Rafael Pondé, an accomplished Philadelphia-based musician, originally from Salvador, in The State of Bahia, Brazil, promotes cultural understanding and combats racism through music. Early recognition began in 1999, when he participated in the Bahian Music Festival by University of Vitória da Conquista. Here he and The Curupira band won the blessing of Waly Salomão, one of the greatest "Tropicalia" poets.This led to Rafael being placed in the hall of the greats "novissimos baianos.” Waly traveled with the young Rafael to São Paulo to record the program "Música brasileira" in the studios of Trama, with João Marcelo Bôscoli, the son of the legendary Elis Regina.
Rafael has recorded six albums, and has toured Europe and Latin America, and played in The Weltkulture festival in Germany in 2010, among other important european festivals .In 2016, Rafael was elected as "Brazilian cultural ambassador" for the program "Partners of America" (Founded in 1964 by JFK) from the American department of State. After being coming to USA since 2014 with grants from Bahia government and Brazil´s federal government he is living now between Brazil and the city of Philadelphia. His workshops, concerts and speeches share Brazilian culture and focus on building cultural understanding and overcoming racism through music and the arts. More at www.rafaelponde.com.br
Singer-songwriter Cissa Paz has made a name for herself in Washington DC as an eclectic performer influenced by the local jazz sounds and her Brazilian African-Indigenous background. Nominated for 3 Wammies, her debut album gained great organic momentum. Cissa’s captivating stage presence and soulful voice bring music that is upbeat and engaging. She’s known and loved among the lovers and dancers of Brazilian music not only as a performer, but as an ambassador of her genre. Her upcoming album promises a combination of Afro-Brazilian base with funky and soulful influences. A musical melting pot of fresh collaborations with highly acclaimed artists from her home country.
Cissa’s self-titled album released in September, 2015 “is unexpectedly playful and whimsical in the nicest sense of the word, and we almost always end up falling in love with her on this…The bounding momentum of some of her sambas is uncompromising and she evokes the joie de vivre of much that is beautiful about being Brasilian.” (World Music Report).
Born in Belgium by chance, Cissa was raised mostly in Rio de Janeiro. She began her musical love affair by spending afternoons with the sounds of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Elis Regina and other Brazilian greats coming from her parents’ record player. Her musical tastes matured as she kept sampling the musical diversity of the world. Her dance background is reflected on her music and is why most of her songs have a rhythmic sound that gets people on their feet. More at www.cissapaz.com
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