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Neal Becton runs Som Records on U Street, but he also goes by DJ Neville Chamberlain for his “Brazilian Rhythms” dance night at St. Ex every third Thursday. He’s celebrating the party’s third anniversary tonight at the usual venue, and he’ll be joined by DJ Provoke and a bar menu of Brazilian food and drink specials. (Get a caipirinha.) Covering a wide gamut of Brazilian sounds, DJs Chamberlain and Provoke will spin samba, bossa nova, batucada, tropicalia, MPB, baile funk, hip-hop, forro, carimbo, axe, pagode, and samba reggae and samba rock. Chamberlain answered Arts Desk’s questions via e-mail:
Any special new acquisitions, or just your already extensive collection?
Both. I usually acquire 10 to 15 new Brazilian LPs every month so there’s always something new. DJ Tudo from Sao Paulo just came through town and we did some trading. He’s a well known collector in Brazil and he brought about 50 LPs for me to look at. Got some really good (and rare) forro and carimbo LPs from him.
When did you first get into Brazilian music?
I bought the David Byrne Beleza Tropical compilation when it first came out in 1989 and was hooked right away. It used to be easy to find random (and cheap) Brazilian LPs in the “world” or “Latin” sections of used record stores so I started buying anything I ran across. Found lots of great stuff (and discovered some duds) along the way. I saw David Byrne at a Carlinhos Brown concert in New York ten years ago and was going to thank him for starting my obsession but I chickened out.
You have been there, right? More than once?
After years of talking about it I finally went there in 2003. Been three times now and am planning to go back next year for my birthday which happens to be a big festival date in Brazil (June 24).
Who is DJ Provoke and does he/she have a Brazilian specialty?
DJ Provoke is Patrick Gordy who works with me at Som Records and DJs at Marvin, ESL, and other spots around town. He’s a huge record collector who got bit by the Brazilian bug as well and is amassing a pretty nice collection in his own right. Provoke doesn’t really have a specialty but you can pretty much guarantee whatever he plays will be funky.
Are you looking forward to another thee years? Any story involving the event that emphasizes why it is a special event?
As long as folks keep coming out and dancing I’ll keep doing it. The night was originally inspired by the Brazilian Beat Brooklyn nights at Black Betty. They used to play every Sunday night (they’ve since moved to a new venue) but I was amazed at the variety of Brazilian music they played and the crowds that turned out. I thought D.C. could support a night like that and I was right. We had a great crowd from almost the beginning and got nice early support from the Washington Post and BYT which helped. We get more and more Brazilians each month which is a great sign. Three years is a lifetime in the fickle club scene so I’m elated that new folks keep coming and the base crowd keeps dancing.
Brazilian Rhythms 3rd Anniversary Party Thursday October 21 at 9:30 p.m. at Cafe Saint- Ex, 1847 14th Street NW. FREE. (202) 265-7839