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This will be the first time in history that a traditional maracatu group from Recife, Brazil tours the the USA!

A Tale of Two Nations - History in the making!

A Tale of Two Nations will present the traditional maracatu group Estrela Brilhante in collaboration with Nation Beat for a groundbreaking US tour, exploring the similarities and contrasts between Brazilian and American musical traditions and introducing American audiences to the tradition of maracatu. 

This will be the first time in history that a traditional maracatu group from Recife, Brazil tours the United States!

Founded in 1906, Estrela Brilhante is one of the most renowned and respected traditional maracatu percussion groups in the world. Their music and performance embody the history of the Afro-Brazilian people of northeastern Brazil, condensed into a colorful and vibrant carnival art filled with pulsating rhythms, call and response songs, and infectious dancing. Led by the legendary Mestre Walter and Queen Dona Marivalda, Estrela Brilhante has several remarkable achievements, with performances throughout Brazil and Europe, recordings, and numerous Carnival competition championship titles in Recife, including 2012 & 2013!

You may be asking "What is this MARACATU stuff?"

Maracatu de baque virado is a dynamic rhythm from the northeast of Brazil, propulsive and dramatic, steeped in African and Indigenous traditions with religious overtones. This cultural performance derives from a ritual of the African slaves in Recife (capital city of Pernambuco) approximately 400 years ago when they crowned their own kings and queens inspired by the Portuguese colonizers. Its massive percussion groups and dancers lead the way for the king, queen, princess, and crowds of revelers who follow the rhythm of the music and the movement of the court.

Listen to Estrela Brilhante here:

So where can you see this all happen?

A Tale of Two Nations will present Estrela Brilhante alongside Nation Beat - a band with roots both in Brazilian and American traditions, and with longstanding relationships with Estrela Brilhante. This tour will showcase maracatu in both its traditional and contemporary forms. Estrela Brilhante will also lead workshops, lectures, and other community activities so that audiences can get up close and personal with the music and history of Maracatu. You will be able to see this historic performance in August 2013 at one of the following shows or public workshops: 

July 28th & 29th - Dance and percussion workshops with Dona Marivalda and Mestre Walter at Grand Performances in Los Angeles, CA

August 1st - Open rehearsal at Lincoln Center

August 2nd - Performance at Lincoln Center Out of Doors in New York, NY

August 3rd & 4th - Workshops in New York City

August 9th - Dance, percussion, and costume workshops with Dona Marivalda and Mestre Walter at Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, CT

August 10th - Performance at Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, CT

August 12th - Performance at Santa Fe Bandstand in Santa Fe, NM

August 13th - Dance and percussion workshops with Dona Marivalda and Mestre Walter in Albuquerque, NM

August 14th - National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM

August 16th at Big Night in Little Hati in Miami, FL 

August 17th at Grand Performances in Los Angeles, CA

This is the sound of A Tale of Two Nations - Maracatu Estrela Brilhante meets Nation Beat!

We need YOUR help to make this a success!

The chance to present Estrela Brilhante in the United States for the first time is both uniquely exciting and intimidatingly costly! We need to raise $20,000 here on Kickstarter to ensure the success of the tour. If we don't meet our goal, we will have to cut the number of performers from Estrela in half, which will severely affect the performance. Maracatu is an art form that needs critical mass, and Estrela usually performs with 300 dancers and musicians in its Carnaval parades. By cutting that down to 13 performers, we're already at the minimum number of people necessary to properly represent the tradition of Estrela Brilhante, and if we have to go down to 6 then it's no longer maracatu.

Your support will help us cover these costs:

  • International flights from Recife, Brazil for 13 people
  • Domestic travel between six US cities for 20 people
  • Passports and visas for 13 people
  • Artist fees 
  • Hotel costs
  • Luggage costs for instruments and costumes

As you can imagine, keeping 20 people on the road for three weeks gets expensive, especially when you're traveling with 10-foot wide hoop skirts! We are asking for your generous support so that these talented artists have an unforgettable experience while on tour with A Tale of Two Nations!

Please check out our website - taleoftwonations.com - for more info and updates on our progress!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

A Tale of Two Nations is off to a great start. Some of our shows received generous support through Southern Exposure, a prestigious grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (holy cow!). But that was only enough to get this idea off the ground - we've still got a lot to take care of to make it a success!

Most of the members of Estrela Brilhante have never left the country - Estrela has made an effort to select musicians and dancers from their neighborhood, reflecting the true community spirit of this incredible group. So we're expecting a lot of culture shock, both just in experiencing the US and touring life at American venues.

There's also a huge challenge in turning a parade performance that usually takes 300 musicians and dancers into a stage show with 13 people! Scott Kettner from Nation Beat has been working tirelessly with Dona Marivalda and Mestre Walter from Estrela Brilhante to craft the show, but it's hard to do it all while these artists are on different continents.

Please support us here on Kickstarter to ensure that we can bring a full complement of musicians and dancers on the Tale of Two Nations tour, treat them with the respect they deserve as master artists, and properly represent traditional maracatu! Tu maraca!

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    You're in the Maracatu Nation! We'll thank you on the website and you'll get a video newsletter from the road!

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    77 backers

    Obrigado, thanks for joining the Maracatu Nation! We'll thank you on the website, send you a video newsletter, and a download of Nation Beat's 1st album "Maracatuniversal," recorded in Recife, Brazil together with Estrela Brilhante in 2005.

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    65 backers

    Parabéns, you're in the Maracatu Nation! You'll get a thanks on the website, the video newsletter, a download of Maracatuniversal AND Maracatu New York's new album "Baque do Brooklyn".

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    You're a valued member of the Maracatu Nation! We'll thank you on the website, send you the video newsletter, a download of the Maracatu New York and Nation Beat albums AND you will receive an exclusive mp3 LIVE TRACK from one of the shows on the tour. That's right...you'll get to share the musical experience with us even if you can't be at one of the shows.

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    6 backers

    Oixente, what a contribution! You'll get all of the above - thanks on the website, the video newsletter, a live track, download of the Maracatu New York album, PLUS a download of all 3 Nation Beat CDs AND the Estrela Brilhante CD! (It's out of print!). And we will mail you an autographed postcard from the road.

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    Wow, Thanks!! You'll get everything we've described above (thanks on the site, video newsletter and postcard from the road, live track, downloads of the Maracatu NY, Nation Beat, and Estrela Brilhante CDs) PLUS we'll send you an Estrela Brilhante t-shirt and you'll get a VIP pass to meet the musicians at the show of your choice!

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    Tu Maraca! You'll get all of the above rewards (wow, right?) AND free entrance to one of the Estrela Brilhante workshops in August in New York City!

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    Tu Maraca Tu! All the above rewards are coming your way, PLUS a copy of Scott Kettner's book, Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion, released in August 2013!

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    Nossa Senhora! Princesa Joventina and Erundina send their thanks with all of the above rewards (your choice of the workshop in NYC or the book), PLUS you'll get a 1 hour maracatu lesson with Scott Kettner either in NY or over Skype!

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    Estrela Brilhante é Nação de Fé! You're making dreams come true, and we'll send you all of the above rewards, with a FULL day of maracatu workshops with Estrela Brilhante in NYC in August, Scott's book Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion, a 1 hour maracatu private lesson with Scott in NY or over Skype, PLUS you will have a special role carrying the Estrela Brilhante flag on stage in the World Premiere of A Tale of Two Nations, at Lincoln Center in NYC on August 2! (or any of the shows of your choice) You'll get dressed by Dona Marivalda in full costume, and be part of all the action!

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Funding period

- (35 days)