Contingents San Francisco Carnaval 2006

by Jan McDermott

ACOAM Columbians
African Outlet
Asociacion Mayab
Baby Buggy Brigade
Banda Remelexo
Bay Area Boriquas
Bolivia Corazon
Bolivians of Southern California
Buena Vista School
California Soccer
Dancers of the Mystic Sun
Dykes on Bikes
Energia do Samba
El Tecolote
Fogo Na Roupa
Ginga Brazil, BrasArte
Grupo Aztlan
Guatemalteca Xelaju
Hot Pink Feathers & Blue Bone Express
James Lick Middle
Kip Farris Memorial
Latin American Workout
Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble
Loco Bloco
Maracatu Cazadero
Mas Makers Massive
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
Mission Housing
Mo' Love
Monroe Elementary
Morenada- Bolivia
Oya Nike
PFG Xelaju
Rara Tou Limen
Seven Seas
Super Sonic Samba
West Coast Lion Dance
3NI Productions


To quote the words of Portsha Jefferson, the director of Rara Tou Limen, " Each parade contingent is an artistic Carnaval street theater performance with it's own theme, cast of dancers/musicians and paraders, choreography, costumes, sets, props, float and sound system. A parade contingent creates a new theme for each annual Carnaval. To express this theme, a parade contingent builds a new float, choreographs new dances, writes and performs new music, designs, and creates new costumes, and more."
  is available on the internet; lots of the contingents will be doing shows at the 2 day festival as well. Look for the festival entertainment schedule on
One thing is worth mentioning: the contingents work very hard, and do a tremendous amount of good work, with very little support.
Contingents like Sistas-wit-Style, Mo' Love, Mas Makers, and Loco Bloco are working directly with today's kids; they are shaping tomorrow's world. Not everybody can join Carnaval in the street, but each and every one of us can support a contingent that is making positive changes. You can give money, or expertise, or whatever you think might help.
Other contingents are active all year, performing at venues all over
the city and beyond. Go to a performance, and return the love they will be giving you at the parade. Read on and you'll see what I mean.
2006 is a year of changes. Some of the older, venerable contingents are not appearing: Islands of Fire, Brazil Culture and Arts, Samba do Coracao, All Ah We, Dance Kaiso, Malcolm X Academy Polynesian, Spirit of Polynesia, and Pistahan Filipino, to name a few.
There are some very interesting combinations, too.

For instance, Maisa Duke's group Energia do Samba will be dancing to the rhythms of Jorge Alabe's new group Quilombo. Jorge's bateria will also be performing on stage in the Carnaval festival. This show will have the Quilombo samba bateria, and some dancers.

"Master drummer Jorge Alabe grew up immersed in the afro-Brazilian religious tradition -Candomblé - and in the rich musical culture of Brazil. He is an "Alabe" of the oldest Candomble house established by the Africans in Brazil -Casa Branca. The title of "Alabe" means that he has obtained the highest level in drumming and master of ceremony in the Candomble religion. This name is rarely bestowed on drummers unless they have been initiated, mastered and have years of experience in Candomblé rituals Since 1995 Jorge has conducted workshops on Candomblé and Samba in USA. He leads student groups held in New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Austin, San Antonio TX among others.",  ---

Maisa was born in the Americas' capital of the African Diaspora, Salvador, Bahia Brazil. While most people are familiar with the Rio style of Samba, Maisa demonstrates a more playful and joyful samba, without the lyrics found in Rio that tend to be serious social commentary. As far as she can remember, dancing is what she enjoyed most. Maisa started entering and winning dance contests when she was ten years old. Her ability to move her perfectly toned body to the complex, frenetic polyrhythmic beating of samba music is wonderful to see.The name Energia do Samba (The Energy of Samba) was chosen by Maisa because it is the positive energy of Samba, that she believes is the essence of Samba. Energia do Samba's dancing is the embodiment of that energy. Energia do Samba's goal is to promote and share Brazilian culture and carnaval through music, dance and colorful costumes. The dance ensemble consists of 6 experienced dancers as well as live musicians. They have performed at a variety of different venues, and bring explosive energy to the dance floor. Come and experience the spirit of Brazil and enjoy life with Maisa! She also teaches samba in San Francisco.
And in Maisa's words,

"We are looking forward to see everybody again.
Let’s join for the spirit of Carnaval,

where all the people from
different background and ages are welcome.
Like we say in Brazil: Just SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE it."

Click the bunda to your right to SHAKE, and also see the most popular movie in the image server.
Maisa was Queen of Carnaval in 2002, which, like current reigning King Luis was her 3rd attempt 

Another combination is El Tecolote with Academicos da Estrada Real. Academicos' Josephine Morada-Ortiz has choreographed a great routine and will teach the classes. Josephine’s involvement with Brazilian music and dance began in 1980. She has studied in Rio de Janeiro with many masters of dance and drumming. She is the co-founder of Escola Nova de Samba. In 1999 the Escola became Academicos da Estrada Real. The bateria is directed by Rudy Ortiz, who began with Batucaje, one of the first SF Carnaval Brasilian parade contingents. He has studied with Capoeira master Bira Ameida and Afro-Brasilian folkloric specialist Jorge Alabe. He joined Escola Nova de Samba in the early 1980s, becoming the Music Director in 1996. Rudy is the co-director of Academicos da Estrada Real with Josephine.

Oya Nike, Ruben Texidor's contingent, honors an Orisha every year, and in 2006, it will be Ogun.

"Ogun is the God of War, Energy and Metal
Ogun keeps matter in motion
Ogun is the sustainer of life

Ogun lives in the knife, and with it, clears a path for man. Ogun is the force within your computer. Ogun is technology.
Ogun is the force of gravity, the force of attraction.
Ogun represents the tools that shape man, bringing out a person's potential, enhancing one's life.
Ogun controles life and death. Ogun is our heart beat and the final contraction during birth. Ogun is auto accidents and gun wounds.
Ogun is the warrior, hunter and farmer.
Ogun is the God of loyalty and life long friendships.
Ogun is the master of secrets, skills, crafts, professions and creations."


Oya Nike is joining with the famous group that leads the Pride Parade: Dykes on Bikes, who have been in existence since 1976. It's an honor to have such a group with us for the first time! Ruben is also including a 25 piece brass band, and children from a school. And knowing Ruben, there is probably another surprise or two, up his sleeve.




  Debuting in the 2006 Carnaval Parade
Some contingents are making their appearance for the first time.
Among them is Maracatu Nação Casa Real Cazadero, organized by Beto Guimarães, and Derek Wright. Derek is the director of Bateria Lucha (an Oakland-based Brazilian percussion ensemble)
Beto is one of the principal dancers of Ginga Brazil, originally from Olinda (one of the cultural capitals of Pernambuco). He is also an afro-brazilian dance instructor and key member of the dance faculty at the California Brazil Camp. They are presenting the music and dance of Maracatu. This extremely funky and joyous rhythm has been used for hundreds of years during Carnaval in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco to mock the colonial royal court, to honor the Orixas, and to celebrate emancipation. The dance movements enact the coronation of the King of Congo, to respect theDownload African heritage of the inhabitants of Pernambuco. However, the coronation is done in a style mocking the pomp and self-importance of the Portuguese royal court. Additionally, the dance is used to honor the Orixas, drawing from elements of Candomble dance and other Afro-Brazilian dance forms related to the Orixas. Finally, the dance movements represent the waves of the ocean. Waves are very important symbols in maracatu, both in the dance and in the song lyrics. Olinda and Recife are both coastal cities, and the Africans who were enslaved andDownload brought to Pernambuco spent months aboard slave ships, being subjected to the transatlantic voyage against their will. (The tradition goes back to the 17th century, according to "We'll also be performing all spring to spread interest in Maracatu and other rhythms from Pernambuco and Brazil such as Afoxé (also known as Ijexá)."

Debuting in the 2006 Carnaval Parade
Kip Farris Memorial Dream, "Angels and  Demons at Play" is a tribute to artist and parade float designer Kip Farris [1944-2005]. The contingent leader, Mondo Jud Hart, says "between 1984 and February 2003, in Denver, San Francisco, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, I built hundreds of parade floats with Kip Farris. We worked with crews of 5-20 people depending on the number of floats, and the budget. He started 'The Float Works' in 1983 in Denver - our hometown. We were friends and collaborators for thirty plus years. Kip was 'The Floatmeister'. I still feel we built some of the best floats ever for San Francisco Carnaval; especially between 1991-1997. Adding their considerable charisma to the contingent will be Carnaval's original King and Queen, Michael Jenkins, and Sweetwyne Barrow." who still believe the the Kip Farris-designed float for Michael and Sweetwyne,  a beautiful double-long, golden float "pulled"by giant bronze horses was Kip's best Royal carriage ever. Kip's contingent, Batu Pitu is semi-legendary, as is Kip's sometime curmudgeonly personality. All to say, this will be my first time as a contingent leader[on top of designing & building the float as shown at the website]. If things go well, I'm considering doing something annually for SF Carnaval centered around float building [+ contingent], inspired by Kip Farris' 'The Float Works'." For now - it's just a twinkle in his eye. Stay tuned!
Carnaval veteran Louise Joanes, often found performing with Fogo na Roupa has stepped up to become both dance and bateria director. She will be assisted by teachers Ann Miller [art], and Diana Gutierrez [dance] from James Denman Middle School cultural arts program 

Debuting in the 2006 Carnaval Parade Mission Arts & Performance Project "is a collaboration between visual artists, musicians, poets and performers. The MAPP puts art and performance on the street level by using alternative spaces such as private garages, basements, and studios. It’s a block party of the arts for inspiring in ourselves, and others, the desire for a creative existence, an ever widening experience of life. By transforming garages and backyards into mini-galleries, MAPP shows how ordinary spaces can be made extra-ordinary to bring people together to share in a diverse experience of fine art and performance. The garages, as they are unpretentious and open to the street, pose the possibility of exposing the arts to a lot of folks who might not ever enter a gallery or theater. This process helps take the art from the margins of our communities to where it may come to be more widely seen and understood as a vibrant and vital force necessary to the health of our society." Having read that, I bet you wonder how they will transform themselves into contingent #59. I do too! The sky's the limit. 

Debuting in the 2006 Carnaval ParadeMission Housing Development Corporation has been in Carnaval twice before, but not since the early 80's. Welcome back!!
They will be expressing the power of music and dance to revive the human spirit, the Phoenix rising from ashes. "Rebirth and Resilience in the Wake of Tragedy", a particularly germane topic since this is the centennial of the great earthquake of "06. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is struggling to rebuild. Their own project is Valencia Gardens, a symbol of renewal to the Mission Community. Their participation in Carnaval is the kick-off event to celebrate the re-opening of Valencia Garden, of renewal for returning families and new beginnings for new tenants. As part of their theme of renewal,[Valencia Gardens for example], they are using a lovely butterfly motif and the flame colors of the Phoenix. 
The illustrious Ramon Ramos Alayo is the director of dance; the choreography will be influenced by the traditions of the east coast of Cuba. This includes the practice of interaction between the musicians and dancers, with the musicians circulating among the dancers during the parade. Costumes will be red, signifying flames, and white and green signifying renewal and growth after destruction.

Mas Makers Massive, one of the original Carnaval contingents, is directed by Stephen Tiffenson, who gives 110% to his contingent. He works hand in hand with the project director, Colleen Tiffenson. Stephen keeps it authentic, so that the community can experience MasMakers16.jpgthe rich culture of Trinidad and Tobago. He points out that Carnival is an all-year endeavor. A theme must be chosen after careful research; costumes designed and built, float designed and built, budget calculated, music organized; all this takes time and skill. Everyone has to come together, and at Mas Makers, everyone does. One of the things I admire the most, is the degree of commitment to the youth of Oakland. Through various schools, they nurture their cultural needs, and keep the carnival legacy alive. Their efforts have been important to huge numbers of individual children over the years. As a matter of fact Sistas-wit-Style, started here.
Every year, Mas Makers features a different aspect of Carnival. This year, the focus is on traditional characters, "Canboulay" costumes, drawing on the historical confrontation by former slaves and colonial authorities that defined the turbulent origins of Carnival in Trinidad. These characters include stick fighters, Jamette, Baby Doll, white elite who dressed as their slaves, and freed slaves depicting costumes that mocked their former owners. The music, by JMC 3veni direct from Trinidad, is associated with Chutney Soca, which is a blend of calypso and rhythm & blues, played on East Indian instruments. They are having a big calypso competition and Fete presenting JMC 3veni at 525 Harrison St, San Francisco on Saturday, May 27; all are invited. 

Mo' Love of Steelband Oakland is committed to building self esteem through music, dance and art; developing and enriching Oakland's youth. La Mantia, the director, is someone who walks the walk. This year, she says, "Shaka Zulu, native New Orleans STILTWALKER will be joinin' us in da' road! 12' tall!" Wilfred Mark, director of Dance Kaiso, will also be joining this year.
The costume is Sailor, which is a traditional character in Trinidad. Sailor bands use the basic white sailor outfit as a canvas on which to paint/ design any thought or feeling.Whether playing Admiral or swab or fantasy sailor- all are free to express themselves. Also, these sailors may encounter others in their travels to diverse cultures: princess from Siam or China, maybe pirates...

Sambão Para o Povo This year will mark their 14th year, as they celebrate their 2006 theme "Carnaval é um Sonho Real - Carnaval is a Dream Come True". Sambão honors the carnaval traditions of
Sambao04.jpgRio de Janeiro and Salvador Bahia, Brazil, Original choreography will be presented, however, the traditional and ancient movement known as "SAMBA" is always featured. Costumes will include flying fairies, fairy godmothers, forest beings, and a Bateria of warriors. Silicon Valley's Samba School is dedicated to community participation. Sambão consists of many dancers and musicians that perform the traditional Brazilian inspired movements and percussive sounds.


SambAsia is the only samba school of its kind integrating Brazilian Samba and Japanese Taiko percussion with Japanese Folk and Modern Dance. This year, they are adding Samba Bahia carnaval music and dance, and Korean Pung'mul, whose drummers dance while they play. They have been top prize winners in the 3 years of participation in Carnaval San Francisco's Grand Parade.
The SambAsia colors, red and yellow/gold, represent the colors of Chango and Osum, are also associated with the Chinese Five Elements, and signify good fortune and positive energy in many Asian communities. SambAsia functions as a community music and dance ensemble that acts as a real means of building cultural bridges between the many diverse communities of the Bay Area across

 generational lines. Escola de SambAsia is modeled after the samba school community ensembles of Rio de Janeiro. The escolas are the centerpiece of the neighborhood community and serve as the hub of social activity representing strong neighborhood pride, support and commitment in the face of economic and socio-political hardship.
Jimmy Biala, the director, says this: "Carnaval represents the pinnacle of our annual performing season. We bring all of our different dance and music sections into one place to celebrate our hard work and life together. I feel the San Francisco Carnaval is a very unique blessing to the communities here in San Francisco and to the Bay Area and beyond. In turn I am very proud for all that SambAsia brings to the San Francisco Carnaval. People are very receptive to our ensemble and recognize SambAsia is something very unique in combining Brazilian music and dance traditions with the folk and festival music and dance traditions of Asia. I really do not think there is an ensemble like ours anywhere in the world!"
Jimmy started playing drums when he was seven years old. He played mostly jazz and popular music on drum set until at age 30 he decided to start studying Cuban music. He went to Cuba to study at the University of Matanzas with master musicians and dancers there, and that experience opened new doors for him in terms of wanting to study more and more. Eventually he made his way to Brasil. He studied in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Bahia and also went researching to meet a Taiko sensei (teacher) in Sao Paulo. He has also studied the Kulintang gong music of the Phillipines and the music of the Ewe people of Ghana, Taiko drumming of Japan and Pung'mul drumming from Korea. At present, he has started a teaching residency in Taiwan. He has started establishing a sister SambAsia escola in Shijhih City, Taiwan. Jimmy will be in Taiwan again from June 2006 to January 2007 working hard to bring a contingent of drummers and dancers from there to the 2007 San Francisco Carnaval. Everyday he is inspired by all of what he's learned from his teachers and students from all parts of the world that he has been. He hopes to continue to respectfully bring all of their blessings to the community and to the San Francisco Carnaval for many years.

Jaime Martinez' Latin American Workout is going to showcase The City By The Bay with the skyline of SF. There will be people dancing in beautiful gold, red and white costumes. Jaime is one of our cherished Kings of Carnaval, and he appreciates the artistry of Carnaval. When he envisions something, he wants to make it exactly the way he sees it, to achieve his dream. He's a perfectionist. It gives him motivation; he creates. He expresses an idea and puts it together. It's good to spend energy on that. He pioneered the concept of exercising to Latin rhythms. He is the owner of Latin American Workout, and is celebrating its 16th year. If you want a good, fun workout, to absolutely "off the hook" music, join his classes. Besides LAW, he teaches Salsa and Merengue at Mission Cultural Center.
Growing up in El Salvador, he talks about a famous carnaval in San Miguel. "Everything is equal in Carnaval. On this occasion there is no difference between rich and poor. The streets are for everybody. Carnaval is not just bikinis and feathers. It is a cultural event. It promotes enjoying your life, and having fun. It's a family affair." Carnaval has changed his life by allowing him to express his creative side. Although he has a dance company, he doesn't do too many shows. His big event is Carnaval. The shock comes at the end; all that work, effort, realizing the dream, and then it ends so quickly!

Fogo Na Roupa has been a major Carnaval Grand Prize Winner and has received awards in numerous parades over the past 17 years, including San Francisco's Chinese New Year and Cinco de Mayo Parades. Fogo Na Roupa means "Clothes On Fire", and it is symbolic of the hot energy generated by the innovative rhythms and infectious dance moves. Fogo Na Roupa strives to combine the photos/10pics/giant92.jpg community's raw spirit with the technical expertise of its Founder and Artistic Director, Carlos Aceituno. As Artistic Director, Carlos shares with the group his substantial experience in the areas of music, dance and performance, including Latin, Afro-Brazilian, Jazz, Modern, and African. He also teaches Capoeira, and includes this art in many of Fogo's shows. Last year, when I congratulated him on winning the Carnaval San Francisco Grand Prize, I asked him about it. He said that although he is the director, he's learned to let go and allow other people to display their own talents in their own ways. What he does is put it all together and make it greater than the sum of its parts. That's part of his brilliance.
Regina Calloway brings to Fogo a unique history of research and expertise in African dance and drum culture. She a director, coordinator, scholar, and instructor.
Member of Fogo are encouraged to train and educate themselves in Brazilian culture. Yearly study tours to Brazil are very popular as a way to immerse themselves in the culture, music, and dance. Fogo offers classes almost every day of the year, and as soon as Carnaval is over, Fogo starts practicing for the next one; the fire never goes out!  [Click YuYi to go YaYa]
Fogo na Roupa 2006 by
 Sarah Breed

There will be a group representing the California Soccer Association North, which is "the administrative body overseeing all affiliated adult soccer leagues in Northern California, affiliated to USASA, USSF, and FIFA. CSA-N was established in 1902 and has served the adult soccer community continuously since then, through both world wars and through both "police actions". CSA-N has approximately 18,000 members. We provide the adult soccer community with team and player registration, coaching instruction and instruction of referees." They will be joined by Mission High School.

Tales of the Seven Seas is a "merry band o' sea wretches....loathesome pirates, swashbucklers and buccaneers" who show up, complete with ship, every year.

Super Sonic Samba School The Super Sonic Samba School was founded in San Diego, California in 1990. The group plays traditional Samba rhythms of Brazil, featuring live percussionists and dancers. The Super Sonic Samba School performs a range of styles: from the Rio de Janeiro carnaval marching drums of Samba Enredo, to the jamming Samba Reggae of and the northeast. They have joined us here in San Francisco for many years.
Super Sonic's website,  gets the prize for the most amusing ad for their CD:
· Are you tired of having a dozen percussionists in your living room every night, just so you can listen to great samba music?
· Are you tired of having to explain the thunderous drums and flashy outfits to the police at your door over and over?

Now, through the miracle of modern technology, you too can enjoy the samba, and still have food in your pantry the next morning.
West Coast Lion Dance Troupe, Located in Daly City, was formed in 1988. They will be adding their visual and auditory excitement to the Grand Parade again this year. The main goal of the West Coast Lion Dance Troupe is to pass on the traditional art of Chinese lion dancing, along with the culture and customs that makes up lion dancing. Although more is lost with each generation, we must remember that the youth of today are going to be the adults of tomorrow. It is a duty of the lion dance troupe to keep this part of the Chinese culture alive so it will not be lost to the future. The main goal of the West Coast Lion Dance Troupe is to see that this particular tradition and subculture thrives, because if we do not, then who will? Lion dancing helps self-esteem and allows pride in heritage. The current age range of the West Coast Lion Dance Troupe is 5 years old and up.

3NI Productions, based on the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, was formed in 2001 to enhance LA Carnival. Each year, they produce new costumes with a King and Queen (large pieces), and this year, they will join us for the third time, bringing dozens of Caribbean dancers. The theme is "in Olden Days of Magic," and the Queen will wear white, symbol of Benevolent magic, while the King will symbolize black magic. The costumes are in the style of the olden days. Music is recorded.
They have free-spirited dancing after a 2-minute choreography piece. The choreography draws on the Kumina traditions of Jamaica. According to Kesi Asher of the Jamaica Gleaner, "Kumina features flat-footed inching of the feet (or the kongo step), a steady, but often subtle, forward-thrusting of the hip with the rib cage and arms moving against the hip, followed by wild spins and sudden breaks, signaled by the lead drum. The dominant elements of kumina are dance, music, spirit possession, healing and the use of herbs. The drums used in the dance are the kbandu, which provides the basic rhythms, and playing cast, the lead drum. These go together with candles, graters, shakas and catta sticks, played on the back of the drum. There are Congolese words in some of the kumina songs performed in Jamaica."

The African Outlet, located at 524 Octavia, celebrates the 9th year of participation in Carnaval SF. The store has a wonderful and authentic collection of African items and ambience. They will be playing lively West African recorded music, and also have a contingent of drummers, Igba Muo, and children dancers, Bama-ya Kongo. Children from Kipp Bayview Charter Academy will also be joining African Outlet. Leading the contingent are the Ancestors, making the connection between the spiritual world and the present time. Anyone who has seen these entities will realize that they are much more than just a person wearing a costume. They are unforgettable spirits, and for me personally, one of the high points of the parade.
It takes a village to raise a child-- to support each youth in confronting his/her dreams, whether they be confusing, enlightening or prophetic. The Spirits enable the dreams; the village, guided by its ancestors, enable the youth to find their paths from dream to reality.
The costumes you will see on the street reflect the role of those who are responsible for guiding a child through his dreams: the elders, kin, the ancestors, native doctors, and protective spirits. The foundations for the choreography lies in traditions rooted in Ghana, Nigeria, and Congo.
The African Outlet had paraded with Oya Nike and the Dancers of the Mystic Sun, , for many years, and this will be the first year they appear on their own.

Asociacion Mayab organized their first contingent of Yucatec Maya in 2005 with El Tecolote. The community was so excited to participate, that planning began for a solo contingent, this time with a float, traditional music and dance. The float is a replica of the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan. The children, wearing traditional Mayan dress, will be dancing the Jarana. This dance has roots in Spanish, Maya, Cuban, and Colombian music and illustrates the fusion of old and new world culture. Their theme is "Remembering our Past and Living our Present".

Association of Colombian Americans--ACOAM,  is ready to salute and show proudly their heritage and African roots, as seen through rhythm, dance and joyfulness. The Carnaval in Colombia dates back nearly 400 years, and became an official event some 150 years ago, according to an article in the Boston Globe. When you see this contingent, you will feel the magnitude of these years of history.  The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Aluna ( ) is playing live music: cumbia, garabato, porro and vallenato. This will be the 4th year for ACOAM in our Carnaval, and they not only have become an important presence in the King & Queen Contest (held annually in April), but also, the spontaneous outburst of beautiful music that occurred at the 2005 K&Q will always be remembered. True carnaval spirit!
The Colombians are doing something really fun with their float!  It represents that archetype of transport in latin america [and probably the rest of the third world], the bus retired from duty elsewhere [probably as a school bus in the U.S.], now transporting people, livestock, farm goods, etc. in rural areas. The Colombianos call it a "Chiva"
ACOAM is aware of the diversity of cultures in Colombia, and strives for the unity and integration of the Colombian community.

Aquarela Brazilian Dance Ensemble has as its theme: "Era Uma Vez....", combining imagination and storytelling with passion and excitement. They plan to bring legendary characters to life with the rich traditions of Brazilian samba music and dance.
Maria Souza, Aquarela's director, first experienced Carnaval in her home town in Minas Gerais, Brazil, when she was 8 years old. That was a great experience, all family; cousins, brothers, mom, and she was dressed in a blue costume with glitter and sequins on the skirt.

Come parade with the Award winning Aquarela Samba School and
Carnaval Queens
Micaela (2004),
 Iya (2003),
Silvana (1996) & Maria (1995) &
King Carlos (2000)!

 The music was called "Marcha". It had lots of instruments like flute, saxaphone, and trombone. Nowadays her favorite part of Carnaval isn't just the parade. It's getting ready. Thinking about the costume design, concentrating, getting excited. Rehearsals. Waiting for the parade to start. Then, dancing for the whole thing! Even with the inevitable problems, it's as though nothing happened; only fun. So enjoyable, but over too soon.
She feels that her contingent is very professional, but at the same time, it's like an extended family. The daughters and sons of the contingent have become participants, and bring that youthful excitement every year. Her focus is to do her thing, make her people happy, and make their dreams come true. She shows San Francisco what the true Rio de Janeiro has about Carnaval. It's an authentic experience including the float, the music, and dance routine. Maria herself is not only is one of the Carnaval Queens, but she has the most Queens and Kings of Carnaval in her contingent. It is the Royal Family. 

Baby Buggy Brigade was created by two Carnaval veterans that did not want to give up Carnaval after they started their families. Artistic Director Milanda Moore (a Carnaval Queen) and Designer Nancy Sabin-Hinds continue the tradition with their children. They started in 2002, and want people to know that Carnaval is a family tradition that is passed down from generation to generation. The group will be joining Grand Marshall Dora the Explorer this year.


Don't let the parade pass you by this year
Dandara and Tambores do Brasil the hardest working gal on the streets of San Francisco

Ginga Brazil, BrasArte, Conceição Damasceno's contingent, has been a participant for many years. Brasarte is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the traditional dance and music of Brazil and to developing opportunities for cultural exchange between dancers and musicians of all ages from Brazil and theUnited States. Conceição is a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer, and the founder and president. Over the years she has been instrumental in bringing top talent to the Bay Area. Classes are taught at World Dance Center in Berkeley.

MaraReggae is an award-winning contingent going on its 11th year. The theme is this: "Each one of us is born into this world with a divine mission. The soul is the inner fire that gives us warmth both to our worlds and to our hearts. It is a creative power, a passion and a guiding force. Our presentation honors the 'Sacred Fire' in all of us and the passions and dreams of our childhood." The band MaraReggae has created a universal style of World music, where everyone, young and old, can beCome join us for Carnaval 2006! inspired to dance and express themselves.
The music is directed by Brazil-born Wilson Low, and can be described as a magical blending of Brazilian roots with jazz, funk and “a whole-lot-of-soul.”Songs are original compositions, and traditional Brazilian music is performed in Portuguese and English. Mestre Low has also created capoeira/dance programs for Children in public and private schools throughout the Bay Area. His special mission is working with children of all ages to learn the beauty, discipline and cultural respect and traditions of Brazilian capoeira. He describes the various types of Carnaval in Brazil. One kind is in the streets. It's so wild, that it would never happen here in the USA; the laws here would never allow it. People hang off trucks and busses. They throw water at each other, paint their skin, go with few clothes, honk, walk around with drinks all day long, make fun of famous people, and even cross-dress. Another kind is a parade. People pay to watch; it's a show. An example of this is the Sambodromo in Rio. The third kind is inside a club. It's an all-night affair. People come in bikinis, and act sexy and crazy.There is even a fourth kind, in smaller cities; different again.
Rhonda Stagnaro Low, artistic director, has had a passion for Brazilian dance and music since 1986. She has studied, performed and taught for 20 years. Rhonda feels that Carnaval changes the individuals who participate. There is a challenge to be creative, and she meets that challenge head on. Over the course of each year, she envisions and brings a new vision to San Francisco. As the years have gone by, there is a real progression of her themes. "We are movement!" At the beginning of the season, people in MaraReggae draw a card. Each character is developed. The innovative spirit permeates every participant.
Rhonda and Wilson look forward to sharing their community and energy with the people of San Francisco, and say: Don't let the parade pass you by!!!!

Banda Remelexo was started in 2004 by Julio Remelexo. Originally from Salvador, Brazil; his mother was a singer of the group, Ile Aiye. By the time he was 17, he was a percussionist with Banda Aiye, and in the ensuing years, toured Brazil, Europe and the United States with them. Invited to the US on a cultural exchange by Brasarte, JulioDownload taught workshops, and subsequently created a new band of women playing percussion, Grupo Remelexo. With this group, Julio Remelexo is presenting the heart of the afro-based groups of Brazil to us. He is the singer, percussionist, composer, and director. The music, Brazilian traditional and popular, is about the state of the world today and the hope for peace.
They perform every 3rd Thursday at Club Lamia, 3910 Geary Blvd. Not only does their sound rock, but also the visual show: the drummers dance as well!

Rara Tou Limen, named after Rara, a musical band on foot, a moving community festival and celebration of Haitian pride; Limen - [lee-may] means light, bright, to shine; under the direction of Portsha Jefferson, is a Karnaval group proudly entering its second year of representing Haiti in San Francisco's Carnaval festivities. "In the Spirit of our Ancestors" Rebirth, Rebuild, Reconnect.

Portsha Jefferson

This year we are dedicating our piece to the Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans by having a Mardi Gras style presentation with a Haitian twist, by also honoring Gede. The Gede family, spiritual entities of life and death in the Haitian Vodun tradition, play a vital role in the life of the people and also represent a crucial link to the ancestors. The colors are black, purple, and white or silver. The orchestra consists of goat skin drums, bamboo tubes, metal horns, bells, whistles, conch shells, and tcha-tchas, accompanied by festive songs paying tribute to Gede and all of our ancestral spirits.
"We invite you to join is in the upcoming festivities!! Master Dance Classes by special guest teachers from NYC! Nadia Dieudonne & Peniel Guerrier May 25 Oakland, May 26 San Francisco. Also a benefit party featuring DJ Panama. May 26th" Please check the website for details
Rara Tou Limen's advisor, Blanche Brown, will be choreographing a section. As far as choreography, she's brilliant. She believes that short and simple is better; otherwise, you will get tired, and you will forget the steps. If it's simple, it's possible to play with the audience. "When you dance," she says, " you don't just dance for yourself, but for everybody else too. That's part of Haitian culture."
She focuses on spaces, and tries to convey strong emotion. She always moves in a forward direction. She allows improvisation in her choreography, and believe me, that makes it fun. Even if you don't know how to improvise, it's constantly amusing to watch the antics of those who do.
The last year that I participated in her group, she had 3 signals. One whistle blow was the slow choreography. Two whistles was the dancing while not moving forward, and there was lots of interaction with the audience, and 3 whistles was for the faster clip. There was no rushing, and no standing around. No matter what our speed, we were looking good! It was no trouble to keep up, and the variation in tempo made it interesting.

Bay Area Boriquas will present Bomba, a traditional form of Puerto Rican dance that has been passed on from generation to generation. It is improvisational; the dancer, surrounded by all the other dancers
Downloadand drummers in a traditional circle, will make moves that are marked, or sounded by the drum designated to do that. Meanwhile there is call and response singing, which interrelates with the dancing and drumming. It is the opposite of the way dancing is usually done. Rather than hearing and responding to the beat, the dancer directs the drummer, and the drummer hears it and executes it.
Their theme is "Unity Across Generations".. 

Proyeccion Folklorica Guatemalteca Xelaju is a group which was created with the idea of promoting and showing Guatemala's culture and traditions through dance. They represent the Maya/ Quiche culture of native people of Guatemala. The costumes are handmade, and take 3-6 months to finish one. They are made of bright colors, each color represents a different town. Along with their stunning costumes, is live Marimba music.
Besides Carnaval San Francisco, they perform their folkloric dances at schools, churches, festivals and other events. PFG Xelaju does charitable works all year around. They give to the community, in the name of Jesus. Presently, they are in the process of raising money for people in Guatemala who lost their homes in the hurricane last year, and are still homeless. They work with Habitat, and donate their time to help. Oscar Gonzalez, who is the director of the Guatemalan group PFG Xelaju, never participated in Carnaval until his performing group was invited to join us a few years ago. He likes everything about Carnaval: the meetings, the opportunity to help out, and especially the parade itself. "I hope everybody has as much fun as we do", he says. He appreciates all the work done by the Carnaval committees and volunteers who make it happen. He volunteers at a school in San Mateo. His motto? Never say No.

Quimbanda Grupo Carnavalesco was founded in 2002 by MasterQuimbanda05.jpg Percussionist and Brazilian native, Gamo Da Paz. As the Director of Quimbanda, Gamo created the first all-women Brazilian Drumming Ensemble or Bateria, which now includes men as well. Their music is incredible! This year, Quimbanda will pay homage to Obatala/ Oshala, the king of all Orishas, whose followers are considered his children. Because this year's Carnaval theme refers to children, Quimbanda finds it fitting to incorporate many children in its group of paraders as representations of followers of Obatala. Costumes and float will be white and silver, representing purity, cleanliness and peace.

Hot Pink Feathers & Blue Bone Express is a combination performing group with brass band. In February of 2005, Hot Pink Feathers, which does samba, cabaret, and burlesque, combined with Blue Bone Express, a Brass Band directed by Jara Queeto, that plays New Orleans style music, to appear in Carnaval San Francisco. "We bring a different esthetic; New Orleans Jazz, Samba and Cabaret together. For instance, one of the choreographies this year is a New Orleans jazz band rendition of a Venezuelan folk song, in an Eastern European gypsy band arrangement. We are a band of CarnavalDownload Pirates and Gypsies who have gathered together as we have traveled the globe on land and the high seas." Their inspiration is from folk dances from all the countries, especially Latin America. Kelly (Kellita) Garton, the Artistic Director has appeared in Carnaval San Francisco with various samba groups, and the very first time she experienced it, in 1997, she was hooked. "I live for this!" she says. The street filled with people parading, dancing and marching joyfully! Color, exuberance: all this counteracts the images of doom and violence that people today face, day in and day out. It can be life-changing.
Sunday May 14, they invite everyone to a fundraiser; see the info at 

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts presents "the dream of the jaguar", and in keeping with the overall theme, "Land of Childhood Dreams", they are "evoking a time of the American continents'

Our contingent features elements of a typical town “FIESTA,” blending exciting rhythms of “Jarana”
– a folk dance from Yucatán, México, with movements from the urban Hip Hop dance form.

 childhood, before the exploitation of its inhabitants, both sentient and insentient. Before the advent of cartoon superheros, children had their native heros whom they admired for the same traits as represented by the jaguar: beauty, power, intelligence, mystery, and royalty. 'We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children'." They will be dancing a dance from the Yucatan., and the children will be dancing the "jaguar hip hop".

There has been Carnaval in Bolivia for more than 100 years. Anyone who has seen Bolivian Contingents will not be surprised at that. The dancers, some in miniskirts, stay tightly in step; there are others in huge, scary costumes; the men jump and prance energetically. However, I've never seen a Bolivian stop or rest during the parade. Now, most Carnaval participants have experienced extra stamina during the parade. This is due to the music, an appreciative audience, and the perception of looking great. But the Bolivians have something else: Carnaval is in their blood.
Here are the Bolivian Contingents: Bolivia, presenting an ancient martial dance called "Tinku";
Bolivia Corazon de America, also doing Tinku; bolivian_BoliviaCorazondeAmerica.html
Bolivians of Southern California, "Caporales", men with whips and
Bolivians-SoCal16.jpg bells on the ankles. In olden days, they were enslaved foremen in the mines, and now they represent freedom from slavery. They will also present "Suris" who will mimic ostriches, with humongous feathered umbrella hats.
Morenada- Bolivia, from Orange County, has an Afro-Bolivian dance with Spanish heritage that represents the slaves in that era, being directed by a "foreman". Women will be wearing traditional Pollera skirts with beads, sequins, hats with large
BoliviaAndina01.jpgfeathers, boots. Men wear heavy beaded and embroidered outfits that make them look even bigger. They also wear elegant handmade masks.
Club CAB brings authentic Morenada Dance to express the pride of the African Slaves.

Grupo Aztlan de SF, formed in 1973, consists of three divisions: children, adults, and performing group. This year, they are representing Yucatan Carnaval, which is a fusion of Mayan, European, and Afro-Cuban. They will have authentic costumes and choreography. Their mission is "to expand our knowledge in Mexican culture through song and dance, and to present a diversity of dance styles, costumes and music from an extensive repertoire of traditional Mexican dances. They have participated in Carnaval celebrations for many years.

Monroe Elementary School, presenting Chinese and Mexican folk dances, has received first place in Children's division, unseating the long-standing champion Buena Vista School. Run by Karina Vela, she says that cultural dance is large part of the school culture.

"There are parents who are not comfortable with the lack of clothes in San Francisco's Carnaval. To me, that's a learning opportunity. Children will be exposed to lots of things. Partial nudity can be looked at as being free, dancing."
Karina Vela,

"My favorite thing about Carnaval is the image of clothing and ribbons all moving at the same time. Crowds cheering, students expressing themselves, representing their school and feeling completely supported. The students work hard: learn steps, learn to smile, to bring joy to all those people. After the effort of practicing, being focused, they appear beautiful and appreciated. This year, I will be teaching the kids to do more dancing. Elementary School children are such a pleasure to work with. They have no inhibitions; They yell! They dance full out! in the future, I would like to see more kids dancing cultural dances of all ethnicities. I would like to contribute. It's such an opportunity for them to express themselves, and learn about their own and others' cultures. As a teacher, I encounter controversy. There are parents who are not comfortable with the lack of clothes in San Francisco's Carnaval. To me, that's a learning opportunity. Children will be exposed to lots of things. Partial nudity can be looked at as being free, dancing. Even when I take off my shoes in class to dance barefoot, the students stare at my feet. When they take off their own shoes, they feel naked and vulnerable. The floor is cold to them. Carnaval is lots of work, but it validates something that I have loved for so long, and believed in so strongly. The elements behind cultural dance say what that culture is about without really saying it. It gives voice without using the mouth. My family, who watched me studying dance for years (you want to get a degree in WHAT??) now see tangible results. What I spend my time doing now, is the end product of long studies. They get the big picture of who I am and what I am." The children participate in every way: they get the costumes ready, make decorations, and they learn that you have to work to get what you want.

Buena Vista Elementary Scholl is the oldest contingent in Carnaval
Every year more children appear in Carnaval San Francisco, and this fact is a joy to all. Buena Vista School has been a consistent participant for 18 years, and have won honors since 1988. This year, they took the theme, "Land of Childhood Dreams" to the children of the school and asked them what they dream about. Their bottom line is this: Education makes Dreams Come True! The musicians on the float are children and parents who are professional musicians playing a wide array of instruments. In their words, they are happy to continue their tradition of providing a top quality contingent. I couldn't agree more.

James Lick Middle School's theme is "El Fuego por Dentro", the fire within; the driving force that guides us to achieve our dreams. Dressed in fire colors, the children will be dancing to Caribbean rhythms. This will be their 5th year, and feel that it is a wonderful opportunity for the students to appreciate life through the arts- not just visually but dance and music as well.
Everett Middle School is focusing on ranges: from traditional to modern ( Rumba to Reggaeton), as well as the range of cultural diversity within the school.

Another learning institution in Carnaval is City College of SF, AfricanDownload Drumming Ensemble. The musical director is S. Kwaku Daddy, director of the CCSF Drumming Ensemble for 25 years. A celebrated performer, artist and teacher, Kwaku was born and raised in Ghana. 

Nueva Middle School Mas and Steel Band, a first timer in Carnaval. The kids will be playing and dancing in costumes they designed and made themselves.

The Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco is a youth performance group whose ages are between 12-17, directed by musician/ composer/ arranger John Calloway. Founded by John Calloway, Arturo Riera and Sylvia Ramirez, this is a self-sustaining performance group whose mission is to motivate young people to play Latin Jazz and to act as role models for young musicians. The group has performed at Masonic Auditorium, Oakland's Day of the Dead Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, Lafayette Jazz Festival, and San Francisco Carnaval. It was chosen as one of the top youth performance groups in Northern California in the 2004 Youthquake competition. The Ensemble was an audience favorite when they performed for the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in 2004.
Norcal Waste has been participating in Carnaval for over 10 years. They want to highlight recycling, tours for school kids, and even an art program. The drill team uses shiny cans which weigh 40 lbs. That is a real crowd pleaser, but there is a message in their performance: they are adept at their job, no matter how steep or narrow the road is. And to top it off, is the Recycled Instrument Band, with instruments made by artist-in-residence Banker White.

Sistas-wit-Style was formed by 3 dynamic pre-teens, and has grown to become a very large contingent. Merissa Lyons, CEO,
 Valencia Newton, COO, and Kianna Rachal, CFO, now in

Congratulations to SWS: Our first Junior Queen of Carnaval is Merissa Lyons!

 High School, are the founders. Their manager is Anabelle Goodridge, Merissa's mom, who is originally from the Caribbean. Through her, they learned about the culture and music of Trinidad. When Merissa was little, she participated in Mas Makers Massive. When the other girls got a taste of that beautiful Trini music and dance, it was just a matter of time before they decided to start their own group. Once a year was just not enough. They enjoyed it so much, that they founded the Caribbean Folk Performing Dance Company when they were 9 and 10 years old. They now teach dance at six different elementary and high schools in Oakland, as well as giving classes every Saturday. They have mobilized tremendous support from the community, and are committed to making a difference in their community by showing that there is a positive side to what kids are doing in East Oakland. They have the kind of commitment and focus rarely seen in kids that age. Last year, they launched their contingent, Sistas wit Style, in San Francisco Carnaval, and won prizes for costumes and performance. This year, their theme is "Sweet Dreams", a group of children dreaming what they want to be when they grow up. Merissa, Kianna and Valencia choreographed all of the dances.
The girls handle every aspect of running their contingent, although they are quick to name the many people who have given them support.

Loco Bloco
Congratulations to the Princess of Carnaval 2006, Mayela Carrasco, from Loco Bloco!!!
Loco Bloco will be dancing to a fusion of Afro-Brazilian, Hip-Hop, and Cuban rhythms. The largest youth-based contingent in the parade, they have won top carnaval prizes, including 3 times Grand Prize Winners. Loco Bloco is a performing arts program for children, teens and young adults rooted in the multi-ethnic Mission District of San Francisco.They provide young people with a hands on introduction to musical, dance and theater traditions of the Americas, as well as access to express themselves on stages internationally. Founded in 1994, Loco Bloco has provided thousands of youth from low-income communities free classes in percussion, dance and theater. "Loco Bloco's programs provide youth consistent contact with community-based artists of color who act as teachers, mentors and role models, empowering youth to make healthy choices about their lives. We feel both proud and grateful to work with youth and families in our community, and to bring forth amazing young artists." They will be performing on stage at the festival later that day. 

Congratulations to the Junior King of Carnaval, Alex Hernandez of Mixtiso Latin Hip Hop!!!
Mixtiso Latin Hip Hop, directed by Vanessa Mosqueda, Queen of Carnaval 2005, now has 2 people of royalty! Mixtiso, will dance to a little bit of everything: lots of cumbia, some dance hall Caribbean, traditional Mexican, reggaeton hip hop, and even some American Indian fancy dancing. Vanessa says "my choreography Mixtiso is an extension of my body, soul, and heart. We give thanks to all indigenous people, and all the universe. We give thanks for another day in life."

Congratulations to the Bay Area Caribbean Connection [BACC]: the new Prince of Carnaval is Tymothi Hall!
Congratulations are in order for BACC and its band member, Tymothi Hall, who recently won the San Francisco Bay Area Carnaval's first ever Prince of Carnaval title. Tymothi paraded and danced his way into the hearts of the audience and the judges alike during the April 22 contest, under the watchful eye of BACC’s band leader Wendell Seifert and the band’s dance choreographer Oneida Cordovia.
According to Seifert, BACC’s purpose is to unify different cultures by introducing and connecting Bay Area Citizens with the colorful and multicultural Caribbean traditions that will transcend to future generations. Seifert believes that this coming together of cultures, ethnicities and generations is an excellent example of the legacy that is Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival. Through his efforts and activities with Bay Area Caribbean Connection, Seifert pursues this vision by making positive contributions to the culture and providing opportunities for young and old alike to enjoy a truly memorable Carnival experience. In keeping with this goal, Seifert and BACC invites all fun-loving people, die-hard Masqueraders or first-timers – local or visitors, and all those in between, to become part of the Bay Area Caribbean Connection family. In his own words, Seifert proudly states “We sincerely welcome you to the best time ever!”

Latin American Workout

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