Singer, dancer, choreographer, and instructor Vanessa Isaac is from Brazil, but some would also say she helped bring Brazil to Santa Barbara. Together with her renowned musician husband Randy Tico, Isaac also helped form Hip Brazil back in 2001. Originally both a musical ensemble and a dance company, in recent years the group has turned its focus mainly on the dance, with Isaac teaching Brazilian classes, producing instructional DVDs, and leading a popular ensemble in the annual Summer Solstice parade. But Hip Brazil the band is making a comeback, and Isaac, an accomplished and talented vocalist, will take to the SOhO stage to prove her staying power this Thursday night.
“It’s been so long since we’ve done a show like this,” she said. “It’s going to be a night of Afro-Brazilian music, Brazilian jazz, samba, and more-a good chance for people to just get out and enjoy the music and dance.” But those who are not so sure of foot shouldn’t be put off, Isaac assured. “I know samba can be intimidating because you have to know the steps, but there will also be a lot of laidback Brazilian beats and grooves that are easy to move to. It’s okay to just let go.”
In addition to Isaac on vocals and Tico on bass, the Hip Brazil band includes Jeff Elliott on trumpet, Chris Judge on guitar and cavaquinho, Mitchell Long on guitar, Kevin Winard on drums, George Friedenthal on keyboard, Chalo Eduardo on percussion, Rebecca Kleinmann on vocals and flute, Lisa Beck on vocals, Justin Claviera on saxophone, and the Santa Barbara Samba School.
“These are world-class musicians who have played with Sergio Mendes, Les McCann, and many others,” Isaac noted. “But the night is mainly for everybody there to have a good time dancing. : The music is really all about the rhythm. You can’t sit down while it’s playing! It will be a fun, groovy kind of night.”
Hip Brazil plays SOhO (1221 State St.) on Thursday, June 4, at 8 p.m. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com for tickets.