Gafiera (various performers)

Brazilian ballroom dance music

It may be less familiar than samba or bossa nova to audiences outside of Brazil, but gafieira is wildly popular in Brazil, particularly in Rio de Janeiro, where it is a vibrant tradition, and dance floors are packed on weekends with couples dancing to its many great gafieira bands.

Think Savoy Ballroom. . . Roseland. . . the famous ballrooms where even if you never danced a step, you could hear some of the most fabulous music of the times. Now imagine a Brazilian version of this — a dance music alive with unexpected rhythms, melodies, and instrumentation.

A gafieira band traditionally features a rhythm section consisting of percussion (pandeiro and other hand-played percussion), drums (bateria), bass, along with any variety of horns (saxophone, trombone, clarinet, flute, trumpet), keyboards, guitar, and the unique and lively sound of the 4-stringed “little guitar” called a cavaquinho. It can range in size from as few as 6 to a full big-band formation.

The gafieira repertoire consists of a variety of rhythms, including samba de gafieira, tango brasileiro, maxixe, habanera, lundu, polca, xotis, and batuque. Gafieira dancing, like Argentine tango, or salsa or mambo, is dazzling to watch, with its intricate steps and combinations. And it’s great fun to learn!

In Brazil there are many great gafieira bands, gafieira schools, and places to dance gafieira. For more information about gafieira in Brazil: Agenda da Dança de Salão Brasileira

For information about gafieira in the United States, contact:

Ellen Azorin, President
Cantaloupe Music Productions, Inc.
Phone: 212.724.2400

Espinha de Bacalhau (Orquestra Tabajara):
Na Glória (Raul de Barros):
1 x 0 (Pixinguinha):
Catita (K-Ximbinho):
Porque Choras Saxofone (Severino Araújo):

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