Brazilian beats to heat up Extravaganza this weekend

St. Albert United Church plays host to the spring’s hot ticket

Looking for a booty-shaking party? Look no further. From vibrant streets to quaint villages, Brazil has produced pulsing body beats that are a magnet for people looking to dance.

The fledgling St. Albert Latin Cultural Association (SALCA), which took flight in August 2021, returns to highlight the vibrancy of Brazilian music on Saturday, May 28, at St. Albert United Church.

“Brazil is more than samba and that’s what we’re going to present,” said SALCA’s driving force, Jorge Vargas. Although still small in numbers, the group plans to feature several events throughout the year one country at a time.

Saturday’s winning formula transforms Brazilian artistry into a hub of music, dance, and capoeira. Capping the cultural revelry is a festive meal of feijoada (traditional black bean stew), pão de queijo (cheese bread), and mouse do maracuja (passionfruit mousse).

Not everyone can hop a plane and fly to Brazil, however, organizers hope the event will give attendees a true depiction of the energy, community, and commitment that is possible to experience.

Los Rebeldes Musicales, a Jasper Place High School band, introduces the evening with a flamboyant demonstration of traditional samba and the more current lambada, a dance blending a series of Brazilian elements that was popularized across the Americas and Europe in 1989 and 1990.

“It’s a seven-piece band that is both instrumental and vocal. The lead singer is Cristina Ruiz. She will be teaching people a little samba and lambada,” Vargas noted.

Immediately following, Rodrigo Sosa, a trumpeter from El Salvador and his trio, delivers an instrumental taste of the bossa nova.

“He will show how the bossa nova influenced jazz. Now every jazz musician knows it and can play it.”

On stage next is Vargas, Alexa Leon, Carlos Alejandro Guichon, and Marcel Moraes, a quartet that also savours the bossa nova, but with a contemporary pop edge.

“We want to present a nice collage of how Brazilian music is evolving.”

One of the evening’s highlights is Mandakaru, led by notable band leader Marcel Moraes. Mandakaru was founded in 2015, Vargas said, by a few Brazilian musicians based in Edmonton. Their sole purpose was to play forró, traditional music from northeast Brazil, an area popularizing subtypes such as xote, baião, xaxado, and arrastapé.

“Forró is an interesting combination of samba and a little country. When you listen to it, it sounds like a two-step with samba. It’s a kind of folk music with lots of percussion. They use different metal triangles — small ones, big ones, thick ones, thin ones,” Vargas said.

The program also includes a demonstration of capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines music, dance, acrobatics, and complex maneuvers. Invented by Brazilian slaves, the once illegal marital art technique was disguised as dance and passed on from generation to generation in secrecy.

Chris Ruiz closes the evening with a dance demonstration.

“People really appreciate there is something going on in St. Albert that is here to stay. There are 21 Spanish-speaking countries in the world and we would like to continue featuring them.”

Brazilian Extravaganza runs from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm on May 28 at 20 Green Grove Dr. Tickets are $24.65 at

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