The GuitarFish Music Festival is back on Donner Summit in late July with a musical lineup of  “all groove-oriented, happy, uplifting, sexy, fun, and kid-friendly” music from artists like Orgone, Joe Craven, and Pimps of Joytime, says event organizer and 30-year local Brent Dana.

Among them is SambaDá, an eclectic group of musicians with a jazzy, tropical sound. The band members hail from Santa Cruz, but their musical influences come from a place far warmer — Afro-Brazilian percussion music, also called bloco afro.  

Founder Papiba Godinho brings in capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines dance, music, and acrobatics to much of the arrangements he does for SambaDá, while Dandha Da Hora adds the spirit of Salvador. From the other six members of the band comes a blend of Samba-reggae, surf-rock, and a California funk sound that does a good job of putting a groove in your back pocket.


SambaDá’s music celebrates all seasons and walks of life. “I love watching the audience respond to our music,” said Anne Stafford, who plays saxophone, flute, and clarinet for the group. “We’re all creating something unique together.”

Its head-bopping, foot-tapping, pulsating beat can be heard from one of the two different stages at GuitarFish’s Cisco Grove campsite.

Dana said to expect parading from one stage to the next after some of the 90-minute performances. The idea is to “get everyone together to have a walkabout to the other stage,” he said. “That’s when the colorful folks have a good time.”

Grooving through music brings a sort of unity, he said, and “being in the groove” is to feel the rhythmic pulse of the one unifying pattern of sound.

Connecting with fellow music enthusiasts is Dana’s favorite element about the festival.
“I wanted everyone to feel a part of this, that we’re in this together,” he said, “[that] the musicians are one of us.”

And remember that at the GuitarFish Festival, blue is the new green when it comes to thinking about environmental responsibility. This is because the festival’s focus is on water preservation. The intent of the organizers was “to raise awareness of overfishing and pollution of the ocean and to help preserve our fresh watersheds, rivers and streams,” according to the GuitarFish website.


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