Brazil might be in the news this summer for political turmoil, the Olympics, and how one seems to lead inevitably to the other, but for us at Afropop, the South American country is always looming large. Brazilian music is an utter embarrassment of riches—from folk music to pop, to a booming drum and bass scene.
And from Aug. 3-6., Brazil meets New York for the sixth annual Brasil Summerfest. Taking place mostly in Brooklyn and Manhattan, there’s a number of free outdoor shows and a couple in jazz clubs, with musical styles from psych rock to new classical.
It has been a great season of music so far and Brasil Summerfest is a fitting way to kick off the last full month of summer.
Wed., Aug. 3
7 p.m. Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch
Dendê and Band
True to the legacy of the MPB vanguard of the ’60s, Dendê and Band is a Baiano group known for melding musical styles—rollicking Brazilian percussion that lays back into reggae beats on one song, then hops to an Afro-Cuban rumba during the next, with flickering guitar lines that blur towards to the psychedelic.
9:30 p.m. Joe’s Pub
Sergio Krakowski: Talking Drums
It’s hard to picture a modern classical composer and performer whose primary instrument is the pandeiro—the tambourine’s Brazilian evolution—but whatever you might be picturing is inadequate. Krakowski has to be seen to be believed. In his hands, playing the pandeiro becomes a full-body, multimedia endeavor.
Thurs., Aug. 4
7:30 p.m. David Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center
From the Capibaribe River Delta in Brazil’s northeast to the Mississippi River Delta in the American South, with instrumentation—why not?—from as far afield as Turkey.
Fri., Aug. 5
7 p.m. Hearst Plaza Lincoln Center
Ze Renato, Vinicius Cantuaria, Ricardo Silveira
Fans of Brazilian jazz guitar: This is your night. Three giants of the field—well, Ze Renato skews more towards singer/songwriter—all for free. For that matter, it seems totally conceivable that Vincius Cantuaria’s New York collaborator, Bill Frisell, could pop out for a song or two—not that we’ve heard anything.
9:30 p.m. Joe’s Pub
Although it’s a country with many legendary female musicians, this year’s Brasil Summerfest is pretty male-heavy. Ava Rocha is a stellar counter-balance, just a year removed from her sneaky-great 2015 album Ava Patrya Yndia Yracema.
Fri., Aug. 5
9 p.m. Nublu
Kaplan’s latest foray is into the world of Brazilian-inflected chamber jazz with an album titled Uai Sô coming out in September. For a bebop jazz guitarist, it’s a surprising, intricately constructed album, very carefully composed. Considering the album is full of bassoon, it’s worth swinging by the East Village’s Nublu just to see how he’s set up.
11 p.m. Nublu
Kamagui: Kassin, Mauro Refosco, Guilherme Monteiro
Speaking of surprises, it’s anyone’s guess what this trio of new Brazilian jazz is going to be up to. Kassin’s known for producing funk-inflected samba with the +2s; Guilherme Monteiro is a jazz guitarist who wouldn’t be out of place with that Lincoln Center show, and Mauro Refosco has toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Worth staying up late for.
Sat., Aug. 6
6 p.m. Central Park Summerstage
Monobloco, Boogarins, Cabruêra
Finally, wrapping things up: a trio of rock bands. Boogarins are definitely on the fuzzy psychedelic side, while Monobloco and Cabruêra hew closer to samba rock, but either way, it’s a blissful way to wrap up the first weekend in August.
11 p.m., Nublu
Closing party: Cabruêra, Ava Rocha and special guests.
Your last chance to dance or make up for what you’ve missed and kiss Brasil Summerfest goodbye, before you retire back home to watch highlights from the Olympics in Rio.