CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. - There's a beach where one sunny afternoon you may witness an offering to an Afro-Brazilian Orixa spirit of the ocean, the next day watch master capoeristas practicing Brazil's martial art dance form, and still another day join a gathering of thousands of surfers-cum-dancers rocking out to hybrid musical sounds informed by bloco afro, samba-reggae, surf-rock and California funk.These are not the shores of Bahia, Brazil. This is Santa Cruz, Calif., home of the surf-and-skate, capoeira-kicking, scene-busting phenomenon known as SambaDa, which performs for free at 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, in the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room.This smoldering and soldering band is a magnet of unexpected particles shaved from Brazilian and American sources. This community of people - their local fanbase and their Brazilian ancestors, their people - are honored in the title of SambaDa's latest album, "Gente!"While SambaDa emerged from a Brazilian dance group, founder Papiba Godinho has not let his status of capoeira master dominate the band's sound. Since the beginning, when some of his students started jamming on their evenings off, the motley members have always brought in their own styles and ideas. The new album features Dandha da Hora, a powerful singer steeped in the life and lessons of samba culture and the Brazilian black pride movement. When Dandha arrived in Santa Cruz, drawn by love from her home in the hills and shanties of Salvador, Brazil, she brought with her an ethos that charges the band's music with an energy born of veneration.Guitarist and drum machine wizard Will Kahn likes to jump in the water between sets during SambaDa's beachfront shows, which draw thousands of stomping, jumping fans. "The beach is really where our music is supposed to be," he said in a press release.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and showman extraordinaire Igor Yuzov is perpetually globetrotting, and in the process he has found scores of wildly talented, entertaining musicians to bring into the fold of this increasingly international party band.Red Elvises - which plays a free show at 11:30 p.m. Saturday in the Crystal Bay Casino Red Room - started as a Russian group, playing what they dubbed Siberian surf rock. Since then the band has included musicians from many other countries including United States, Israel, Puerto Rico and Bulgaria.Everyone who performs with them for any length of time brings something different both energetically and musically. At various times shows have included keyboards, accordions, sax, clarinet, trumpet, flute, banjo, mandolin, tuba and many other instruments. Old and new fans can expect to be surprised at shows again and again, however the roots of Red Elvises remain the same: Igor's unique brand of humor combined with guitar based rock'n'roll.German born Igor Yuzov grew up in the former Soviet Union, where folk music was the norm and rock 'n' roll was illegal. A rebellious streak, however, led him to seek out the forbidden records, which could be secretly traded in some places for those who knew where to look. As soon as it became possible, Igor left Russia for America with his folk band Limpopo. The "Crazy Russian folk and roll" group proceeded to win Ed McMahon's "Star Search."