(Photos by event photographer Liza Lemsatef Cunningham - photos and videos coming soon) The 2012 edition of the Brazilian Day has come and gone but it went way beyond expectations in terms of attendance and vibe (astral). It was truly the best of the local Brazilian community coming together to show it’s colors to the great city of Los Angeles. Brazilians are now part of LA’s international community and they certainly put their time, talent, money, and sweat and blood into what we consider to be the best Brazilian Day in LA ever. Estimates this year for attendance were more than double from last year and the organization, vendors, and entertainers bumped everything up a level.
The event started this year with a first for Los Angeles: A Cleansing of the Street (Lavagem da Rua) by Linda Yudin’s and Viver Brazil’s groups. This traditional ceremony from Bahia Brazil truly set this year’s “astral” (vibe) for the rest of day and it sure brought us luck and happieness. It also marked the first time the Brazilian Day in LA (BDLA) had entertainment every minute for the duration of six hours with the acts staying on time and giving their all.
Leading the event on stage was local personality, singer, composer, and astral guru Katia Moraes who was truly amazing in her guiding the event through the complicated and long day. There were 15 acts in all with four guest performers from Brazil, three of them making their debut in Fabio Keldani and his sister Karen as well as the Hip-Hop project, Brazil contingent. Tonho Materia headlined and was brought directly from Brazil for the event and rocked the crowd as the final performance. Local acts included the voice of Renni Flores accompanied by local Brazilian musicians, Katia Moraes, Brasilidade, Cupim do Samba, Raiz Brazil, SambaLeza Dancers by Valeria Ruggieri, Bodysport Capoeria, Amen Santos and Batuque Capoeira, Jander’s Amazonian dancers, the Sambarinhas, Viver Brazil, and DJ Izael.
Highlight of the Event
As always, the highlight of the event was SambaLa Samba Schools Rio-Style parade with the artistry of the international costume designer Doris de Hilster. Her costumes simply were jaw-dropping and the colors and designs showed all the pagentry of Rio de Janeiro’s grand carnavals. The parade featured singer Renni Flores singing her Samba Enredo she composed for SambaLa and the bateria was lead by Mestre Rodney de Assis who also served as stage manager. It was great to see so many friends, players, and directors playing with SambaLa again.
Food, Products, and Fun
Of course, shows are not the only thing that makes the BDLA unique. The BDLA is the only large outdoor event in Los Angeles exclusively focused on the Brazilian culture reflected in the fact that all food vendors were cooking Brazilian food with many other vendors selling Brazilian goods. The lines were long and did not stop all day and if you were thirsty, you even had a chance to drink some beer and Brazil’s national drink: the caipirinha.
Children were also treated to great fun in the big balls of Crazy Bubble (Brazilian owned of course) and the fun didn’t pause for a minute.
What Makes the Brazilian Day in LA Unique
Los Angeles’ version of the Brazilian Day is unique in several ways. One, it is in a beautiful park. With grass underneath your feet, trees, and a unique parading circle for parades, it is in many people’s opinions much better than a street festival. Second, it has a Rio-Style parade by a true samba school as an integral part of the event. Third, we are in the land of Hollywood, and no other Brazilian Day can make that claim.
Where to start? First to our sponsors who make this event happen. To the founders and major sponsor of the event, the Consulate General of Brazil in Los Angeles. They continue to trust our local community to put on a great and growing event and we hope we have done them proud. To Silvio’s BBQ who not only treat patrons to great food and drink, but who sponsor the event to help make it grow each year. To Copa Airlines for raffling off a round-trip ticket to Brazil to a lucky winner (the proceeds going to help children in Brazil) and being the official airline for the event and to South Winds Travel, our official travel agency. To California Steel, Contemporanea, Amazon Tur, WPS, Tommy Hilfiger, Samba Collection, SambaLa Samba School, Edu Remessas, and Rainbow Goodies who also contribute to the event. And to our many media sponsors including Soul Brasil, Soul Brazil TV, RioBela Productions, Brazilian Nites, KPFK, and the Brazilian Hour to name a few.
We want to thank the board of directors who have thrown their full support into the event with everyone having the vision of a Brazilian Day in L.A. as someday being one of the biggest on the planet – after all, we are in Hollywood.
First, thanks to all of you who attended. This year’s attendance was more than double last year so we must be doing something right and your patronage is greatly appreciated!
To all the members of SambaLa Samba School who work late nights on costumes, volunteer during the entire event, and who dance, and sing, and make music to make this event run smoothly, beautifully, and full of energy. To the local musicians who put in their time and efforts far beyond what is given normally. To the Brazilian artists who displayed their incredible work in the artists tent. To all the Brazilian vendors bringing the best of Brazilian products, arts, and services to the event. Special thanks to Valeria Ruggieri, Luzi Arnold, and Leila Furumasu who worked many months on the event.
But finally, there is special thanks to one person who without them, this event would not have been remotely possible. Doris de Hilster was the one who moved the food booths back, put the vendors on the right side across the oval to open up the event, and who tirelessly promoted the event getting about 4 hours of sleep a night for weeks on end while in the middle designing and working on costumes that she donates to the parade and event, especially the children. She was the one to get Tonho Materia and Fabio Keldani to the event, receiving them into her home and her heart as guests. Her enduring spirit, her positive vibe, her “toughness” when things have to be commanded, and her kind heart make this event go way beyond what it would be without her. We love you Doris and the entire Brazilian community here in Los Angeles and around the world are forever indebted to your service. You are one of a kind.
We have already been working on the 2013 version of the Brazilian Day in LA and the plans can be made in one word: BIG.
If you have a suggestion for the event, please send them to email@example.com. We will take a look at them all so don’t be shy!