Samba Society plays deep "roots" samba in the tradition popularized by Rio’s “Old Guard” of urban samba. The group’s repertoire features renditions of vintage and new sambas reminiscent of classic recordings from the 1970s. Under the artistic direction of Beto González, the 10-member group formed in early 2009 from the shared desire of a group of musicians to bring to Los Angeles a deeper connection with the historical legacy of samba. This legacy is founded on the rich musical heritage of Brazil that coalesced in the city of Rio de Janeiro at the turn of the 20th century and has continued for over a century.
“Roots” samba is best experienced in its most traditional format—usually in the informal company of the community rather than on stage—emphasizing the art and poetry of previous generations. Despite its popularity in Southern California, samba is rarely performed in a format that privileges history and tradition over the spectacle and exoticism that is so often associated with Brazilian culture. It is therefore the mission of Samba Society to present samba and its Afro- Brazilian musical heritage in a manner that spurns the tired carnivalesque stereotypes, yet transcends ethnic and cultural boundaries. The group is made up of musicians from diverse backgrounds and includes native Brazilians and first-generation Brazilian Americans as well as non-Brazilians. The group explores a repertoire that highlights various sub-genres and rural musical precedents that helped shape urban samba into its most current format.
Samba Society has just completed its most prolific year. The group’s performance at the World Festival of Sacred Music in October 2011 highlighted Artistic Director Beto González’s ability to intertwine secular urban samba with rural musical precedents and its inherent sacred influences. The show also included the participation of the legendary composer Moacyr Luz, hailing straight from Rio de Janeiro in his first appearance in the U.S.
Samba Society is:
Beto González / director / vocals / percussion / guitar
Simon Carroll / percussion
Bobby Easton / percussion
Mitchell Long / guitar / cavaco / mandolin
Dana Maman / percussion
Mauro Monteiro / vocals
Kátia Moraes / vocals
Fábio Santana de Souza / vocals / percussion / trombone
Emina Shimanuki / vocals
Kana Shimanuki / vocals
Colin Walker / 7-string guitar