Paulo Padilha in Grand Forks, ND

By Emily Anderson. Photos by Beto González.

Paulo Padilha and Group’s tour had folks of all ages in Grand Forks, North Dakota smiling and dancing to his samba beats. With over two decades of experience in music education with youth, he knows how to get students involved and interested in learning.

In Grand Forks, he had the opportunity to connect not only with youth, but with the young at heart as well. Thanks to North Valley Arts Council for hosting Paulo Padilha and Group and for arranging such a great residency!


Students at Red River high School join the band onstage to play percussion.


Dani gets the students smiling as she leads them in an exercise.


In nearby Emerado, the group lead K-8 students at Emerado School in a workshop.

Paulo and the group are no strangers to playing in high school gyms. It’s part of the Arts Midwest World Fest experience!


The group’s masterful percussionist Samba Sam is all smiles.


No Paulo Padilha and Group performance is complete until the audience is up and moving!

Paulo Padilha and Group stayed busy the whole week in Grand Forks, with three well attended workshops at Grand Forks Central High School. The group made fast friends with the music students during their tour of the high school’s many music rooms in their impressive new music department. The Central Knight Jazz band even invited the group to a jam session, and everyone loved the Latin twist that was infused into the music. It was a great time for everyone, and something the young musicians of Grand Forks won’t soon forget!

The youth of Grand Forks weren’t the only ones to make strong connections with Paulo Padilha. They visited Valley Memorial Homes, where the elderly patients were delighted with the opportunity to hear samba from São Paulo, Brazil. The band played some familiar hits including “When The Saints Go Marching In” to a traditional “forró” rhythm. One woman was even invited to joined in!

The Ember is a coffeehouse and community space that fosters the arts in Grand Forks. Paulo Padilha and Group had a “mini concert” and workshop there and were a little bit surprised at how quickly the crowd caught on to their music, dancing and singing along with every song! The chairs that the staff at The Ember set up for the show were discarded, and there was standing room only, even outside the room. A group of students from Angola came to hear Paulo and were so seamless in joining in that they even had the band believing they were Brazilian. The merriment of the night didn’t end with the concert—the singing and dancing continued out into the streets! What a night!

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