Brazilian Pop Legend Sergio Mendes to kick-off the 43rd annual Houston iFest celebration

Brazilian Pop Legend Sergio Mendes to kick-off the 43rd annual Houston iFest celebration

Brazilian Pop Legend Sergio Mendes to Kick-off the 43rd Annual Houston International Festival


by staff

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 12 at 4:02 PM

HOUSTON -- This April, Houston’s largest celebration of food, culture, and music -- the Houston International Festival -- adds a special preview event with Brazil’s most internationally successful artist of all time, Sergio Mendes.

On Friday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m., the Brazilian pop legend and Casa Samba Dancers will perform at the Festival Kick-Off at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, ushering in the splendid sounds of classic Brazilian music and offering a folk arts experience. Following the Festival Kick-Off at the Hobby Center will be the outdoor festival, which will celebrate Brazil April 20-21 and 27-28 in downtown Houston.

“I don’t think we could’ve picked a better act to prelude the festival this year,” said Kim Stoilis, President/CEO of the Houston Festival Foundation. “Sergio appeals to a broad, diverse audience, and he’s a musical legend in Brazil and beyond. With this just being our second year hosting this event, we’re very pleased with the featured talent and feel that it sets a great precedent.”

This concert marks the second year of an annual tradition, expanding the Houston International Festival’s on-site presentation of the music of the honored country beyond the festival grounds to a featured showcase at the Hobby Center. In the inaugural year, the 2012 Festival Kick-Off, “Eternal Tango,” welcomed renowned Argentinean bandoneon player Héctor Del Curto. The gifted Del Curto and his ensemble delighted the Hobby Center crowd with a dynamic and powerful performance.

This year, Grammy Award winner Sergio Mendes will bring his blend of modern arrangements of Brazilian classics to Houston, with hits such as "Brasil 66," "Mas Que Nada," and "The Look of Love."  Mendes remains the most internationally successful Brazilian artist of all time, having taken numerous albums and singles to the top of the pop charts. Although widely recognized as a bossa nova pioneer, Mendes remains relevant by regularly updating his sound and collaborating with artists such as Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, and co-producer Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas.

Opening the evening in support of Sergio Mendes will be Casa Samba, a New Orleans-based, authentic Brazilian Escola de Samba (samba school), presenting our guests with an exciting Brazilian Carnival and folk arts experience. Casa Samba’s performances combine an elaborate presentation of dance, theater, vocals and drumming to capture the spirit of Carnival in Brazil, as well as presenting a history of the African influence of its culture, music and dance, culminating in a fantastic re-creation of Carnival parade of Brazil.

Chairman’s Reception and After-Party

Preceding the inaugural concert at 6:30 p.m. will be the Houston International Festival Chairman’s reception and fundraiser benefiting the festival’s education program. Held in the Hobby Center Founder’s Club prior to the evening’s performance, this unique reception will be the official launch for the evening, welcoming business and civic leaders, festival sponsors, and distinguished members of the local Brazilian community.

Immediately following the inaugural concert will be the Post-Performance Meet and Greet where guests will offer the opportunity to meet the performers, featuring a Brazilian after-party in the Grand Lobby of the Hobby Center complete with refreshments.


Chairman’s Reception: Friday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. (preceding the concert)
Post-Performance Meet and Greet: Friday, April 12 at 10:00 p.m.


Hobby Center, 800 Bagby Street, Houston, TX 77056.

To purchase tickets to the Festival Kick-Off at the Hobby Center concert, click here.

For more information about the festival, click here.

Connect on social media at and @iFest hashtag #HoustoniFest.

For all media inquires, please call Ashley Small at 281-827-3419 or send an email

The official launch party of the 43rd Annual Houston International Festival event and festivities will take place on Thursday, March 28 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Tradicao, Southwest Freeway location, 12000 SW Freeway. Click here for updates.

This marks the 43nd year for the Festival, which is produced by a 501(c) (3)  non-profit organization, the Houston Festival Foundation, Inc. Festival proceeds benefit the education program of the foundation, which produces a teacher's curriculum guide on the spotlighted country's culture.  The curriculum guide reaches a potential 900,000 students at 1,471 campuses in seven Texas counties. Foundation funding is provided in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, corporate sponsorships, private contributions, in-kind support and volunteer assistance.