The exotically beautiful brunette is a featured performer at Brazilian Carnaval 2005, taking place this Saturday night in Long Beach. "I can’t be static. I’m very expressive," says Moraes.
Moraes has performed with Sergio Mendes, Rita Lee and a number of bands playing Latin pop to acid jazz. At this year’s Brazilian Carnaval she will present her solo show Pure Samba, paying homage to 20th century composers. She relocated to Los Angeles in 1990, and among her credits is a prestigious award for this production that comprises interpretive performances of her country’s influential musical history.
In her spare time when she’s not performing as a soloist or with her trio band Sambaguru, she publishes Brazilian Heart, a monthly newsletter.
"It’s a way of communicating with my fans and friends, and letting them know what’s going on in the culture and music," she says.
Teaching is also on Moraes’ agenda at Synthesis Dance Studios in Universal City on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. In her class called Dance with a Brazilian Heart, "I do stretching with yoga positions that I like, then Brazilian dance and then aerobic relaxation," says Moraes with a laid-back Brazilian Portuguese accent.
Moraes has learned to sing in French, German and Italian but finds the trickiest accents are presented in her voiceover work for commercials or film. The studio call necessitates Moraes to ask the director if he wants her to present in Portuguese as a native to Brazil or Portugal.
"It’s like, you know, the difference in English if an American or Australian speaks," she clarifies.
A production Moraes is very proud to speak of is the film Woman on Top (Fox Searchlight) in which she and Sambaguru performed for the musical score. It was a lucky break that materialized out of a fan’s love of their songs.
"[The fan] said he has a friend who is a director of the movie. [The director] wanted music that was really Brazil," says Moraes.
Sambaguru bandleader, keyboardist and composer Bill Brendle pleased the film’s director with his creative suggestions.
"We recorded two shows with Sambaguru for the movie. [The director] liked it, and a year later asked us to play at her Christmas party. So you never know," says Moraes with a laugh.
Later this year, Moraes looks forward to releasing a new collection of songs in Portuguese with Sambaguru, a third album to follow Live 2003, derived from their performance at La Ve Lee in Studio City where they regularly play.
And aside from her solo album in the works, Moraes will also tour with Amsterdam artist Praful and his group. She finds it fun to present acid jazz with him in an improvisational style.
She has only one annoyance in working with Praful’s band. "They kept changing their name – they were called Lounge, now they are Chill," she says.
But her motto is "Life is good. Be joyful," and she finds something good in every experience. This month, she’s excited to perform again at Brazilian Carnaval 2005. She knows the event well, having appeared four times previously as singer, dancer and emcee.
Moraes promises a great party this year, featuring the legendary singer, guitarist and composer Jorge Ben Jor who is coveted in Europe and covered by artists everywhere.
Also appearing will be the OYA Brazil Samba Show Dancers with extravagant performances of samba, lambada and pagode. Fans will also be delighted to experience capoeira, a traditional martial arts dance. The percussion troupe of M.I.L.A. Samba School lead by Brazilian founder Luiz Ferreira will also be offering high-energy beats.
Brazilian Carnaval 2005 will be telecast from Rio de Janeiro on big screens all night long with views of the giant dance floor and stage performers.
The Aquadome is located adjacent to the Queen Mary at 1126 Queens Highway, in Long Beach. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.Pelourinho.com or Brazilian Nites at (818) 566-1111. Tickets for this all-ages event may be available at the Queen Mary box office the day of the event. For more information, visit www.braziliannites.com. Price: $35-$65