
Details: Cash Bar & Cash Buffet available. The boat is enclosed and climate controlled. We sail rain or shine.
Requirements: All guests must be 21 & over with proper state ID or passport.
Dress Code: Trendy / Business Casual. No sneakers. We reserve the right to be selective.
Admission: $10 in advance; $15 at the pier
Group Rates: Arrange your group in advance
Purchase: 212-987-9200 OR Click Here
More Info.:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


"Leticia is an artist, performer, entrepreneur and educator.
She has been teaching samba in New York City since 2006. She lived and studied in the northeast of Brazil (Fortaleza, Ceará), speaks Portuguese fluently . . ."
read more about Leticia here
see photo slideshow here

Sunday Samba Series

I stumbled upon this really great funky samba podcast out of L.A. California! I've been listening to the "Pop Lock to the Disco Funk" episode. Hope you like it as much as I do!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Upcoming Performances & Events

I'll be performing on the Brazilian boat cruise the following dates:

(all Wednesdays)
August 18
August 25
September 15

Boarding: 6:30pm
Sailing: 7:30pm – 10:00pm
Where: Pier #40 – West Houston Street & West Side Highway
Description: This after-work party sizzles with a performance by two samba dancers and hot Brazilian beats & top 40 dance hits from DJ Fabio Soul. Don’t miss the Caipirinha drink specials!
Special Guests: Performance by 2 Samba Dancers, DJ Fabio Soul
Details: Cash Bar & Cash Buffet available. The boat is enclosed and climate controlled. We sail rain or shine.
Requirements: All guests must be 21 & over with proper state ID or passport.
Dress Code: Trendy / Business Casual. No sneakers. We reserve the right to be selective.
Admission: $10 in advance; $15 at the pier
Group Rates: Arrange your group in advance
Purchase: 212-987-9200 OR Click Here

More Info.:

Leticia's student samba show
August 21 2010 (Saturday)
Washington Ave Block Party

THANK YOU! to all my lovely students who performed Saturday. You rocked!! Can't wait to do it again.

LAVAGEM DA RUA 46 (official pre-Brazilian Day parade/procession)
Saturday September 4

Sunday September 5

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


From Pride NYC June 27 2010
From Pride NYC June 27 2010

"Are you a woman?" was actually the prevailing question for me at Pride NYC this past Sunday, June 27th.

It was my first time participating, and it was so much fun!!

I had the pleasure of going with my friend and hairdresser (who is responsible for my fabulous highlights!), Fernando Javier Valencia.

I'm not gay, but I really liked the idea of liberation that was a major theme of the day. I personally identified with this theme of liberation by dancing joyfully down the street with child-like abandon after 7 months of an icy winter and teaching and practicing choreography and routines inside studios for most of the year!

From another perspective, it was a street performance, free and open to the public -- a nice thing given the state of our economy (speaking of which, I heard the parade route was shortened due to city budget cuts that didn't allow for as much law enforcement as necessary for the longer route).

Some people may have thought I was a man in drag, a transvestite, or a lesbian in a samba costume. I suspect most thought I was a man in drag. Whatever their perception was, the reaction from onlookers and participants was overwhelmingly positive, supportive, and very often one of giddy surprise or shock. A lot of people requested photos. I believe they were awestruck by the costume and my exuberantly happy energy.

I kind of felt like I had crashed a party to tell you the truth! But my sexual identity didn't matter to the Peruvian group I paraded with (which included people from Venezuela and other countries as well); they appreciated that I brought positive energy and non-stop dancing(!) to their group. I was happy to be part of this parade for human rights.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Appreciating the Appreciation

Today's appreciation class at the Humble School of Martial Arts was incredible! The energy was amazing -- joyful, exuberant, and sweaty! We moved at an easy pace but quickly worked up a sweat with all those bodies in the room shaking those hips and shimmying those shoulders! It was a beautiful sight to see.

I have to thank Master Sabu for allowing me free use of his studio, the Humble School of Martial Arts (973 Fulton Street b/w St James Pl & Cambridge Pl Brooklyn NY 11238). I hope after the free class that all you new folks will be back every Sunday 3:30 to 5:00pm. Only $15, drop in on any day and wear comfortable clothing you can move and sweat in!

Thanks so much to some of my first students ever who represented in class: Robyn and Carla. And to my Sunday students at the Humble School: Ms. Gousby, Jane, Shahidah, Jennifer. Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the positive and welcoming atmosphere.

And to all the new folks who came to try me out for the first time! I had a blast, I was smiling throughout the whole class!!

I just want to share a couple quotes from those who attended today that I hope will inspire you to come and join us:

"I love your fun workout"

"Thank you so much, I feel smaller and sexier after your class"

"Fun, fun, fun"

"Fun as always!"

Thank you! I love you all!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You Like Me!

I stumbled upon this positive review of one of my classes on


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Appreciation Class Sunday 6/6 in Brooklyn!

Come enjoy a free samba class taught by me! My way of saying "thank you" to my loyal students! Bring your friends!

Sunday June 6, 2010
3:30 - 5:00pm
@ Humble School of Martial Arts
973 Fulton Street
b/w St. James Place & Washington Ave.
C to Clinton-Washington
718 398 7228


Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Samba Dance Class, Sunday 5/2

I will be teaching a FREE samba dance class Sunday 5/2 from 3:30 - 5:00pm.
This will be an open level class, all are welcome!
There will be live percussion by Carlos de Oliveira.
Bring yourself! Bring a friend!

@Humble School of Martial Arts
973 Fulton Street between Washington Ave & St James Place
Brooklyn 11238
718 398 7228

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Brazil strikes again!

Another case of the Brazilian musical influence!

Samba & Brazilian-style melody with electronic/deep house:
"Belo Horizonti (Brix Edit)" by The Heartists (a Basement Jaxx alias).

From the 1994 - 1997 compilation Atlantic Jaxx Recordings: a Compilation.

Thanks to Armando for putting me on to the track!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Buy a Samba Costume!

If you are interested in purchasing a used Brazilian Samba costume, please contact me!

6-week Cycles Start this Saturday April 3 (Manhattan)

I will be teaching two levels of samba in 6-week cycles on Saturdays beginning April 3rd at Piel Canela Dance School at Pearl Studios in Manhattan:

Samba 1 is basic level -- little to no samba or dance experience; class will move slower than Samba 2.

Samba 2 advanced beginner/beginning intermediate -- previous samba experience (at least 6 classes of Samba 1), able to dance basic step rapidly and grasp basic choreography.

Samba 1 will be a pre-requisite for Samba 2 -- you must have gone through 6 weeks of Samba 1 in order to join Samba 2.
Admittance to Samba 2 will be at the instructor's discretion.

Contact me if you have questions.

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays will remain Open Level.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why You Should Dance Samba

*It's fun!

*It's a great aerobic workout. You can burn anywhere between 197 and 576 calories per hour of samba dancing (depending on your body)!

*Increase your self-confidence. Samba, as with all dances, helps you learn new ways to move and understand your body. This in turn elevates your self-esteem and confidence!

*Share your reasons

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Music Recommendations

Here are some favorites I use in my dance classes. I believe all these artists and tracks are easy to find online. Artist names appear on the right:

"Carolina" by Seu Jorge
"Pega Eu" by Bezerra da Silva
"Love Love" by Toty Gira
"Abertura do Jogo" by Os Batuqueiros
"Aquarela Brasileira" by G.R.E.S. Imperio Serrano

This text will be replaced by the flash music player.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

$30 for 30 Days Unlimited Classes at Piel Canela

This is a pretty awesome deal.

$30 for 30 days of unlimited classes including SAMBA
at Piel Canela Latin Dance & Music School.
500 8th Ave b/w 35th and 36th Sts
12th Floor

Use online code: samba

New students only | Online only

Get the offer at Piel Canela Online

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carnaval in NYC isn't over!

There's still time to get your samba & Carnaval on . . .


Monday, February 15, 2010

7 Year Old Samba Queen

Is 7 years too young for a samba queen?
All the news has been talking about the role as "traditionally sexy"; I'm not convinced this is always the case . . .

I agree with Julia Lira's father that if anyone looks at the 7 year old with sex in mind, that is a sick individual.

On the contrary, a child's approach to dancing is quite beautiful--unabashed, full of joy, not self-conscious.

Maybe the parade in the Sambódromo with hundreds and hundreds of people watching was a bit too much for the young lady, though.

Beyonce & Alicia Keys shoot video in Brazil

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beija-Flor Samba School Tech Rehearsal

Carnaval in Rio

This mini documentary follows one participant parading with one of the top samba schools in Rio, Mangueira:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Samba Dance Classes NYC

MONDAYS (Brooklyn)
all levels
8:00 - 9:30pm ($15)

TUESDAYS (Manhattan)
all levels
7:30 - 9:00pm ($20)

SATURDAYS (Manhattan)
both classes all levels
Samba 1 - 3:00 - 4:00pm ($14)
Samba 2 - 4:00 - 5:00pm ($14)

SUNDAYS (Brooklyn)
All levels 3:30 - 5:00pm ($15 - please commit to 4 consecutive classes, $60)