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Voices From on High

In the early 1960s, American jazz musicians and vocalists spread the Brazilian phenomenon of bossa nova throughout the country, conjuring forth a tidal wave of cool tracks and sultry, clave-inspired rhythms. 40 years on, it's Brazil's daughters who are bringing bossa nova back to the forefront. The all-women's vocal ensemble Brazilian Voices slinks into the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Saturday night, offering a passport to the vibrant sounds and movements of South America's largest nation.

The vocal group is unique in that it's not just a performance ensemble. Brazilian Voices is composed of over 60 South American women of all walks of life - some are housewives, others are career women like lawyers and designers - who've come together under the banner of preserving their cultural identities. "The idea is not to be an isolated group of Brazilian immigrant women, but to find ways we can provide a more effective cultural contribution to our community," says the group's co-founder, Loren Oliveira. "We're want to be ambassadors for our culture, with the task of showing the beauty of Brazil to the world." Since the women involved aren't vocalists by trade, Oliveira, along with fellow vocal trainer and co-founder Beatriz Malnic, work with the aspiring singers to instill technique and harmony from the ground up. From humble rehearsals each week out of a loaned space in the Kelly School of Dance in Weston, the group has released three award-winning albums and traveled the globe dishing out bossa nova en largess.

Tonight's event will be a fundraising affair for their newest album, combining dinner and dance with a unique vocal performance split into four sets. Dancers Fabio Araujo and Andrea Barros will entice the crowd to join them on the dance floor, while folks can bid on a silent auction that includes tickets to Brazil, the Bahamas, and spa packages. The show starts at 8 p.m. in the New River Room at 201 SW Fifth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $60; get them at browardcenter.org.
Sat., May 2, 8 p.m., 2009

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John Linn

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