By Maíra Amorim, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The Imperial Orchestra will be throwing the 8th edition of their annual Valentine’s Day Ball on June 10th, and though it may sound a touch formal, it’s actually one of the best options to enjoy the day (which is celebrated on June 12th in Brazil) – even if you don’t have a date.
The Orquestra Imperial was formed by musicians from several bands such as Rodrigo Amarante (Los Hermanos and Little Joy), Moreno Veloso (son of the legendary Caetano Veloso), and previously included Seu Jorge, who first got together in 2002 with the intention of playing the kind of music they couldn’t with their original bands.
Boleros, themes from the 60s and 70s and classics from the gafieiras (the most traditional samba venues where couples dance beautifully together) were incorporated to the set list in contemporary versions.
It didn’t take long before the Orchestra’s presentations became successful in Rio’s nightlife scene. Everyone wanted to find out what was coming out of this reunion of so many great musicians, even after Seu Jorge left the group to be replaced by two beautiful women: Thalma de Freitas (who is also an actress) and Nina Becker (singer and clothing designer).
The cast of the Orchestra is one of the reasons it became so famous, but what people really enjoy is the way they are discovering old songs and introducing it to the audience. The first Valentine’s Day Ball took place in 2002 and is now an official event in the city’s calendar as well as a brilliant alternative to celebrate the day in a different atmosphere, rather than simply waiting in line to get into a restaurant.
The Ball is named so because the Orchestra wants the audience to dance – which is commonly associated with “bailes” in Brazil. It’s really just a concert with a lot of artists on stage, a very relaxed atmosphere and big sense of collective unity, after all they are friends playing and having a good time.
The musicians also throw regular Carnival Balls where everyone goes in costume, including (and especially) the musicians, but at the Valentine’s Day Ball expect them to include some more romantic songs, as well as hits like “Devagar com a Louça” and other sambas that can be danced to individually.
Orquestra Imperial released an EP of four songs in 2007, which was quickly followed by their first album “Carnaval Só No Ano Que Vem” (Carnival Only Next Year) with their own compositions. It was also released in Europe, where they have played at such festivals as Roskilde (Denmark) and Cartagena (Spain). The band returns to Europe next month to perform in England, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Orquestra Imperial Valentine’s Day Ball
May 10th – 10PM
Av. Venceslau Brás, 215, Botafogo
Tickets from R$60