Carnaval Percussion Workshops with Mestre Jorge Alabê

As a special treat this Carnaval season we have a very special guest – master Brazilian percussionist Jorge Alabê! Not only will he be making an appearance at our main Carnaval event on Saturday March 28th – he will be holding two percussion workshops with EEDS the week before Carnaval: Wednesday the 25th and Friday the 27th! This is a rare opportunity to learn from one of the best Brazilian percussionists in the US. You don’t have to be an EEDS member or student to attend class, and you don’t need to attend both classes. Instruments will be provided, and all levels are welcome, though the lesson will be geared to those with at least some experience.


EEDS Jorge Alabê Carnaval Workshops:

Wednesday March 25th and
Friday, March 27th
Location: Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center. 4048 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL
Both classes 7-9 pm
$20 for each class ($40 for both) – cash or check accepted

More Jorge Alabê Workshops!
Be sure to check out Jorge Alabê’s workshops earlier in the week:  “Drums of The Orixa” (dance, song and drumming workshop)

When: Mon, March 23, 6:30pm – Tue, March 24, 8:00pm
Where: Dance Center of Colombia College 1306 South Michigan Avenue. (map)
Description Platform for the exposure and exploration of authentic Candomblé w/with mestre drummer Jorge Alabe do Xango.
Advance tickets: $40 for both days Or $25 per day. Please note: Participants must bring their own conga and drum sticks to class. To register please call 312-545-5034.

It’s Almost Parade Time!

The dancers and percussionists have been practicing furiously, while the carnavalescos have been crafting float decor in samba central. With only a few days to go, we’re almost ready for the 4th. This is sure to be our best and biggest EEDS parade ever, with not one, but TWO floats. Thanks to everyone who has helped out to make this parade a reality, we couldn’t have done it without you! We can’t wait to see you at the 4th of July parade at 2PM on Central Street in Evanston! Don’t forget to learn the lyrics to our enredo/theme song so you can sing along!


The Porta Bandeira has a new patriotic look this year!



Carnavalesco ingenuity: Before


Carnavalesco ingenuity: After!


Soccer Ball decorations


Calling all sambistas and friends: Come join our 4th of July Parade!

The big EEDS 4th of July parade is less than 3 weeks away – but there’s still time to join! Our 3-week Bateria Bootcamp starts tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th at 6:30 PM, and registration is still open for all percussionists (all levels welcome and instruments provided)! If you don’t want to play in the bateria, we are also looking for volunteers to help and people who just want to march alongside and have a good time on Friday, July 4th! If you are interested in volunteering or marching in the parade with us, shoot us an e-mail at

And while you’re at it, why not review some of our repertoire!

EEDS 2014 Enredo: “The World Comes to Brazil, and Brazil Comes to Evanston”


The world comes to Brazil…

The eyes of the world are on Brazil. As Brazil hosts the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we hope that teams, fans, and viewers from around the globe will discover that Brazil’s cultural riches, its history, and its music are deserving of all the world’s attention and celebration. For the Evanston Escola de Samba’s 2014 enredo, we join with our Brazilian friends in celebration of their accomplishment of hosting the 2014 World Cup, and in encouraging global unity and Brazilian national pride.

At the same time, the world comes to Brazil during a time of unprecedented economic growth and cultural change. The national protests in Brazil over the summer of 2013 showed how, for many Brazilians, the World Cup brings both deepened concern for the legacies of the past and renewed hope for the future as Brazil charges into the 21st century.

At this time of celebration and hope, there is no music more appropriate to permeate packed soccer stadiums and botecos than samba. Born from social inequality, samba came to Brazil from around the world. “The voice of the hill,” as Zé Keti called it, samba was born in Rio de Janeiro’s hillside communities as a response to social inequality and cultural marginalization. Samba borrowed from the world’s musical styles, infusing European elements on an African core, and created a culture all its own. And today, on the eve of the World Cup, this music of celebration and social change returns to the global stage that gave birth to it.

And Brazil comes to Evanston…

As the world comes to Brazil for the World Cup, the Evanston Escola de Samba celebrates how Brazil and samba already permeate Chicagoland. In an urban region with a vibrant and enthusiastic Brazilian community, the performance of Brazilian music and dance continues to enrich our civic and cultural life. In partnership with our Brazilian brothers and sisters at home and abroad, the Evanston Escola de Samba showcases samba as a vehicle for community engagement, social awareness, and arts education.

Through samba, we celebrate the unity of humanity as we seek renewed courage to face our world’s problems with focus and vigor, in pursuit of a better planet. We believe samba, the music that survived so much history and now enriches our lives, is the soundtrack of this pursuit. And so, as the world comes to Brazil, the Evanston Escola de Samba celebrates Brazil coming into our lives and our communities.

Our 2014 samba-enredo will be sung to the União da Ilha classic, “O amanhã,” as featured in the above arrangement by Monobloco. But the lyrics are fresh and new, reflecting our love of Brazilian history, the World Cup, and our hope for futbol and samba as unifying forces in our city and the world. Please join us on Central Street in Evanston on July 4th to sing along!

União da Ilha                                             Evanston Escola de Samba (2014)

A cigana leu o meu destino                        Samba kings have taken to the field
Eu sonhei!                                                  Evanston!
Bola de cristal                                             O jogo bonito
Jogo de búzios, cartomante                       Malandragem, canarinho
E eu sempre perguntei                               But still we have to know?

O que será o amanhã?                               Which side will score, and claim the crown?
Como vai ser o meu destino?                    Maracanã, a soccer samba?
Já desfolhei o mal-me-quer                        The stars and stripes? A seleção?
Primeiro amor de um menino                    Neymar’s 10, the magic number?

E vai chegando o amanhecer                    Now hear the music from the hill
Leio a mensagem zodiacal                        Rhythm of the drums is in the air
E o realejo diz                                             When the game is done
Que eu serei feliz, sempre feliz                  A win for everyone (for everyone)

Como será amanhã?                                  Brazil takes a bow center stage
Responda quem puder                               The world has come to play
O que irá me acontecer?                            Evanston Escola de Samba
O meu destino sera                                    Brings Brazil here for us
Como Deus quiser                                      on Independence Day
Como sera?                                                 Força da luz!

The Big Day is Here! Happy 4th of July!

If you found out about EEDS from the Evanston 4th of July Parade, welcome! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more info on classes, workshops, events and lessons (as well as some generally awesome photo updates).

“Escola de Samba” simply means “Samba School” in Portuguese, and following the Brazilian Samba School model, all ages and levels of dancers and percussionists are welcome in EEDS, from absolute beginners to experts. Though our school is based in Evanston, we have participants from all over Chicagoland (and sometimes even further afield). For more info, check our blog (right here!) or contact us at

EEDSMainEventWhen: 2 PM, Thursday July 4th
Where: Central Street, Evanston, IL
(the parade route is from Central Park Ave. to Ashland)
Are you going?: RSVP on Facebook!

Countdown to July 4th: behind-the-scenes float preview

Can you believe that tomorrow is July 4th?! Our dancers and percussionists have been working hard to make the 4th of July performance great – but there is a whole other team working behind the scenes on another important aspect of our parade – the float! While you will have to come to the 4th of July parade to see the final product – check out some of the pictures of our work in progress. Extra special thanks to Dave, Jorge, Anya, Max, Chris, Reed, our young helpers and everyone else who has helped on the sometimes-complicated construction of the EEDS parade float. We think it will be our best ever!FloatPhoto1

Float2 Float3 Float4 Float5

Countdown to July 4th: Teaser Photos from the Costume Workshop

Less than 3 days until the EEDS 4th of July Parade SpectacularThe costume workshop is abuzz with activity, led by costume guru Kirsty Montgomery. These pictures from our workshop give a tiny sample of some of Evanston Escola de Samba’s unique and colorful parade costume elements.  You may not be able to tell what these images are now, but they are all integral elements of our 4th of July theme and parade. You have to come and see for yourself!!!

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Countdown to July 4th: The origins of Afro-Bloc

For our 2013 July 4th Spectacular, the EEDS bateria will be playing two arrangements: our 2013 samba-enredo, O Amanhã, as well as “Afro Bloc.” While Afro Bloc is based on samba-reggae rhythms from Bahia in northeastern Brazil, the arrangement is actually Irish: it was taught to us by our good friends and partners at the MaSamba Samba School of Dublin, Ireland and its director, Simeon Smith, when they visited EEDS in Chicago in October 2011. Since then, Afro Bloc has become one of our favorite pieces, featuring a heavy surdo section and some sophisticated breaks that make it a real crowd pleaser. You can watch Afro Bloc in action, featuring Simeon and MaSamba, here:

We’re happy to continue our transatlantic partnership with our Irish friends, and to feature this piece at our 4th of July Spectacular. And we wish them a huge congratulations at a major upcoming gig: performing for the President of Ireland on July 6!

EEDS, Masamba, ODS and friends

EEDS, MaSamba, ODS and friends

Countdown to July 4th: Introducing our Rainha da Bateria, Dill Costa!

In the second part of our countdown to July 4th we’d like to introduce one of the most important roles in our parade – the Rainha da Bateria (Queen of the Percussion section) – the talented Dill Costa! You can learn more about Dill’s extensive experience and involvement in Rio de Janeiro Carnaval, and her new role as EEDS Head of Dance hereThe Rainha da Bateria is one of the prominently featured dancers in a Carnaval parade, and dances in front of the percussion section (bateria). We are extremely pleased to have Dill leading the dancers and inspiring the percussionists in this role, as we can continue to bring the spirit of samba to Chicagoland. And of course, be sure to attend Evanston Escola de Samba’s July 4th parade and see Dill in action!