At Cafe Saint-Ex, the Rhythms of a Brazilian Night

Friday, January 11, 2008

There's something about Brazilian music that just pulls people onto the dance floor, whether it's the sensual groove of "The Girl From Ipanema," propulsive samba beats or the latest electro-funk track fro m Cansei de Ser Sexy.

Just try to stand still at Brazilian Rhythms, a free monthly dance party at Cafe Saint-Ex, where DJ Neville Chamberlain (a.k.a. Neal Becton) keeps a packed house on its feet until 2 a.m. with a mix of classic samba, groovy '70s tropicalia, percussive batucada rhythms, disco and baile funk, the hip electronic music coming out of Rio.

Becton, a former Post employee, traveled to South America three times in the past four years, checked out parties in Rio and Sao Paulo and hauled back as much music as he could carry.

Fueled by $5 caipirinhas -- the national drink of Brazil, made with Cachaca, a sugar cane liquor, and plenty of lime juice -- Brazilian Rhythms has exploded since it took a regular spot on the lounge's calendar a few months ago. It has Brazilian expats mingling with hipsters and world music fans. Even if you don't know the steps to the samba, after a few songs and a caipirinha or two, you'll be ready to fake it.

-- Fritz Hahn

BRAZILIAN RHYTHMS is Thursday and the third Thursday of every month at Cafe Saint-Ex, 1847 14th St. NW, 202-265-7839.

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