Tahoe Onstage tip of the week: Eat a big meal after skiing on Saturday if you plan to visit the T-Bar Social Club that night. That’s because anyone who attends a SambaDá show will burn more calories dancing for a couple of hours than they would riding up and down a mountain all day.
SambaDá plays Brazilian music, but there are many more parts to it, including West African, cumbia, salsa, funk and rock. Percussion and dance are at the forefront for a group whose members are from Brazil, Senegal, New Guinea and the United States.
Papiba Godinho is a founding member and a master of capoeira, a dance and fighting discipline that was created by slaves.
“Under slavery, people were not allowed to practice martial arts so the self-defense tactics were disguised into dance; there was always music being played,” Godinho said. “I have been practicing since I was a kid. I came to American to teach capoeira.”
Godinho was among a group of percussionists who led Afro-Brazilian dance classes in Santa Cruz, California, in the 1990s. A friend recruited Godinho, who also plays guitar, to put on a show with the percussionists. It led to SambaDá.
“It took off pretty fast,” Godinho said. “All of the shows were really well attended because the community here in Santa Cruz is very supportive of the Brazilian culture.”
Saxophonist Anne Stafford and drummer Gary Kehoe also are founding members who still play in the band. Dancer-singer Dandha da Hora, who like Godinho is from Brazil, joined five years later. The lineup has had a few changes and nine years ago percussionist Eibou Ngom, and bassist Etienne Franc came along.
SambaDá will be busy in the coming weeks playing up and down the California coast. Carnival will be in late February. The band played 70 to 80 shows in 2019. It’s played multiple times at Tahoe City’s Commons Beach and the Crystal Bay Casino.
It also played last summer at the T-Bar Social Club.
“It was a great show,” Godinho said. “We love to play our music and sometimes it’s more fun to have an intimate show. The audience is close and we don’t mind.”
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11
Where: T-Bar Social Club, 2588 Highways 158, June Lake, California, 93529
Tickets: $15 at the door or $27 with shuttle, which departs Von's parking lot at Mammoth at 7 p.m.