Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SambaFest kicks off at Riverfront Sat.

Alie Shreiber ’13, Staff Writer

The 6th annual Samba Fest will be taking place this coming Saturday, May 4. Professor Eric Galm started Samba Fest in 2007. He initially started the event with funds from a Mellon Global/Urban course redevelopment grant. The first Samba Fest featured performances by several Hartford-based musicians as well as the Trinity Samba Ensemble. In addition, Professor Galm collaborated with Trinity’s annual “Fun Fair,” a student-organized community outreach fair for area children. However, in recent years the event expanded its campus participation to include the Athletics Department, Multicultural Affairs, Cultural Houses, and Campus Life. Hartford community organizations also got involved, including: Our Piece of the Pie, Hartford Areas Rally Together, Hartford Department of Public Health, SINA, and The Hartford Public Library.

Professor Galm stated, “The Samba Fest is an important event for Trinity in the Greater Hartford area.  It brings together people from some of Hartford’s many cultural communities, including those from Brazil, Puerto Rico, The Caribbean, and Peru (an Afro-Peruvian dance group participated in last year’s festival).  The connecting thread is that these cultures bring together the African presence in the Americas, and it is here at the Samba Fest, where people can make connections that highlight similar modes of expression that have emerged in different locations and contexts over the centuries.”

The event has grown over the years. In 2007 the event attracted 300 students to Trinity College’s campus, but in 2012 it grew to 2,500 spectators. The event expanded its reach beyond the neighborhood surrounding Trinity when it moved to the Riverfront in 2011.

The schedule of events for Saturday includes a Trinity steel drum-making-workshop, parade and welcome speeches by President Jones and Ambassador Cézar Amaral from the Brazilian Consulate of Hartford, Guakibom Jazz Orchestra (directed by Ray González), De 4 Ahwee & Company Steel Band, Samba Dance Class with Ginga Brasileira, Ed Fast & Conga-Bop Latin Jazz, Dinho Nascimento and the Orquestra de Berimbaus from the Morro do Querosene, São Paulo, and a performance by the Trinity Samba Ensemble directed by Professor Galm, with special guest José Paulo.

Throughout the day there will be activity booths open, sponsored by Trinity Student and Community Organizations. The Trinity Student groups are being organized by the Annual Community Event Staff (ACES). Activities are run by Trinity students and they are still looking for students to staff activities booths, so interested students should contact Joe Barber (x4256 or joseph.barber@trincoll.edu). Examples of activities include face paint, temporary tattoos, and art projects.

When asked what role Trinity students play in this event he responded: “It is extremely important for Trinity students to help staff the activities and crafts tables, as well as attend the event, since this is an event that directly engages Trinity students with people  in the City of Hartford.  Many students have told me that they didn’t know what the Samba Fest was all about, but they said that it was one of their best experiences in Hartford — through interacting directly with children and families, experiencing dance workshops, and hearing a lot of great music in a live festival atmosphere, that is quite different from the typical rock concert.”

As a way of promoting the event there will be a live broadcast on Brazilians in Connecticut on WNPR’s “Where We Live” Thurs., May 2, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., featuring Professor Eric Galm, Brazilian Ambassador Cézar Amaral, and Connecticut Master Teaching Artist Efraim Silva. This program is produced by Brianna Gross ’13, and features music by Professor Galm with local artist José Paulo.

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