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Brazilian Carnival at Deep

by Robert Abrams
February 26, 2006
Deep
16 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 229-2000

Brazilian Carnival at Deep

Robert Abrams
February 26, 2006

I am beginning to think it is as hard to find Forró in New York as it is to find Paso Doble in Madrid. I hope someone proves me wrong.

I went to SOBs for their monthly Forró party. I have literally been waiting for this for months because their Forró party had gone into hiatus for a while. When I got there I was told there was no Feijoada. That was a big disappointment. It was a good thing I had given in to the urge to get a couple of hot dogs and a papaya drink before heading down. I paid the $7 and went in. It was a little empty, but it was only 8 pm. I hadn't been there more than five minutes when I was told the party was being cancelled and everyone would get a refund. If I find out what went wrong, I'll let you know. (Update 2/28/06: see the end of this article for a message from SOBs.)

SOBs may have been a let down tonight, but I did have a plan B. Joann Jimenez and colleagues were putting on a Brazilian party for Carnival. I decided to check it out. This party was being held at a club called Deep (16 West 22nd Street, NY, NY 10019), which ironically was a couple of blocks from where I was before I went to SOBs.

When I got there the party was in full swing, er, samba. A little of the music you could Hustle to, but most of it was either classic Samba or a hard driving variant that can be best described as Club Samba. The place looked like one of those big box nightclubs that social dancers usually avoid. The place was packed with people. The music was very loud. Colored lights flashed this way and that. They even had artificial smoke. There was one difference between this party and a typical nightclub (or at least what I think of as a typical nightclub, given that I don't go to such places very often): a sizable fraction of the people on the dance floor could dance well. Many of the people were doing more than bopping in place. They had moves and style. There were also a lot of people who were bopping in place, but they were clearly enjoying the music and the scene, so that's okay. Brazilian Samba does lend itself to a freestyle sort of mode. So long as people are dancing, what ever they feel comfortable with is a good thing.

Around ten o'clock 718 Sessions, a ten to fifteen piece drum corps and samba dancers dressed in the usual sparkles and feathers and not much else, marched into the hall. They didn't need any amplification. The crowd really got into the show. To my way of thinking there is nothing quite so seductive as Brazilian Samba when it is done well. 718 Sessions proved the point. It was a great show.

I have been told these parties have some Forró in the early hours. This party started at 6 pm so maybe I missed it. I like Brazilian Samba and I do some myself, but I like Forró more because the music has a similar rhythm and it is a partner dance. There were plenty of people out on the floor tonight who looked like they were perfectly content to dance by themselves. That's not me. I need a partner's energy to play off of. I'll have to get to the next party early to see if I can finally find some Forró.

The next party is Friday March 17th from 10 pm to 4 am at the Sullivan Room (218 Sullivan Street) in New York. Email muzikbutrfly@earthlink.net to rsvp and get reduced price admission.

While I thought that overall tonight was a great party, especially if you are partial to either nightclubs or Samba, there were a couple of negatives. The first was the coat check. Deep has the most expensive coat check I have ever seen. It was $4 for a coat and $5 to $10 for a bag depending on its size. The price of the party itself was reasonable ($17 at full price, somewhat less if you had RSVPed in advance), but the coat check prices were out of line, even for New York. The second negative was at the bar: the bartender didn't know what a Caipirinha was. I don't expect an Irish bar to serve Caipirinhas, but you can't get anymore Brazilian than a Carnival party like this one. Plus, as far as I am concerned a Caipirinha is the ideal dance drink: the sugar in the drink helps to replenish the energy that you have left as a pool of sweat on the dance floor.

Other than those two issues, which the party organizers probably didn't have much control over, it was a great event.


Two dancers interact
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



Everybody dances
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



The place is packed
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



The drum band
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



Samba dancer
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



Samba dancer
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



Samba dancers
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



Samba dancers
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams



The audience applauds
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams

SOBs sent out the following note: "Our apologies to the fans who came down late for our Forró party last Sunday. Due to the bitter cold, and the very slow turnout early in the evening, the decision was made to close. We heard later that some fans came down to find the doors closed. We sincerely apologize to our customers!! If you came down and couldn't get in, please email publicity@sobs.com to get free admission to the next Forró party on Sunday March 26!" A club that makes amends when something goes wrong deserves to be patronized. I hope to see you at SOBs on March 26.

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