This Saturday Carnaval Brasileiro returns to Minneapolis with Beira Mar Brasil headlining, led by singer-composer-sambista-guitarist Robert Everest. I wouldn’t sleep on this one. Carnaval Brasileiro 2007 packed the place and was such a word-of-mouth hit, it was a no-brainer for Everest to decide to do it again.
Carnaval Brasilero at Trocaderos, 107 Third Ave N., Minneapolis. Saturday, February 9 at 8:30 PM. For more information, call (612) 465-0440.
If you’re partial to, say, Art Garfunkel or Gerry Rafferty, you won’t have any trouble enjoying Everest’s vocals—and his writing is solid, as heard on Beira Mar Brasil’s 2003 album Sonho Meu and The Robert Everest Expedition (2006, both on Arke Records). Also on the bill: Dandara, hailed as a exhuberant, dynamic singer from Bahia, Brazil and Carnival group Banda Relogio; master percussionist and vocalist Edgar Oliveira from Rio Grande do Sul; and Drumheart, percussionists from the Women’s Drum Center of St. Paul.
Everest, needless to say, is excited about the success of Carnaval Brasileiro and he’s real stoked about having taken it up in the first place. “Once you get involved in Brazilian music and culture,” he says, “you soon realize the importance and universal appeal of this occasion. In Louisiana they call it Mardi Gras, but in the northern U.S. we really don’t have anything comparable, so it’s actually a no-brainer to do it. The question is how are you going to do it and that is something I have been refining and improving over the years. It’s been getting more popular every year since 1997.” So far as Carnaval Brasileiro’s popularity goes, he’s “very pleased but not surprised.”
A lot of producers would already have their mind on next year. Not Everest. “No, I am completely focused on this year—I have to be to make it work. This event is way too much responsibility for me to be distracted by future endeavors. I am coordinating everything—from promotion to band-leading to ticket sales to organizing food and drink.”
What’s next for Robert Everest? “Last year I was doing a lot of soul-searching and realized that, even though I claim to play ‘world music,’ I have really only explored Latin America and southern Europe. So lately I have been moving further east along the Mediterranean into Turkey and the Middle East, south to Egypt—I just bought an Egyptian oud—and southwest from there into West Africa, which is where I am headed in two weeks, once we’ve wrapped up the 2008 chapter of Brazilian Carnival.”
Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the TC Daily Planet.