Photo courtesy of Oliver Klink





On May 27th, 2017 at 9:30am the Grand Parade kicks–off at the corner of 24th and Bryant Streets. Watch a brilliant procession of contingents, most of which will feature beautifully adorned floats depicting rich multicultural themes and featuring performers who engage and entertain the crowds. Brazilian-style “escola” samba schools with up to 300 members dance through the streets in fantastic feathered headdresses or sweeping Bahia skirts, while Caribbean contingents perform the music and dance of the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Other parade groups include Mexican Aztec performers, traditional African drummers, Polynesian dancers, Japanese drummers, giant puppets and folkloric groups representing Guatemala, Honduras and Bolivia.


View the 2017 Grand Parade Lineup here.





GRAND CHAMPIONS: Fogo Na Roupa Grupo Carnavalesco Cultural


1ST PLACE: Danza Azteca Xipe Totec


2ND PLACE: Sistas-Wit-Style


3RD PLACE: Morenada para el Mundo 100% es Boliviana




1ST PLACE: Grupo Samba Rio and California Brazil Camp

2ND PLACE: Gente Da Cidade

3RD PLACE: Maracatu Pacífico



1ST PLACE: La Cumbiamba Colombiana

2ND PLACE: Kantuta Ballet Folklorico de Bolivia

3RD PLACE: Valverde Dance Theater



1ST PLACE: Moving Beyond Productions

2ND PLACE: Sherman Elementary School

3RD PLACE: Buena Vista Horace Mann 



1ST PLACE: Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

2ND PLACE: Mas Makers Massive

3RD PLACE: Karibbean Vibrationz 



1ST PLACE: SambaFunk! Funkquarians w/ King Theo

2ND PLACE: Loco Bloco

3RD PLACE: Viva La Diva









John Santos
Seven-time Grammy nominee, 2012 San Francisco Latino Heritage Arts Award winner, SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director (2013 & 2014), and US Artist Fontanals Fellow, John Santos, is a major bandleader, composer, producer, percussionist, and educator in Afro-Latin music with a professional career spanning over four decades. He has written, recorded and published well over 100 original compositions, mostly on his Machete Records label since 1984 and has performed and/or recorded with masters such as Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Cachao, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés, Francisco Aguabella, Omar Sosa, Susana Baca, Lalo Schifrin, McCoy Tyner, Batacumbele, Giovanni Hidalgo, Armando Peraza, Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana, Bebo Valdés, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, and Carlos Santana. He served on the Smithsonian’s Latin Jazz Advisory Committee and is a faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory, the College of San Mateo, and Jazz Camp West. John has also lectured extensively and conducted countless clinics in the United States, Europe and Latin America, including such prestigious institutions as Yale, Stanford, UCLA, the Manhattan School of Music, the Museum of the African Diaspora, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and Humboldt State University in California. He was founder and director (1985-2006) of the internationally renowned, Grammy-nominated Machete Ensemble, and currently directs the Cubadisco-nominated, John Santos Sextet. He was featured prominently in the PBS American Masters documentary, Cachao: Uno Mas (2008), and is the subject of another PBS documentary currently in progress. He recently (Sep. 2016) performed at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. John is an advisory board member of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance (NY) and the Oaktown Jazz Workshop (Oakland, CA), and a Trustee of SFJAZZ.


The John Santos Sextet is one of the premier Afro-Latin Jazz musical groups in the United States. They illuminate the aesthetic characteristics of Latin Jazz pertaining to instrumentation, rhythm, interpretation and improvisation through live performance and recording. Organized in 2003, their repertoire consists of original compositions and exciting original arrangements of classic rhythms, styles and songs from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the US. Their various recordings are a musical banquet celebrating the Afro-Latino roots of jazz through imaginative writing and playing in collaboration with dozens of the greatest players in the field from various countries. Equally at home with a dance or concert repertoire, The John Santos Sextet presents a wide range Latin American Jazz for audiences of all ages.


Saul Sierra - bass, composer, arranger
Dr. John Calloway - flute, piano, percussion, composer, arranger
Melecio Magdaluyo - saxes, flute, clarinet, composer, arranger
Marco Diaz - piano, trumpet, composer, arranger
David Flores - drums
John Santos - percussion, composer



Blanche Brown
"All my life I wanted to be a dancer…”
With this thought in mind, Blanche Brown returned to college to study dance in 1970. Becoming a dancer at the age of 35 could be considered by some as an unrealistic goal, but Blanche brown has lived her entire life defying limitations.


The awakening ethnic consciousness of the late 60s propelled her into an in-depth study of African-American Culture. Through the study of physical education and dance at San Francisco State, Blanche explored all the possibilities of movement, from ballet, jazz, folk dance and tap. Simultaneously, Blanche began to dance with the Wajumbe ethnic dance troupe, including African based dance forms in her repertoire. With Wajumbe, Blanche performed all over California at colleges, universities, community centers… even prisons! Blanche graduated from San Francisco State University in 1974 with her Bachelors Degree in Physical Education with an emphasis on Dance. Since then dance has dominated her life.


African rhythm struck a deep chord in Blanche, beginning an artistic investigation that led her to West Africa in 1974. Performing with Wajumbe throughout Nigeria, Blanche absorbed the rich spiritual influences ever-present in West Africa. Her rediscovery of West African culture changed her personal outlook in the African contribution to society as a whole. She realized that African rhythm and dance was universal and applicable to all people, all color, and all ages. Her travels lead her to France in 1979, where she taught a series of ethnic dance workshops in Nice. These classes included dancers of all ages, abilities, and ethnicities.


The African experience awakened Blanche’s interest in the spiritual aspects of ethnic dance. In New York City Blanche began investigating the Haitian influences on dance, and was fascinated by the spiritual connection to the Yourba culture. New York became a cultural mecca for the politically-displaced Haitian artists and musicians; an ideal environment for Blanche’s studies of the deeper aspects of dance. In 1981, Blanche was initiated into the Yoruba religion as a priestess of Oshun and she is a respected elder of the voudon religion in Northern California.


In 1988, Blanche formed the dance troupe Group Petit La Croix. Blanche created the troupe to fully express and visually explain the Haitian culture by combining western choreography and techniques with traditional Haitian dance and drumming. Blanche has since taught ethnic dance the California University system from UCLA to Hayward, Sonoma, to Santa Cruz. Blanche has taught classes at Mills College, Santa Clara University, The Modern Dance Center, The Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, and at Third Wave Dance House in San Francisco for many years.


Over the years Blanche has been widely recognized for her contribution to the dance community. In 1977 she was the first dancer to be appointed to the San Francisco Arts Commission. In 2003 she was President of the Board of World Arts West. And in 2008 Blanche received the Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Ethnic Dance and Music. Today, Blanche still teaches and challenges people from all walks of life, including occasionally her own niece and granddaughters, at ODC in San Francisco. Blanche continues to teach, dance, and preform with inspirational grace and enthusiasm. At 81 years old, Blanche continues to defy limitations and expand the parameters of dance.






Bianca Starr
Bianca Starr has a fierce love and devotion for the community and city in which she resides. Carnaval has been a ritual for her since the age of 5. With a strong identity tied to cultural and social awareness, in addition to being a mother of two young boys, Bianca has carved out a prominent voice of activism in the rapidly changing environment of our city. Always championing women in business & the arts, she is best known as an event producer, a fashion & lifestyle curator as seen in her multi-season online show BStarr.TV, and the owner and operator of one of SF’s most legendary nightclub, 222 Hyde, 7- years running. Bianca is currently working in SF and NY consulting as Marketing Director for varying projects in the world of fashion including this years producing this years NY Fashion Week as well as the Gay Pride Fashion Show at City Hall.











Patricia Thumas
Patricia Thumas is a native San Franciscan who emerged as the Bay Area's first female Salsa Pianist with the highly acclaimed band "Ritmo 74", opening shows for the international stars of NewYork based Fania Records label, in many of San Francisco's finest venues. She has an extensive career as a Salsa Pianist, including work with John Santos's late seveties Cuban Charanga band "Tipica Cienfuegos", and was also a member of the legendary Afro-Cuban Master Drummer, Francisco Aguabella's band. She has toured the nation several times, and recorded 2 CDs with the internationally acclaimed "Blazing Redheads", on Reference Records label. In the late 70's/early 80's she co-lead two Latin Jazz bands "Chevere"&"Bahia", which featured Patricia's original compositions as well. In 1987, she relocated and became a member of the Les Moncada Latin Jazz band, and during her five years in Sacramento, became a co-founding member of two other bands, The Latin Express and Conquista Musical. Upon returning to SF in 1991, she became a member of Tito Garcia y Orquesta Internaciónal, and in 1994, joined Julio Bravo y Orquesta Salsabor, with whom she performed locally and nationally for eight years. She has also been a 25 year veteran of " El Grupo Sinigual, which has recently launched a new recording and scheduled for upcoming summer performances. She also plays currently with Adelante and Adelante Mujer, as a featured guest pianist. This summer, she will be starting up her own musical project, "Key Elements", a Latin/Brazilian Jazz Ensemble. She has been featured in a book about the development I te Latin Music Scene in SF entitled: "Voices of Latin Rock". This year Patricia will be featured in a Mission Mural Project at Casa Bandido, located at 25 & York Streets. She, along with other community artists, past and present, with be honored, to be unveiled this Summer 2017; with a book feature to follow. Patricia was also honored to be a part of the very first SFCarnaval 1980, in which she was a member of Bateria section of the Carnaval winning contingent " Escola de Samba Batucaje, led by Jose Lorenzo!



Laura Yanow
Laura Yanow is a SF native who has studied Afro Brazilian and Afro Cuban music since 1978. She began participating in Carnaval in 1980 when she paraded with Jose Lorenzo's seminal escola de samba Batucajé. She played with Batucajé at the Monterey Jazz festival in 1981, opening for Flora Purim and Airto. At Carnaval 1982 Laura became the first female surdo player to march down Mission St, opening the path for hundreds of women. In 1983 she joined Escola Nova de Samba under the direction of Chalo Eduardo and Josephine Morada Ortiz and went on to play and sing with them at Carnaval for a decade, performing at many venues including the Carnaval Ball, the Ethnic Dance Festival, and the Greek Theatre. Laura has traveled to Cuba, Brazil and Spain to study the music and culture of those countries.


Although music has shaped her life, Laura is most proud of her 27-year career as a teacher in SFUSD public schools. At James Lick and Horace Mann Middle Schools she taught Language Arts and Social Studies to many brilliant young people who now participate in Carnaval and other music and activist groups throughout the City. Laura believes in the healing and unifying power of music and dance for everyone and is very happy and honored to serve the Carnaval community as a judge today.



Linda Larissa Gamino
Linda Larissa Gamino is a native of San Francisco and grew up with a lifelong love of Carnival, where she participated several years with different contingents. Linda's Dance Journey began at the age of two when she took her first dance class at the Historical Betty May Dance Studio in San Francisco. She is a Graduate of School of the Arts and later attended City College of San Francisco. Ms. Gamino continued her dance journey by exploring various styles of Classical, Ethnic and Social Dance forms including Tap, Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Afro-Haitian, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Merengue, Swing, Flamenco and Mexican Folk Dance. Through the years, Ms. Gamino has shared her love and knowledge of dance by teaching student workshops at various dance centers and Afterschool programs in SFUSD such as Leonard Flynn Elementary, Everett Middle School and John O'Connell High School. Ms. Gamino is also a performing Artist and has debuted original works at The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SOMArts and The de Young Museum. In 2016, Ms. Gamino toured nationally as a member of “Fiesta Mexico-America: A Celebration of Mexican-American Heritage” featuring multi Grammy Award-Winning band Los Lobos and Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Carlos Moreno.


Ms. Gamino is currently the Assistant/Technical Director for Ensambles Ballet Folklorico de San Francisco.







Portsha Terae Jefferson
Portsha Terae Jefferson is a professional dancer and choreographer trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz and African derived styles, who specializes in Haitian Folkloric Dance. She began her formal training at the age of six at the Marsha Woody Dance Academy in Beaumont, Texas. Established in 2004, Ms. Jefferson is the founder and artistic director of Rara Tou Limen (RTL), an arts organization that presents Haitian music, dance & culture through classes, workshops, and performances.


A passionate believer in education and youth development, she has worked 
for several youth organizations including The Young Performers Theater, The San Francisco Arts Education Project, Westlake School of the Arts, Opera 
Picolla, DanceVersity and Swivel Arts. Ms. Jefferson has taught creative movement and Haitian Folkloric dance in schools, universities, community centers and dance studios for seventeen years.


Ms. Jefferson was a principle dancer and vocalist with Group Petit La Croix (1996-2003) under the leadership of veteran dancer and educator Blanche Brown. She has been fortunate and blessed to grace the stage with Reconnect, Ase Dance Theater Collective, Feet of Rhythm and El Wah Movement. In Haiti, she has had the privilege to perform with Compagnie Culturelle Des Arts and Ayiti Dans Ansanm (ADA). Guest performances with Afro-Cuban companies include: EMESE: Messengers of the African Diaspora, along with Jose Francisco Barroso & Obakoso.


Ms. Jefferson's dedication and exploration of Haitian culture have brought her to Haiti, where she has traveled throughout the country to research regional dance, rhythms and musical traditions since 2003. Further studies include Ecole Nationale des Arts (ENARTS), Vivian Gauthier's School of Dance and Artcho Danse.


Currently, Ms. Jefferson is a teaching artist at June Jordan School for Equity, Music In Schools Today (MUST), Conservatory for Contemporary Dance Arts (CCDA) and is an artist in residence for Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and SF Unified School District. In addition, she is an instructor at East Bay Dance Center, Dance Mission Theater, the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, and a guest lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley. She also serves as a Cultural Arts Specialist with Oakland Parks and Recreation where she continues to share her love of dance with Oakland youth. Ms. Jefferson is a recent grant recipient from the American Folklore Society to continue her fieldwork in Haitian Folkloric Dance & Musical Traditions.



Estaire Godinez
Unless you’ve already been lucky enough to hear, the first thing you probably don’t know about Estaire Godinez is that she is – by no stretch of the imagination – an international sensation. A smoldering vocalist and ace percussionist, the Oakland, California born Mexican American has recorded on more than sixty albums. And has been consistently sought after for her essential performance skills by a number of world renowned artists. From stints with Prince to Coke Escovedo to the Brothers Johnson, to George Benson, she has proven herself a stylistic chameleon capable of wearing dozens of musical hats. And they all “look” fantastic on her.


Most recently on tour with jazz guitarist extraordinaire, George Benson, her newest CD – Live from the Dakota – finds Estaire taking time to slip out the the hats and into bandleaders gloves; and she indeed shines as a stunning Latin chanteuse. Her candor and charisma dominate the proceedings- there are uproarious catcalls, sly across-stage banter, and moments of brilliant percussive improvisation. Just as often, however Godinez is happy to focus the musical spotlight on her band, which consists of Peter Schimke (piano/keyboards), Eric Leeds (sax) Mike Scott (guitar), Stokely Williams (drums) and Serge Akou (bass). Mutually appreciative of her talents, their instruments weave effortlessly in and around her conga beats, creating a hypnotic fusion of jazz, pop and Brazilian/Afro-Cuban. They all plan with seductive ease, exchanging musical flirtations with airtight execution.


Whether swing or Samba, backbeats or Boss Nova, Godinez has always been fascinated by the push and pull of different rhythmic styles, Mirroring her musical diversity, she is multilingual (Spanish, Portuguese, English) and has lived and performed throughout the world. By her late teens, she’d left her native California and signed on as both singer and manager for a salsa band in Amsterdam. Soon they were sharing the stage with acts like Peter Tosh and Bow-Wow-wow at the infamous Paradiso. From there it was off to Spain where she was involved in a number of projects: backing Duncan Due, Javier Ruibal, and pop star Joaquin Sabina, sitting in with house bands for popular TV shows and fronting Madrid-based all-original pop-rock mainstays, Estaire Godinez and the Face Band to name a few. She has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival and at London’s International Rock Awards, and has toured extensively through Europe and South America.


Her debut release from Under the Radar Music Group, Live at the Dakota shows clearly that Godinez is most in her element as a singer and bandleader. Yet she’s also well aware that what she can learn from both peers and leading luminaries alike is precisely what fuels her own creativity as a front woman. In addition to her invaluable experience in what she calls, “the company” in workshops at Boston’s Berkelee School of Music, and has also trained privately with the celebrated Congero Giovanni Hidalgo.


Growing up in a musical family (she still plays frequently in Hawaii with brothers Carlos and Salvador, both prominent musicians in their own right), Estaire has always been a natural at absorbing and expanding upon the wealth of influences that surround her. “Playing with George Benson, Prince and other people is what feeds my solo music- other musicians are what inspire me most,” says Godinez. Unquestionably, the passion with which she embraces her craft is suggestive of her wide-eyed approach to the world in general. It is an uncommon gift that enables her to invite audiences into the creative fold with awe and delight.


Estaire now shares her talents in Los Angeles and her following seems to grow with each performance. She has produced her second CD, This Time, recorded in Minneapolis with the musicians from her first album Live at the Dakota. Since her move to Los Angeles, Estaire has been performing around town at prestigious Venue’s such as Vibrato and Catalina’s. You can also catch her every Monday night at Cafe Was with Actor/musician, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. Estaire is currently finishing a cd project with Legendary composer Leon Ware. Estaire has also been involved in the world of acting. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and has seven principal roles under her belt, in commercials and film, including a movie produced by and starring Benjamin Bratt. She starred in the film and sang on the movie score. She is now preparing for a movie in which she will be starring with Paul Rodriguez.


Estaire is currently finishing a children’s book she wrote and did the illustrations for. She will be launching her jewelry line at the end of this year.





Thank You to Our Presenting Sponsor:


kaiser permanente






Carnaval San Francisco
Kaiser Permanente
San Francisco Lowrider Council
Fo'Fifteen Bay Area Classic C.C.
Xiuhcoatl Danza Azteca
Samoan Community Development Center
American Indian Cultural Center of San Francisco
Buena Vista Horace Mann
Sherman Elementary School
Mixtiso Latino Indio-Afro-Mexican Salvadoreño Urbano Hip Hop
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
LAW Latin American Workout
Feline Finesse Dance Company
Asiya Shriners
Moving Beyond Productions
The Church of 8 Wheels
Kantuta Ballet Folklorico de Bolivia
Miss Africa Bay Area Pageant
Loco Bloco
Maracatú Pacífico
Mas Makers Massive
Hot Pink Feathers
Colectiva de Mujeres and SF Day Labor Program
City College of San Francisco
Viva La Diva
Gente Da Cidade
Institución Hijos de Santa Rosa de Lima
King Antoine Hunter & Queen Tiombe Valone
Grupo Tania Santiago
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
Grand Marshals Blanche Brown and John Santos
Isso É Samba
Grupo Samba Rio and California Brazil Camp
San Francisco MUNI Cable Cars
Karibbean Vibrationz
Valverde Dance Theater
United Rhythms
Telemundo 48 and Xfinity Comcast
Danza Azteca Xipe Totec
Aquarela Brazilian Dance Ensemble
Distrito De La Amistad
Comunidad Maya Yucateca del Area de la Bahia
Fogo Na Roupa Grupo Carnavalesco Cultural
Diaspora Fitness Mas Band
ABADÁ-Capoeira San Francisco
Ginga Brasil
La Cumbiamba Colombiana
Instituto de Cultura Raíces del Perú
SambaFunk! Funkquarians w/ King Theo
El Show de Pepe
Northern California Zumba Fitness
Conjunto Folklórico Panamá América
WORKOUTTEMPS division of Dance of the Ancestors, Inc.
Rueda Con Ritmo
Proyección Folklórica Guatemala Xelaju
Zorro & Zorro Jr.
Star One w/ Wardell Walters
Los Bomberos de San Francisco
Flavaz of D' Caribbean
Club 26 Mix
Batalá San Francisco
Sambos Caporales Central Bolivia and Sambos Caporales USA
Parceros Salseros
Morenada para el Mundo 100% es Boliviana
San Francisco Giants






Download a map of the Grand Parade route here.








For information about how you can get involved with dance organizations that participate in the parade, click here.