Para los brasileiros
Hailing from the land of Caetano Veloso and Antonio Carlos Jobim, Brazilian singer, guitarist and songwriter Amanda Soares has been surrounded by music her entire life. A journalist by day, Amanda currently works for univisionarizona.com, covering news and events relevant to the Latino community. She juggles a tight schedule between journalism and music, also playing in festivals, events and cafés all over Arizona with her Brazilian-fusion group The Samba Project.
In February, Amanda released her debut album The Samba Project – Live 12.12.10. She took a few minutes from her busy life to share her passions with Latino Perspectives.
Why Brazilian music in Arizona? Since moving to the Valley nearly seven years ago from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, I found myself craving being back around my culture and what I knew. So, I started taking what was mostly a childhood hobby and made it a profession, playing small Brazilian events as a way to bring the flavor of my homeland back to my life and to the lives of other homesick brasileiros. Little did I know Americans would also love what we do, and now we play in various events all over the state. Last month we played at the Scottsdale Festival of the Arts, Fountain Hills Spring Concert Series, various carnaval events, along with our regular performances in local bars and venues. Those shows usually bring a good Brazilian crowd that comes and dances all night. It’s a lot of fun playing for Brazilian people.
Your new CD: It was recorded locally at the MADCAP Theaters in Tempe with our main formation: Johnny Finn (percussion), Manny Brito (bass) and me, plus nine other musicians, the best Brazilian and jazz cats in town. This album is more of a jazz approach to what we do, although it does have some of the more “lively” grooves from Brazil. Our goal at the performance was to take listeners through a “musical tour” of Brazil, with rhythms from baião to samba, and even a little cha-cha thrown in for good measure.
Education: I’m an ASU alumna, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Broadcast Journalism program, class of 2008
Influences: I love strong female singers and groups. There’s something about girl power that really calls to me. Brazilians Marisa Monte, Maria Rita and Esperanza Spalding are some of them. But I also love guys like Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Djavan and Bob Marley.
Next: I’ve been composing a lot lately and hope to record an album soon with original work. Meanwhile, I hope to continue with my music, journalism and spiritual work, bringing the community together through art and culture in a fun and relaxed way. That’s why I play music – to bring people together and help us all remember what feels good and unites us, regardless of our background.