NextLOOK residency 2020

We are excited to announce that Samba Jig founders Pablo Regis and Kate Spanos are involved in a project that has been awarded a 2019-2020 NextLOOK residency at Joe’s Movement Emporium in partnership with The Clarice. With dance artist Sinclair Ogaga Emoghene, we will be creating a new work exploring performances of “Otherness” through the music and dance traditions of Nigeria and Brazil. Our residency will culminate with a performance on Friday, May 8, 2020. Mark your calendars now!

NextLOOK supports the development of new music, plays, dance and other experiences by regionally-based performing artists. Artists are mentored by seasoned arts administrators from The Clarice and Joe’s Movement Emporium to construct innovative methods of deepening the audience’s involvement in their creative process. By removing logistical barriers of cost and space, and providing a sounding board for artists creating new work, NextLOOK invests in the regional arts ecology and creates an accessible, exploratory environment that connects intriguing artists with adventurous audiences.

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Announcing our first annual Samba, Choro & Jazz Concert Series

Samba Jig Productions is excited to announce our first annual Samba, Choro & Jazz Concert Series for Fall 2018. The series brings four critically acclaimed international performing artists to the Washington, DC metropolitan area. These artists represent the highest level of samba music and choro (an instrumental Brazilian jazz). This year’s artist line-up includes the Hamilton de Holanda Trio, Neguinho da Beija-Flor, Choro Das 3, and the Brazilian Strings Trio.

The 2018 Samba, Choro & Jazz Concert Series was created by Samba Jig Productions founders Pablo Regis and Kate Spanos, in partnership with the The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. The series engages audiences in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with a creative and talented roster of Brazilian performers. This is the latest effort in Samba Jig’s work to bring more Brazilian artists to a region that is typically overlooked when they tour the United States. In addition to the concert series, Samba Jig will offer interactive workshops with the artists and moderated pre-show talks with local experts on Brazilian music to foster audience-performer interaction and learning. (Details forthcoming.)

Brazil’s diverse music, ranging from cool bossa nova jazz to percussive Afro-Brazilian rhythms, has played an influential role in shaping global and American music, as well as received influences from around the world. The 2018 Samba, Choro & Jazz Concert Series opens the universe of these Brazilian music genres to DC area audiences, and brings these visiting artists in touch with new publics. Each of these artists demonstrates a unique take on samba, choro, or Brazilian jazz, exemplifying just how rich, fun, and interactive these genres are.

For more information about the series, please visit

Pablo Regis wins Maryland State Arts Council 2018 Individual Artist Award

We are proud to announce that Pablo Regis has won a 2018 Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council for Non-Classical Music: Solo Performance!

The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) has announced that $225,000 has been awarded to 78 Maryland artists through the 2018 Individual Artist Awards (IAA). This year’s awardees were chosen from a group of 367 applicants and represent some of the state’s leading playwrights, craft makers, photographers, and non-classical music composers and performers. Each year, MSAC recognizes the outstanding artistic achievements of artists from across Maryland to honor their work and showcase their importance to the cultural fabric of our state, supporting their creative potential and strengthening their impact on the local level.

Through a process administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), awardees are chosen, based solely on artistic merit, by an out-of-state jury of discipline-specific experts.

The full press release and list of awardees can be found here:
Maryland State Arts Council announces Individual Artist Awards for 2018

Read more about the MSAC Individual Artist Award here:

Monobloco in DC/Baltimore

Monobloco selfie

We had a blast at the Monobloco percussion workshop at the Ambassador’s Residence at the Embassy of Brazil in DC on Wednesday! Thanks to Ambassador Luis Alberto Figueiredo Machado and his wife Maria Angelica Ikeda for hosting, and cultural attaché Jean Karydakis for helping us organize the event. We had tamborins, caixas, repiniques, agogôs, chocalhos, and surdos, and we learned to work together to create a pretty groovy sound! The evening ended with a stunning demonstration by Monobloco that brought smiles to everyone’s faces and samba steps into our feet.

Monobloco talks through some theory and technique  Students learn a basic rhythm on tamborim

The concert at the Creative Alliance was the dance party of the year! The caipirinhas were flowing and everyone was on their feet dancing, jumping, and singing. Chants of “Para porque? Porque para?” led to a 45-minute encore that brought Monobloco into the crowd, carnival street-style! We plan to bring Monobloco back next year, so stay tuned.

Thanks to Alex da Luz from Barbecue Brazil for sponsoring the event and providing food for the band. We showed them that they are always welcome here in Washington, DC!

Barbecue Brazil

Check out videos from the events:

Monobloco works with percussion students at a workshop at the Ambassador’s Residence at the Embassy of Brazil in Washington, DC.

Monobloco joins the crowd, carnival-style, at their concert at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD.

Check out more videos on our Monobloco in DC playlist.

Barbecue Brazil

Live music at the Grill on Sunday 1/31

Come to the Grill from Ipanema in Adams Morgan neighborhood in DC for live Brazilian music! It is Restaurant Week for the Grill, so don’t miss out on this offer for a $35 three-course dinner. Plus you get to listen and dance to some lively samba, choro, forró, bossa nova, and other Brazilian music styles!

Check out the band’s rehearsal video for a taste of things to come:

SambApp is now available on the App Store

SambApp screenshot-1-4.0

Our newest app, SambApp, is now available for purchase on the App Store! This project has been in development for a year–our team (Pablo, Steve, and Kate) spent months painstakingly recording the instruments, writing the code, designing the interface, and refining the audio quality of the sound clips.

SambApp is a Brazilian rhythm metronome, including samba, choro, forró, and capoeira. It’s like having one or two percussionists playing for you at exactly at the speed, volume and in the style you want. It is a tool for music or dance practice and performance, just like any other metronome, but we figured it would be much more productive and pleasurable to practice forró or samba-choro with an instrument as opposed to a metronome click. SambApp also functions as a drum machine that can be used in live settings. If you are lacking an extra percussion instrument or musician, SambApp can step in as your your pandeiro, shaker, and/or berimbau player.

Check out more information about the app on the SambApp page, and visit the App Store to purchase today!


The SambaJig team, Kate & Pablo, saw the innovative and refreshing CyberTrad music project last week 11/21 at Carroll Cafe in Takoma Park, DC. The show was a musical exploration on combining traditional styles of Irish and Breton music with hip hop, Quebecois, and funk. The combination of different styles, old and new, analog to digital is a most interesting topic for us. CyberTrad is a refreshing demonstration of how thoughtful rhythmic collaborations can take place across genres and cultures. The performers explored the differences between their styles through the common language of rhythm, and they remained sensitive to each other’s traditional forms while, at the same time, daring to innovate on those traditions.

The ensemble is led by Matthew Olwell on several different types of flute and percussive dance, and features Shodekeh Talifero on beatbox, and Aimee Curl on vocals and standup bass. We were excited to learn that the the show was one of several performances CyberTrad have before recording a CyberTrad album, which should be out in 2016.

CyberTrad  CyberTrad  CyberTrad

Samba Jig on stage

It’s a busy week of rehearsals for Samba Jiggers Pablo and Kate this week!

Cissa Paz and Friends

Check out Cissa Paz & Friends on Thursday, July 30th at 10pm at Bossa Bistro+Lounge in Adams Morgan. Cissa will be joined by Pablo on cavaco, Lucas Ashby on drums/percussion, and John Lee on guitar. Get there early for Dee and Amtchat’s samba de gafieira (partner samba) and forró (Brazilian two-step) dance lessons at 7:30pm so you can tear up the dance floor when the band takes the stage.

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Washington Sound Museum Hip Hop Meets Ireland

On August 1st and 2nd, see what happens when Hip-Hop Meets the Music & Dance of Ireland. This collaboration between progressive hip hop artist and beatboxer Christylez Bacon and Irish sean-nós dancer and musician Shannon Dunne explores the connections between African American and Irish percussive styles. A variety of guest musicians and dancers (including Kate!) will join Bacon’s Washington Sound Museum orchestra this weekend for what is sure to be a unique and exciting show. Show times are 8pm on August 1 and 3pm on August 2 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in NE DC.

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Introducing SambApp: the samba metronome

Welcome to the first SambApp-related blog entry! Read on to follow the development of our “samba metronome” for the iPhone. Be sure to check back periodically for updates. We welcome your questions and comments. What do you think of a samba metronome? Would that be useful to you? What features should it have to be useful and fun?

Pandeiro recording

You may be asking, why a samba metronome? There are no two ways about it: Practicing music with a metronome is essential. But is also soooo frustrating! As a Brazilian music-focused musician, I had dreamt of a more pleasurable and organic way of practicing standard Brazilian genres. I found myself pondering, “What if I had a portable percussionist in my pocket to accompany me during those moments when I need a steady groove for practice or performance? Isn’t there ‘An App for That’?” It turns out there was not.

Kate developer 2
SambApp programmer Kate hard at work

I have a smartphone but am not smart enough to translate the concept into the phone. Luckily it turns out that fellow Samba Jig Productions co-founder Kate is a badass coder! We brainstormed what a “samba metronome” would look like and how it would function. SambApp was born. After creating a storyboard and then a working demo version with a Zoom H4N Handy Portable Digital Recorder, we realized the need for professional recording quality. We recruited our good friend Steve, who is a fantastic musician and sound engineer, to faithfully and tirelessly record the many instruments and create loops of the various rhythm clips. You should see the list of tracks we have!

SambaApp Sound Development    Berimbau recording
Sound engineer Steve and I working on pandeiro and berimbau recordings

We are nearly done with the recordings and moving on to cleaning the loops and equalizing. We are very happy with the results. But we want you to know that although it may look simple, it’s not! Every step of the recording, programming and design process took more time and effort than we expected. So, we are sharing with you a sample of the work and love that goes into our creation.

Kate developer 3    Kate developer 1
The ups and downs of SambApp coding

Pablo Regis de Oliveira
Co-founder, Samba Jig Productions