Brazilian Carnaval: Why wait ’til Tuesday?

zbac0301414-poster-tabloidBrazilian Carnaval:   Why wait ’til Tuesday?

Known in the US as Mardi Gras, Brazil’s Carnaval is the craziest party in the Americas.

Why wait until Tuesday? Get your ‘Mardi Gras’ started Brazilian style… on the weekend!

Six sexy saxophones make this the horniest party in town.

Two floors, two stages! Horns! Drums! Dancing! Costumes! Spectacle! 

Saturday, Mar 1
8:30pm – 1:30 am (Doors 8PM)
Analog Café • 720 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Rebellious Roots music from Brazil’s Northeast


LoveBomb Go-Go17-piece silver spacehorn spectacle.

Axé Didé
Feathers, sequins, and the explosive energy of Brazilian dance

DJ Cuíca and DJ Malandro
keeping booties bumping with choice cuts from Brazil & the USA

Portland’s Loud’n’Rowdiest Brazilian percussion orchestra

82nd Ave Brass Band
Portland’s original Mardi Gras band – soul jazz and second line 

A rad mashup of USA pop songs sung beautifully in pagode samba style.

Don the decadent duds of your alter ego and dance your ass off, or play the wallflower behind a feathered mask as fivelive bands whip the crowd into a famously hot mess.

Costumes strongly encouraged. Don’t miss!

Tickets:  $12 advance / $15 door


z’Bumba’s fifth Bandiversary!

Saturday, December 7, 2013, 9:30p-12:30aZB MPP 120713c
Mississippi Pizza Pub (map)
$8 / $7 advance (here)
21 and over

It’s been five years since z’Bumba’s humble origins in an airplane hangar at 15th and Broadway in Portland, Oregon.

Since then they’ve kept busy as ambassadors of the best-kept Brazilian secret known as forró (fo-HOh,) the earthy, accordion-laced, working class dance music of Brazil’s northeast.  In those five years they’ve performed about 1500 songs at fifty shows to roughly 5000 people, after preparing at  200 rehearsals with twelve members past and present, including nine percussionists, three accordionists, four singers, and two bassists.

That said, why count when you can dance? Come celebrate z’Bumba’s five years with five senses:  SEE a roomful of  smiles and swaying hips;  HEAR music both rhythmic and bittersweet; TASTE delicious fresh-squeezed juice cocktails; touch knee to knee with someone you like or think you might, and  SMELLsmell-a wine and sweeet perfu-ume!

You don’t need a midnight train going anywhere – forró is the music where small-town boys and city girls alike find solace in a deep Brazilian groove.

Forró: outlaw music of the Wild Brazilian Northeast

zb ss 081013 c(details below)

What happens when Brazilian outlaws mix salsa with polka, cumbia with zydeco, pile it high with accordion and percussion, and sprinkle liberally with the bittersweet Portuguese poetry of “The Brazilian Hank Williams?”

They dance, of course… in a honey-knickers two-step that would make the Green bay Packers blush like schoolgirls.

z’Bumba plays forró, (fo-HOh,) rowdy roots music from Northeastern Brazil.  You don’t need fancy costumes or high heels to dance to this music, just a smile, some style, and a stranger.

The Saucy Brazilian accordion stew of Forró

zb ss 071313cThousands of miles northeast of Rio, there’s a dusty land where Afro-Brazilian rhythm meets bittersweet, baroque  harmonies in an earthy, accordion-rich stew called forró (fo-HOh.)

Thousands of miles northwest of Brazil, there’s a soggy land where naked cyclists rule the streets, irony is rampant, and locals are just as likely to dance forró as alien-robot dubstep.

It doesn’t matter whether you call it Brazilian Zydeco or salsa-meets-polka– just grab someone you like or think you might, hold them close, and start a wiggling two-step like you forgot what ‘puritan culture’ means.

Welcome to forró.

Saturday, July 13, 9:00pm – 12:00am
the Secret Society, 116 NE Russell, PDX
21 and over. $8, $7 advance

Because chocolate moustache cookies.

How are these pictures even a promo stunt for Saturday’s show?

Because chocolate moustache cookies!

Sad to say in this band, we had to put ‘cookies’ in that sentence, because several members got the wrong idea.

Click for bigger versions.

Why should you come see our show Saturday?  Chocolate moustache cookies*! Duh!

*The food at secret society’s not bad, but as far as we know, said cookies will not be available.

Next month: unicorns.

z’Bumba wants YOU!

Sooo much goes on behind the scenes at one of these shows! Whether you’re broke or just want to be a part of the magic, we’ re always happy to provide comp tickets for anyone who’s interested in helping put on shows.  We always need help doing any or all of the following:


  • Putting the word out on social media, email, SMS, etc. (before the show)
  • Staffing the merch table
  • Load-in / out, before the show, after, or both
  • Taking photos, video, or audio recordings
  • Putting up/taking down decorations or stage direction for special events like Carnaval or Festa Junina
  • Circulating the mailing list signup clipboard

Let us know! contact jake (at) zbumba (dot) com . We’ll fill you in with all the details and make sure you get taken care of. Thanks!

Festa Junina: Costumes


One of the great things about the Brazilian June festivals – ‘Festa Junina‘ – is that it’s really easy to dress up for them.   Or is that dress down? How Portlander perfect: a party with a theme of 90’s faux-lumberjack grunge!


What to wear:

  • Plaid or gingham shirts, skirts, dresses
  • overalls / highwater jeans all rolled up (remember non-skinny jeans?)
  • Cross-dressing opportunities will be rampant
  • Optional: Priest, Bride (Bonus if pregnant), Princess, Queen, Cangaçeiro, or Billy Idol!

the Matuto Makeover table

We’ll be bringing our Festa Junina box, but there probably won’t be enough for everybody. So, if you have any of the following.. Bring it!

  • Accessories:
    Straw hats,
    bandannas / ascots
    hair-ties (for pigtails)
    a bridal veil and baby-sized pillow (a shotgun wedding theme is standard)
    a bridal ‘bouquet’
  • Makeup: (how-to video)
    burnt cork for fake beards
    eyeliner for fake freckles
    rouge for that raggedy Ann/Andy rosy-cheek look
    black candles to black out teeth

Here’s a great web page with more ideas… and another!

Putting on a Festa Junina takes a community… Let us know if you’d like to help out. We’re looking for people to staff the makeover table (we provide tooth-blackout training,) take photos, help put up the traditional bandierinhas, help lead the quadrilhas and cirandas, etc!

We’re especially curious if anyone has a wedding dress for a 275 lb. man.

Enxuga o Rato!

Wednesday is z’Bumba rehearsal night at Casa Carlitos. Gaby and Blake were sick tonight, and it was nice out, so the remaining four of us just decided to go out back and make videos.

Enxuga o Rato is a kind of a forró standard, and it’s one of our favorites.  It’s probably a “folia de 8-baixos” an old-school instrumental played on a little eight-bass accordion.  It was written by José Moreno in the 70’s and covered by a million forró stars. Maybe that’s why we included it in a medley on our EP!

The title means “dry the rat.”  Various different people from various parts of Brazil told us what they thought it ACTUALLY meant. One Paulista said that it referred to a marriage-minded gold-digger (we believed him, so Jake once stumbled his way out of announcing that while we were playing a wedding gig)  A Carioca said it meant something like “Carpe Diem.”  A Capixaba told us it meant something like “Hop to it.” or “Git it!”

Finally, Jake asked Pernambucano Maracatú teacher Nininho.  Through various whistling motions, vaguely obscene gestures and a few well-placed words, Nininho implied that it had something to do with couples dancing forró real close, and that was all I needed to know.

Blooper reel is on the way.

Squaredancing with the Saints:  São João / Festa Junina  

(poster for 6/8 show)

poster: Michael Galen

“…So these three Brazilian saints walk into a Brazilian squaredance…”

It sounds like a corny joke, but Festa Junina — the traditional Guinness record-setting Brazilian festivals of Saints John, Peter, and  Anthony,  are the ‘high holy days’ of the rootsy, raucous and rhythmic accordion music  known as Forró (fo-HOh.)

You don’t need to buy a plane ticket to  experience forró firsthand.  z’Bumba’s putting on its own Festa Junina at  Secret Society on Saturday, June 8, with special decorations, costumes,  and dances.

The caipira (‘hillbilly’) makeover table makes its return to  augment the traditional costume– plaid shirts, gingham dresses, and overalls–to help you get into the spirit of the party.

In addition to  the band’s regular rebellious repertoire, the band stays true to tradition, whipping up the entire audience in a  giant quadrilha: Brazilian squaredance with a groove.

There is really  nothing quite like a roomful of beery, plaided Portlanders dressed like Brazilian hillbillies dancing  in a giant circle. Viva São  João!