Clube do Balanco (12th March 2008)

I've been doing most things Brazilian but I've not yet had the opportunity to visit the country. Since I can't go to Brazil, why not bring Brazil to me? How, you ask? Simple: Buy a ticket to the Clube do Balanço show!

I've actually just returned home from the show held at the Wellington Town Hall, one of the many performances of the 2008 NZ International Arts Festival. It was a one-night only show and I had bought my ticket last year when the tickets were first sold. I know, it sounds a bit crazy to buy the ticket so early but hey, it’s not everyday that Wellington has a band playing from Brazil :) Cost me $70 for a general admission ticket and I had to stand up during the whole 1 hour and 45 minutes. But frankly, I would rather be standing so I could dance to the band!

Clube do Balanço is a 9-piece band that plays a fusion of soul, jazz, funk and rock backed by an irresistible samba beat. This Sao Paolo based Brazilian band is composed of Marco Mattoli (vocals & guitar), Edu Peixe (drums), Gringo (bass), Teresa Gama (vocals), Fred Prince (percussion), Guto “Bocão” (percussion), Marcelo Maita (keyboards), Tiquinho (trombone) and Reginaldo “16” Gomes (trumpet). And they were fabulous! The crowd was an interesting mix of people from different age groups and ethnicity, all enjoying the music and with some dancing samba and joining in, clapping and throwing ours hands in the air to the 60s music.

I wasn’t able to convince friends to join me to the event – guess the cost was the main setback (oh yeah, it was one hell of an expensive show!). Was there early and met another fellow salsara, Chris, and her boyfriend, Vaughn, at the front of the stage (unfortunately for us shorties, we need to be there early to get a good front spot) and we had Christian joined us just before the band started playing. Hehe, as usual, Christian was in his own dance realm, doing his samba and grooves throughout the whole show. :P

The band entertained us with songs from their album, Swing & Samba Rock, including Brazilian hit song, Mas Que Nada, a song from the City of God soundtrack, Nem Vem Que Não Tem, and also a short stint of samba school beats performed in carnivals. Teresa has such strong vocals that reminded me a lot of famous Cuban singer, Celia Cruz – powerful, deep and tantalizing. She’s sure one hot mama! And not forgetting Guto – oh, he made me laughed so much! He has a flat top hairstyle (think singer MC Hammer) and despite speaking nearly no English to the crowd, we could understand what he was asking of us and cracked up at his hilarious antics. Ooo, and Reginaldo – he must have got the ladies’ hearts thumping wildly when he did his little hip/pelvic moves. Phew, it is hot in here or what?

I thoroughly enjoyed the show and it was worth the money I paid plus it was the ONLY performance in the whole festival I went to. It was a real pity that no photography or video recording was allowed (though I did see a few people try to do so, some with cell phones – tsk, tsk!). It would have been nice to capture the comical antics of the band. Hmm, might have to go hunt for the CD now...

Oh, and I had thought I would be going to the show on my own. Saw a few other familiar faces after the show, including Bianca, Rod, Adeuson, Anouk, Abbi etc. We just didn’t know we were all going to the same show!

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