Chicago’s World of Musicians–Chicago Samba’s Queen of Samba Contest


by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Borders

Chicago’s World of Musicians” is a new series of stories about Chicago musicians whose music is influenced by other cultures from around world. We’ll learn about the music they love to play; their backgrounds; struggles; and successes.
The series opens with upcoming show previews  for December.
This piece is cut from a longer article “Chicago’s World of Musicians Spice Up Winter”.
Tis the Season. In the winter, world music touring artists from overseas are almost as difficult to find performing in Chicago as the missing surveillance tape footage from Burger King during the shooting of Laquan Mcdonald.

Fortunately music lovers can still enjoy live shows from outstanding Mexican, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Indian musicians and others who call Chicago home.  December is a good time to catch Chicago stalwarts like Sones de Mexico, Chicago Samba and Funkadesi.  Bomba con Buya, Chinchano, Radio Free Honduras, Dos Santos Anti Beat Orquesta and Esso Afrojam Funkbeat are rising stars on the Chicago scene with live performances this month. Saturday Dec. 5. is literally crammed with great shows. Treat yourself to as much as possible.  After this weekend, with a few exceptions, live shows of this kind of music dwindle to a dribble for the rest  of December and much of January.

One of the We Want Music Without Borders Recommends for Dec. 5 is the Queen of Samba Contest with Chicago Samba.


QUEEN OF SAMBA DANCE CONTEST. The annual Queen of Samba Dance Contest hosted by Chicago Samba is always fun. For only $15 admission (Tickets here) it’s the closest thing to Rio on the frugal traveler’s budget. Chicago Samba, led by Mo Acyr, has entertained audiences with popular Brazilian music for over 25 years. I recall the thrill the first time I heard the bateria of Chicago Samba burst into playing the “Batucada” at the Hothouse 20 years ago. Batucada is a style of Samba with the emphasis on African based percussion played by a “bateria” (battery) of drums. I had only heard it on a record before and was overjoyed to dance Samba to a live band! In my recollection at the time, they were the ONLY band in town who played the “Batucada”. Although Chicago Samba plays many styles of popular Brazilian music–tonight in particular -they will be accompanying the ladies dance contest with the Batucada. Members of the band include Ben Lamar on Trumpet; Phil Gomez on keys,  Jo Raymond on bass, and a bunch of great percussionists: Chris Fabick, Matt Korajczyk, Heitor Garcia, Tommaso Moretti.  Special guest is singer Dill Costa with Dance lesson by Edilson Lima; Carnaval Costumes by Samba One and Brazilian Food by Sinhá.from 10 pm to 2:30 am at Logan Square Auditorium. Here’s a video from the 2014 year contest to get you in the mood for beautiful women competing to win the title of Queen of Samba.  Logan Square Auditorium 2539 N. Kedzie, Chicago, IL.

The Brazilan Cultural Center of Chicago and Gingarte Capoeira Chicago invite Brazilians and friends of Brazil to celebrate The National Samba Day on December 5, 2015 from 12:30 to 4:30 at their “Feijoada de Brazil” Tickets $15. Pagode Group – John Beard and Friends; Samba Workshop with Dill Costa; Capoeira Demonstration with Gingarte Capoeira Chicago

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Gail Dee is the creator of We Want Music Without Borders and a freelance journalist whose columns have appeared in;  Newcity music and other website and publications.

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