Get funky with SambaDa at the Blue Lamp

What happens when Brazilian samba, capoeira music, reggae, funk, jazz and hip-hop are combined into one energetic musical conglomeration? To satisfy your curiosity, check out the Blue Lamp Friday with SambaDa, a Santa Cruz band that has mastered the melding of genres.

SambaDa was created by Brazilian native Papiba Godinho. Godinho landed in Santa Cruz in 1992, where he founded a capoeira school. Capoeira is a non-violent, community-centered martial art that fuses music with movement. Band member Marcel Menard explains that the spirit of capoeira is a fundamental aspect to SambaDa’s music.

SambaDa originated in 1997 as a cover band playing popular Brazilian hits. After mastering the genre, the members of the band felt it was time to be further challenged while expanding their audience. They hooked up with three-time Grammy nominated producer, Greg Landau, who pushed them to explore other forms of music they were trained in. Menard describes their transition as “more fun, more work, more intense.”

The Band is comprised of two Brazilians, Godinho and Dandha Da Hora, who sing lead vocals, four Californians, saxophonist Anne Stafford, bassist Kevin Dorn, drummer Will Kahn and percussionist Marcel Menard, and a Midwesterner, drummer Gary Kehoe. Everyone sings back-up vocals.

All of SambaDa’s members are well versed in multiple instruments, yet their music is primarily driven by percussion. At a SambaDa show, you can expect to see around 15 different percussion instruments on stage, ranging from small drums, [omit comma] to huge bass drums to hand shakers.

SambaDa’s new album, to be released at the end of February, is titled “Gente,” which means people. The album’s theme is based on the breaking down of physical and mental borders. The band’s lyrics are primarily in Portuguese, and are focused on promoting messages of peace, community and respect for the environment.

SambaDa has toured and traveled up and down California, playing everywhere from small venues to major festivals, and has traveled to many festivals throughout the country. They had their first Brazilian tour this summer.

“It felt like a real homecoming…" Menard said in a phone interview. "It was amazing!”

If there is one thing you won’t be doing at a SambaDa show, it’s sitting in your seat. Powerful energy is a prerequisite for SambaDa members which inevitably comes through their music.

“From 3 years old to 85 years old, everyone at our shows dance," Menard said. “Our real mission is to get everyone to shake their butts.”

So go shake yours, Friday at the Blue Lamp at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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