I’m a drummer and percussionist. I play here with Chicago Samba on Thursday nights. I’m from Brazil–most of the band is–and we play strictly Brazilian dance music. I lived in a city that’s right between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro called Belo Horizonte—“beautiful horizon.” My city is not as well-known but has a nightlife that is very spiced up by the music scene. It’s a good place to start your music career. Brazil has the same concept of popular music as here. It’s very hard for talented musicians to get exposure. There’s a lot of competition, especially if you’re creating Brazilian music in Brazil. But once you get recognized outside of Brazil, Brazilians will respect you just by that fact. It’s very much a catch-22: you come to the United States, you work here, and go back—people are going to respect you just for doing that. I moved here in 1991 and started to play percussion in my brother Paulhino’s band. He plays guitar. My wife is a vocalist; she sang in Brazil and a bit here. Her name is Lourdes. I think Madonna knew of my wife when she named her daughter!

–Heitor Garcia, musician