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Rachel Levin
California Dancing
United States
Greater Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

Zabumba - Brazilian Restaurant and Club

by Rachel Levin
April 1, 2002
Los Angeles, CA

Zabumba - Brazilian Restaurant and Club


Brazilian Restaurant and Club

10717 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

No cover.
Wednesday and Thursday: Cuban Salsa Night (free dance lesson starts at 8:30)
Friday through Sunday: Live Brazilian Music. Friday night features a costumed performer; Sunday night features a singer and a group of girls dancing.

It is hard to feel either sad or lonely when you're at Zabumba. Full of color, music, drink, and dance, Zabumba restaurant and club is one of several Brazilian food and dance spots that have popped up in the West Los Angeles area, where many Brazilian immigrants have clustered near the beaches of the Pacific. Far from the warm waters of cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian expatriates living in L.A. will certainly feel at home at Zabumba; yet, the unique thing about the club is that non-Brazilians will feel just as much a part of the extended Brazilian family.

The food is certainly one aspect that brings people together. The menu at Zabumba features traditional Brazilian finger foods, salads, pastas, sandwiches, grilled meats cooked with coconut milk, and side dishes like rice with yucca flour, fried bananas, and collard greens. The full bar with a wide selection of beer, wine, and special Brazilian drinks also helps to get people talking, sharing, and smiling.

Yet the real shared experience is of course the music. Dance and music are continually present here. Zambuba features live bands and DJ's five nights a week, but even when no music is scheduled, several television monitors throughout the restaurant display ongoing footage of Carnival. Carnival is the Brazilian equivalent of Mardi Gras, the explosion of costume, dance, music, sensuality, and revelry that precedes the more austere period of Lent. The continual rhythm of the zabumba (a type of African drum used widely in Brazilian music) and the shake of the maracas accompany the procession of feathers, beads, headdresses, and bare female bodies. This is certainly a culture which values expressions of joy and revels in the beauty of the human form. What better way to combine these two elements than dance?

Wednesday and Thursday nights feature Cuban salsa dance and music in Spanish, and the rest of the week is devoted to Brazilian samba and pop in Portuguese. You don't have to know the intricacies of the samba to join in with the dancing. The rhythm is infectious, and you can often follow along with the repetitive line dancing that Brazilians will spontaneously begin doing to their favorite pop songs.

The sense of community present at Zabumba is catching. You can actually make new friends here through the exchange of drink, conversation, and dance. You are just as likely to see a group of young singles out on the dance floor as parents with their young children (as a testament to the spirit of family here, the one women's bathroom even has two toilets, a big one for mommy and a little one for baby!). Pictures of friends and regulars to the club line the walls in the back of the restaurant. The owners of Zabumba circulate among the tables and even get on the dance floor themselves. This unassuming and casual atmosphere makes Zabumba an ideal place to get connected to Brazilian culture, music, and community.

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