Get Into The Fat Tuesday Spirit With The Billboard Mardi Gras 2018 Playlist

Heightening the excitement this year is the increasing American receptivity to international rhythms and songs. A particularly colorful aspect of the Carnival events will be the presentation of Brazil's newest dance craze--the bum-bum (pronounced boom-boom) dance--by L.A.'s most appealing Brazilian dance ensemble, Christiane Callil and the Girls From Ipanema. A kind of combination of the sexiness of the lambada and the fun of the macarena, the bum-bum gets hips moving and feet tapping.

Carnival in Rio--and most parts of Brazil, for that matter--is one of the entertainment wonders of the world. Samba "schools" fill the streets with thousands of drummers and dancers, all garbed in brilliantly colored regalia and costuming that may have taken as long as an entire year to prepare.

"In Brazil, Carnival is a time when the poor people of the country become the most important people, by putting on costumes and singing and dancing," says Sao Paulo-born dancer-singer Callil, whose Carmen Miranda impression will be one of the highlights of her performances with the Girls From Ipanema. "On the Saturday and Sunday before Lent, everybody watches the samba school contests, with their incredible costumes and the music and samba rhythms, which never stop."

Some of the flavor of Rio Carnival will be present in Callil's performances at the House of Blues tonight and the Century Club Friday. Each performance will feature samba dances and songs, rhythmic percussion and elaborate costume contests, with vacations to Rio among the grand prizes. Callil says some participants are expected to turn up in outfits that would be competitive even in the multihued costume caldrons of Rio.

On Saturday night at the Palladium, Carnaval '97 kicks off its 16th year with a program that includes costume contests and appearances by Bahia's Samba Reggae and L.A.'s Samba School organizations.

Los Angeles may not compete with Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but anyone who's looking will find blackened snapper, turtle soup and zydeco music.

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Carnival and Mardi Gras: From AfroBrasil to Zydecats

Here's a selective list of Carnival and Mardi Gras events:

House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 9 tonight: Brazilian Carnaval, an evening of Brazilian acts with costume contests, etc., featuring Christiane Callil and the Girls From Ipanema, singer Eliane Estavao and Zelao & Lois. (213) 650-1451.

Century Club, 10131 Constellation Blvd., Century City, 8 p.m. Friday and Feb. 21: An evening of Brazilian Carnival, also featuring Christiane Callil and the Girls From Ipanema. (310) 553-6000.

Moonlight Tango, 13730 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 7:30 p.m. Friday: Zydeco music by Lisa Haley and the Zydecats and a Mardi Gras menu. (818) 788-2000.

Rancho Santa Susana Park, Simi Valley, 6 p.m. Friday: The Krewe of Bon Temps La Louisianne offers its annual Mardi Gras bash: costume awards, party favors, live music and dancing. (805) 581-0619.

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Get Into The Fat Tuesday Spirit With The Billboard Mardi Gras 2018 Playlist

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