By: Jan Engoren Contributing Writer
“Bem-vindos e boa noite,” the announcer said from the stage: “Good evening and welcome.”
To the sound of samba and the rhythm of the drums, the Mizner Park Amphitheatre came alive on Sat. evening, Sept. 8, for the 7th Annual Brazilian Beat, celebrating Brazilian Independence Day.
Women in extravagant and ornate pink, orange and purple sequined costumes with large feathered headdresses danced a path through the enthusiastic crowd, Rio de Janeiro-style.
People danced and mingled, drinking day-glo caipirinhas, adorned in blue, yellow and green, the colors of the Brazilian flag and waving pocket-sized flags.
Highlighting the free, family event was Brazilian samba singer Diogo Nogueira, one of the biggest names in Brazilian music and winner of two Latin Grammy awards.
Opening for Nogueira was Forró Cravo & Canela, a pioneer in the Florida music scene, playing forró, a music and dance style typical of northeastern Brazil.
Sipping on frozen lemonade and enjoying the parade were Ukranian tourists Dr. Iryna Kravchuk, a learning specialist and her husband, Andriy Shcherbatyuk, an organizer of international professional checkers and chess tournaments.
In Boca for a month-long holiday, the couple saw the event listed on the city website and thought it would be a fun way to spend the evening.
“We came to celebrate the independence day of Brazil and to enjoy the music and parade,” says Shcherbatyuk.
Also enjoying the atmosphere were Brazilian-born and Boca Raton resident, Adriana Leme and her twin daughters, Chloe and Melanie, 10, both students at Somerset Academy.
Although Leme has lived in the US for more than 20 years, she enjoys coming out to the festival to see friends, listen to Brazilian music and get a taste of home.
“It feels familiar, but funny, as well,” she says. “Brazil has a very diverse population, so when I come here and see all these different Brazilians, it reminds me of home. I also enjoy the music, because usually I listen to American music, so this is an opportunity to hear live Brazilian music and singers.”
Local businesses turned out to promote their services, including the SambaLa Samba School in Pompano Beach, Professor Picapau of the Cia do Axe dance studio in Deerfield Beach which teaches zumba and capoeira, a Brazilian martial art and Paulo Amaral, playing the berimbau, a traditional Brazilian instrument used in capoeira music, which accompanies the sport.
“I love the City of Boca Raton,” says Picapau, gesturing around the amphitheater. “It’s family-oriented. You can come here with your children, enjoy the music and your friends and family. I love it.”
Visit Cia do Axe on Facebook or call: 954-657-3377. For other downtown Boca events, visit DowntownBoca.Org, or call 561-367-7070.