2017 Festival Performer Biographies

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Adenilson Jose Dos Santos, a.k.a. Mestre Doutor, is a Capoeira Master and a Berimbau craftsman.  A native of Brazil, Adenilson has been a practitioner of Capoeira for 39 years and has devoted his life to the preservation and sharing of this Brazilian folk art.


Capoeira was created by African slaves as a means to protect themselves from their oppressors over 500 years ago and is practiced with the sound of the Berimbau, a single-string musical bow.  Its elements of ritualized combat weave together in an intricate dialogue of movements combined with aspects of dance, acrobatics, music, and self-defense.  Messier Doutor has taken seriously the commitment to spread the skills of capoeira around the world and has done so with the highest skill, integrity, and dedication to the tradition.


Adenilson Dos Santos is an exceptionally gifted teacher of Capoeira.  His passion and dedication are reflected in his commitment to the preservation of Afro-Brazilian roots and make him a strong role model, invaluable teacher and inspirational leader.  Adenilson Dos Santos is the founder of Project Capoeira, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that fosters intercultural understanding and a sense of community through arts education and social outreach.  Project Capoeira is also the organizer of Brazilian Day Philadelphia, a festival that boasts an empowering mission to bring the best of Brazil to Philadelphia, build community, and celebrate diversity.





DJ Erv Master has been DJing for the best Brazilian events around the nation for the last 18 years and he has been the official DJ of Brazilian Day New York for the past 15 years.  With experience playing for over 1 million people at a time, DJ Erv Master always brings limitless energy and excitement to the event and gets everyone dancing.  He is also the official DJ of the Miss Brazil USA pageant and can be found playing in many of the best clubs in U.S., Brazil and Canada.



Cleonice Fonseca, a Brazilian from Salvador - Bahia, began her career in the dance group of the Colégio Central de Bahia participating in projects and shows produced there.  She learned her first African dance techniques, folk, religious dances (orixás) and African contemporary with renowned teachers such as Raimundo Tição, Raimundo King, Raimunda Sena, Tania Bishop, Nildinha Fonseca and José Ricardo Santos.


As a member of the SESC Dance Group for 10 years, she participated in several shows produced by the entity for the promotion of African Dance and Brazilian folklore, including taking the show to other cities in Brazil and Santiago, Chile as the first international trip for cultural exchange.  As a dancer, she participated in other projects, dance groups and musical bands such as Banda Motumba, Dia e Noite (the state government project), Lagobada Group, Artists Meeting project (acting in the area of production).  She participated in African dance workshops conducted by the Bale Folklorico de Bahia, and African dance by Professor Oshuntiye Brown (USA).


Since June 2014, she has been living in Philadelphia where she teaches weekly Afro Brazilian dance workshops in collaboration with Mamadêlê Productions and Ascab Capoeira.  She also performs with Ologunde and Alo Brazil and teaches at an arts education program in South Philly coordinated by educator Howard Tucker.

Caique Vidal and Batuque is a unique band that brings
infectious energy and riveting dance grooves to the stage.
“Batuque” (pronounced ba-TOO-kee) means to drum. The
band delivers an explosive performance integrating the sounds
of Afro-Brazilian percussion with keyboards, bass, guitar and
horns to produce an innovative version of samba, reggae,
salsa, bachata, pop, rock and Bossa Nova. Vidal and Batuque
have performed at the Art of Cool-NC, Afro-Bahia Festival-NC,
Hardee’s Festival-VA, International Festival Raleigh, Fiesta del
Pueblo and others.

Caique Vidal and Batuque’s live performance is pure passion
and energy!


Marcus Santos and his network Grooversity:
A contemporary percussionist and educator, Marcus, is a native of Bahia, Brazil. He commits his life to the study, teaching and performance of his hometown's Afro-Brazilian music and heritage as well as World drumming diversity
Grooversity is an innovative and creative drumming network project envisioned by Brazilian percussionist Marcus Santos. Grooversity’s goal is to promote music as an educational resource, entertainment and as a catalyst for social change. Grooversity focuses on community outreach for a positive outcome while targeting global diversity awareness.

Get Loud and Proud with Fogo Azul NYC All women Brazilian Drumline. 
Fired Up!  With musical roots in Samba Reggae, FogoAzul NYC turns up the heat with thunderous Brazilian rhythms.  For years women danced and the men drummed. FogoAzul NYC breaks this stereotype and strives to make drumming accessible to all women—believing music and rhythm is in us all. We bring activism to an entertainment level, and are always recruiting women to join our ranks. No experience necessary! Let's get fired up!!!! 
Tag us : @fogoazulny
facebook, twitter and instagram: @fogoazulny

Nildinha Fonsêca began dancing at age 16 with Mestre King, who was the pioneer in Afro-Brazilian dance in Bahia, Brazil. In 1988 she joined the Folkloric Ballet of Bahia. A professor at Federal University of Bahia and Bahia Cultural Foundation, Nildinha has toured and given Afro-contemporary and religious dance workshops in Brazil, Europe, North America and Australia. Nildinha is an educator, dancer and choreographer and she has worked with artists such as Daniela Mercury and Carlinhos Brown. She has collaborated on a number of educational dance projects in Salvador and works with children, youth and low-income adults through dance. Daughter of Oba, Orixá that is the Queen of the Warriors, Fonsêca has an important role in the local community as a black movement activist, African-feminist and artist.

José Zé Ricardo Sousa is one of Bahia's most sought after instructors of traditional Afro-Brazilian music and dance. He is the musical director, composer, musician, and instructor of traditional Afro-Brazilian dance and music for Bahia’s celebrated company, the Balé Folclórico da Bahia. José Ricardo initiated his arts career in percussion and dance under the tutelage of Mestre King at the Serviço Social do Comércio (SESC) School of the Arts in 1985. He has toured and taught in Brazil, Europe, and in more than 120 cities in the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Togo and Benin. Since 1997, José Ricardo has conducted percussion and dance workshops with Viver Brasil’s Dancing the Source cultural immersion travel program, and in 2007, he toured nationally as the group’s guest musical director. He also returns to the group regularly to compose for and perform with them. José Ricardo was a guest instructor at the California Brazil Camp in the summer of 2012 and 2015, and he is a 2009 recipient of the prestigious Lester Horton award for excellence in music for dance.


Jeitinho recently became the first non-Brazilian Frevo champion outside of Brazil after participating in the first International European Frevo Encounter. He dedicates and makes tribute to the grand figures of Carnaval in Pernambuco. After searching for a prominent figure of Carnaval in Pernambuco, he became “O Homem da Meia-Noite,” one of the giant dolls that march the streets of Recife and Olinda. Every performance is a different performance, and the magic of “O Homem da Meia-Noite” exists only until midnight.


Efraim Silva, President and Artistic Director of Ginga Brasileira, was born in Guaruja, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He was awarded state and federal certification as a professional musician and rhythmist, and he opened his own Capoeira academy in Braganca Paulista, Sao Paulo, in 1985. He became Brazilian national champion of Capoeira in 1988. Efraim now teaches Capoeira for children and adults in the New Haven area, and has his own performing group, Ginga Brasileira, Inc., with which he performs in schools, universities and festivals all over the United States, Canada and Brazil.