It’s Mardi Gras time in Austin, so laissez les bons temps rouler! Start things off with local treasure, Austin Samba, which brings 50 performers and special guests to the Speakeasy on Saturday, Feb. 10, 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. The event will feature a stellar lineup of Austin-based groups ready to get your body moving. Drumming from Brazil, brass from New Orleans and more. The line-up includes Superfónicos, Austin Samba, Seu Jacinto, Minor Mishap Marching Band, Flyjack, Big Wy’s Brass Band and Maracatu Texas. Tickets are $15 at the door.
On Saturday, Feb. 10, the beloved cultural institution, Carnaval Brasileiro, brings back its annual celebration at Palmer Events Center. One of Austin’s longest running annual traditions, which began as a 1975 celebration for UT Brazilian expatriates and friends, it has turned into the largest indoor Brazilian Mardi Gras celebration anywhere on the globe. It’s an epic evening with an infectiously dance-able pulse of samba drums, an endless parade of exotic costumes and the uninhibited euphoria of over 6,000 attendees.
The heart and soul of the festivity is found in the authentic, fiery Brazilian carnaval music provided by high energy bands. Opening will be nine drummers from Rio’s Samba Schools. Dancers from Austin’s MeliSamba dance group will be on stage through the evening. They’ll be joined by Brazilian native Dandara Odara, who leads the Pragandaia Band. Their music is inspired by the rich, sensuous swing of Brazil and Bahia’s African-based culture. Odara’s sound comes from a mixture of sources involving rhythms from the Caribbean, Africa, and Cuba.
Tickets to Carnaval Brasileiro are $40 in advance or $45 at the door. There is a VIP option for an additional $28, which includes coat check, room to breathe and private bar and restrooms. For more information, visit sambaparty.com.