Lead Vocals, Guitar, Cavaco, Percussion
Born and raised in Brazilia, Brazil, Papiba landed in Santa Cruz in 1992. As well as teaching Capoeira and founding Raizes do Brasil Capoeira School, his musical talents and dedication to sharing Brazilian... read more
Dandha Da Hora
Lead Vocals, Percussion, Dance
Born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, Dandha has been a member of Ile Aiye, one of Brazil’s most important musical and cultural institutions, since she was 6 years old. She brings the incredible spirit of... read more
Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Vocals
Anne Stafford was born and raised in Sonoma County, CA. Anne first started playing saxophone in her Jr. High School Jazz Band, inspired by her teacher, the late jazz trumpet player Frederick J. Coleman.... read more
Drumset, Percussion, Vocals
Gary has been drumming at the forefront of world music in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area for decades and his experience and energy are a constant inspiration. Gary Kehoe was born and raised in Minnesota and... read more
Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, MPC, Percussion, Drumset, Vocals
Will Kahn was born and raised by the ocean in a Northern California artistic commuinty called Bolinas, which is maybe part of the reason he is such a unique person. He combines natural talent with an intense... read more
Marcel brings all the urban energy and inspiration of growing up in Los Angeles, Ca to his music. Marcel was born in Hollywood, Ca and studied music and art at the L.A. Co High School for Arts and continued... read more
The heart of our band is the drum”. Marcio Peeter, a percussionist from Ilê Aiyê, the group known worldwide as the creator of the unique rhythmic style Samba Afro, lends the expertise of his knowledge... read more
Wagner Santos Profeta
Wagner is recognized as an incredible percussionist. Born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, he began to play drums at 9 years old. Wagner studied percussion at the Ile Aiye Cultural Association. He learned to... read more
Bass and Percussion
Also born and raised in Southern CA, bassist Kevin “Pescador” Dorn is dedicated to the groove. Kevin’s love of music and passion for performing continually inspire SambaDá. In addition to the bass guitar,... read more
Brazilian Transplants in Unexpected Places: SambaDa Reveres and Reinvents Samba and Surf-Rock
Mon, Feb 1st 2010
There’s a beach where one sunny afternoon you may witness an offering to an Afro-Brazilian Orixa spirit of the ocean, the next day watch master capoeristas practicing Brazil’s martial art dance form, and still another day join a gathering of thousands of surfers-cum-dancers rocking out to hybrid musical sounds informed by bloco afro (Afro-Brazilian percussion music), samba-reggae, surf-rock, and California funk. No, these are not the shores of Bahia, Brazil. This is Santa Cruz, California, home of the surf-and-skate, capoeira-kicking, scene-busting phenomenon known as SambaDa. This smoldering and soldering band is a magnet of unexpected particles shaved from Brazilian and American sources. This community of people—their local fanbase and their Brazilian ancestors, their people—are honored in the title of SambaDa’s new album Gente! (February 23, 2010).
While SambaDa emerged from a Brazilian dance group, founder Papiba Godinho has not let his status of capoeira master dominate the band’s sound. Since the beginning, when some of his students started jamming on their evenings off, the motley members have always brought in their own styles and ideas. The new album features Dandha da Hora, a powerful singer steeped in the life and lessons of samba culture and the Brazilian black pride movement. When Dandha arrived in Santa Cruz, drawn by love from her home in the hills and shanties of Salvador, Brazil, she brought with her an ethos that charges the band’s music with an energy born of veneration. Every September, Dandha proceeds to the beach to lead the ritual in honor of Yemanja, the Yoruba Orixa of the ocean revered in Candomblé, her native religion. Here, the traditions of West Africa, carried halfway around the world, washed up in Santa Cruz like so much flotsam before finding a new home in the eclectic bricolage of SambaDá. One track on Gente!, “Mare,” contemplates the immensity of the ocean, how the rise and fall of the tides reflect our lives, and ends with an old Yoruba salutation to Yemanja. Yemanja takes the offering, but returns a gift in kind: driftwood from Brazil, still green at the core, takes root once again where the sand meets the hills. Dancing feet in a hundred-strong samba pat down the soil, and the strains of surf rock, alive and well, raise the tree up to be a new-culture organism, all Amazon jungle wood and funky Cali fruits.
But this is not the band’s only ritual. Guitarist and drum machine wizard Will Kahn likes to jump in the water between sets during SambaDá’s beachfront shows, which draw thousands of stomping, jumping fans. “The beach is really where our music is supposed to be,” he reflects. Will, who joined the band in its early days, is from Bolinas, that famously private hamlet in the hills near Santa Cruz. Growing up with artists, poets, and the intellectually curious, Will found it natural to mix music from around the tropical world, but mostly reggae, with the passionately laid-back culture of surfing. He is responsible for the tight, intense tsunami of a surf guitar that inflects SambaDa’s Afro-Brazilian dance tunes. That sound rides the crest of a tall wave until it crashes into a turbocharged Jamaican rhythm on “Iguana,” the first track, which also features band member Anne Stafford on saxophone. Anne’s klezmer music roots sidle up alongside the Middle Eastern inflections that Dick Dale first introduced into surf rock.
Papiba wrote “Iguana” a decade ago but revived it with the band’s fresh sound, now infused with new life and a surf-and-skate spirit. It is a fitting beginning to Gente!, an album that stands as the culmination of the band’s long evolution. Papiba, who originally came to America to study, found himself drawn to Santa Cruz by surf culture. There, he began teaching capoeira, which he began practicing when he was very young, growing up in the ultra-modern Brazilian capital of Brasilia, where Afro-Brazilian culture was ubiquitous. His teachers inspired him to show capoeira to the world. Today, four members of the band play capoeira. “Capoeira is my inspiration for everything in life,” says Papiba. “Everything I see.” This athletic awareness of the self and of the world epitomizes the jungle-cat spirit of SambaDa, whose music is always on a tightrope, reined in by an acrobat’s poise. This is the idea of the album’s second track, “Balançou.” In Portuguese, this is a special kind... read more