Estrela Brilhante

Yesterday I ventured out to photograph the Syracuse Peace Council’s march commemorating the US bombing of Hiroshima. This was a spectacular and moving piece of street theater, well executed by the veteran organizers. Unfortunately, as a photographer I felt a bit off my game, and didn’t feel as if I’d made many good pictures. That’s not what this story is about, however.

Just as this sombre event was wrapping up, we were surprised to hear a rising flood of raucous music with drums, whstles and a tropical Samba flavor. I followed the sound to catch the last moments of a few of the members of Brazillian Carnival band Estrela Brilhante blowing off some steam in an impromtu street performance before their scheduled recording session at Sub Cat Studios down the street. I tagged along with their surprise procession, to be rewarded with a fascinating view of the dancers and musicians shedding their elaborate costumes and relaxing a bit before they started recording. I tried unsuccessfully not to be too obtrusive with my camera & chatted with their very tolerant American tour manager, Anne Kogan, who told me that the whole group has more than 350 members, only a few of whom are traveling in the US. They are visiting from the town of Recise, where they practice a unique carnival tradition derived from ancient African roots. The group is actually known as a “Nation”, which is a sort of community, music and performance group all in one, led by the beautiful Queen and President Morizalda Dos Santos, shown in the photos wearing her spectacular red and white regalia. In addition to her role as the Nation’s leader, she is also in charge of hand sewing and decorating the entire troupe’s elaborate costumes. Their next stop is to play a free music festival this Saturday at the Silver Mine Art Center in New Cannaan, CT. at 3 PM. Their tour is a collaboration organized with Scott Kettner of the Brooklyn based band Nation Beat. More information about them and later tour dates are here: I’m not going to be able to make any of the performances, but at least I feel somewhat blessed by Saint Veronica for Tuesday’s encounter.

Posted by scoopneil

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