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I’ve made it my ongoing quest to expose my children to as many arts and cultural related events as humanly possible without breaking the budget. That, along with the fact that the mere words Samba Fogo gets my hips undulating and booty popping meant that I couldn’t miss “Espirito De Fofo” (Spirit of Fire) at the Rose Wagner Performing Art Center.


Samba Fogo is an insanely talented music and dance troupe under the choreographic direction of Lorin Hansen and musical direction of Mason Aeschbacher. Currently with 17 members in the performing group, they specialize in Fire Dancing, Brazilian Orixa Dance, Capoeira Brazilian, Afro-Brazilian Music, drumming and the Carnaval Samba.


Taking a 6-year-old to dance performance takes guts and a little insanity—will he sit through the performances, will he clap at the wrong times, will he spontaneously start making fart noises with his arm pit? But as the curtains came up and the drumming began I saw his eyes widen and his body freeze.


Samba Fogo exhibited anything from dances that made you feel like you where in the ocean, moving with the waves, to the Capoeira Benguela amazing displays of strength and poise. My son and I both sat in awe as a man walked across the stage on his hands—say nothing of the women who dances with fire. The performances were flawless, the energy was palpable. In a particular joyous time in one of the performances, I looked up to the balcony and saw audience members dancing against the railing.


Serious Props to Sara Caldiero-Oertli for designing the costumes for this program—each added the right touch, enhancing the movements and continuing the storytelling, evincing the streets of Carnaval, with feathers and high heels, to warrior wear. I felt myself drawn to the costumes and fascinated by how they helped convey the story. Her use of a blue and green wrap body suit informed me as much that I was watching the movement of grass as the dancers mesmerizing performance.


Vocalist Carla Jaynes’ energy was limitless, she belted out the songs, dancing and clapping, getting the entire audience involved. Musical Director and lead drummer Mason Aeschbacher conducted the audience in an impromptu beat box session that ended in collective sigh and the word “Boston.”
The evening had a magical, or some might say spiritual quality, which I believe was the purpose of inviting special guest Bábá Awóró Ösun. Ösun is a Chief Worshiper Priest of the Orixa Ösun. His presence was quiet, so I can’t say for sure what his purpose was but there was a beautiful peace in the room, and I believe he was their to help orchestrate that.


Over all I’d give the experience an A+. Will my son decide to practice Capoeira, or will he find his rythmn and start drumming? Who knows, but if he decides to, Samba Fogo teaches Brazilian Drum and Dance Summer Camps. However, he better get started soon, as Samba Fogo’s resident Samba Queen, Joana Santos of Sao Paulo Brazil, began dancing when she was only 8 years old.


Review by Mariah Mann Mellus [[email protected]]
April 29, 2013
Courtesy of SLUG Magazine: Original Article

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