Music to kids’ ears 

Whistler Children’s Art Festival grooves to the Mardi Gras beat with Ache Brasil

click to enlarge Kids Just Want to Have Fun. A young audience member attending the Ache Brasil performance last year at MY Millennium Place was shaken up by the colourful, bead swinging antics of one of the troupe's Mardi Gras dancers. Photo by Nicole Fitzgerald.
  • Kids Just Want to Have Fun. A young audience member attending the Ache Brasil performance last year at MY Millennium Place was shaken up by the colourful, bead swinging antics of one of the troupe's Mardi Gras dancers. Photo by Nicole Fitzgerald.

What: Whistler Children’s Art Festival

When: July 14-15

Where: Creekside

Ache Brasil combines all of the glitz and glamour of Carnival dancing with the high-flying acrobatics of Capoeira; what kid, or adult, wouldn’t want to dance and cheer along?

“Kids love the show,” said Eclilson De Jesus, capoeira master and artistic director of Ache Brasil. “They get very excited about the energy we have on stage and all of the different costumes and colours. Kids especially love the acrobatic movement.”

Ache Brasil is one of more than a dozen entertainment acts taking to the 24th annual Whistler Children’s Art Festival mainstage Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Creekside.

Last year’s sold out performance at MY Millennium Place had everyone on their feet, applauding the dance spectacles of maculele, samba de roda, caboclo and gangazumba. Most even danced along.

“In Whistler, people really like to dance,” he said. “We had conga lines going and all sorts of fun.”

The traditional fuses with modern, in instances intertwining age old practices with hip hop and house beats.

“It is very important to us,” he said. “Brazil always mixes up styles. We want to show all sides of Brazilian culture.”

Capoeira is a crowd favourite, with astonishing displays of acrobatics and breathtaking kicks to the beats of the traditional stringed instrument, the berimbaus. The ancient dance sprung from the plight of African slaves who immigrated to northeast Brazil and sought to free themselves from their oppressors.

The joy of culture and history will also be shared throughout the performance.

“It is important for us to talk about where Brazil is and which language we speak, the instruments and the names of the dances we do from all different parts of Brazil,” said the native Brazilian.

Ache Brasil has won over children throughout North America, sharing their love of Brazilian music and dance with more than 4,000 schools and children’s festivals for nearly two decades.

Ache Brasil is only one of many entertainers taking to the mainstage.

Art Napoleon hails from the Saulteaux First Nations in northern B.C. The singer/songwriter traverses country, roots-rock and tribal beats to share his stories and charm.

Circus Fungus fires the imagination with magical entertainment, costumed characters, captivating storytellers and lively puppets.

The Kids on the Block animate life-size puppets to sing and discuss topics such as bullying, school safety and sibling relationships.

Black Swade rocks out from Squamish with 14-year-old band members who competed in Seattle’s EMP Sound Off Underage Band Competition. From Whistler First Night to the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival mainstages, these young music enthusiasts know how to work a crowd.

The Blues Berries harmonize West Coast Music Award-winning sounds tackling children’s topics, such as learning the alphabet to never talking to strangers.

Bobs and Lolo Musical Adventures celebrate healthy living and green thinking in their singing-dancing celebration.

Ishtar is all about acrobatic flair. Look out for the roaming circus entertainers who fuse together to create diverse acro-aerial feats.

The Kostaman Trio needs no introduction around these parts. The local world-beat reggae troupe continues to spread their groovin’ love through music and the Bands Against Hunger Society.

Kunaka beats out Zimbabwean marimbas and African drums to introduce afro-based cultures to kids’ dancing feet.

Magic Show 2 Go is just as it sounds. Part magic, part juggling and comedy; this crazy entertainer won numerous awards, including Family Entertainer of the Year.

Rick Scott crosses over music with humour for an award-winning show. His Juno-nominated music led to the NAPPA Gold and Parents’ Choice Silver Honour Awards in the U.S. The Goodwill Ambassador for the Down Syndrome Research Foundation is also a regular on Treehouse television.

Just look for the funny hat. Whistler’s storytelling serenader Stephen Vogler reels in young and old with tall tales that have graced the airwaves of CBC Radio’s Ideas, DNTO and Outfront programs.

The Ta Daa Lady recruits audiences for her puppet-led storytelling yarns that work their way through the festival in a Pied Piper style fashion. The puppet creation station is her final destination where kids can invent stories and characters to take home.

Zany Zack is a living cartoon character full of energy, humour and magic. With his mastery of the drums, dulcimer, flute, lute, harmonica, saxophone, mandolin and bouzouki, you never know what silliness he is going to get into.

Mainstage performances along with other roving characters, music sideshows and activities are included in the festival admission.

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