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October 13th

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

At the Consulate General of Brazil in New York

(225 East 41st Street, New York, NY



Mila Burns

Reading excerpts from her book "Dona Ivone Lara's Sorriso Negro".

Mila Burns is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Latin American & Latino Studies at Lehman College, CUNY. She is the author of Dona Ivone Lara’s Sorriso Negro (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019; Editora Cobogó, 2021) and Nasci para Sonhar e Cantar: Dona Ivone Lara, a Mulher no Samba (Editora Record, 2009). Mila Burns also holds a Ph.D. in History (The Graduate Center, CUNY, 20217), a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies (Columbia University, 2012) and another one in Social Anthropology (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 2006), and a B.A. in Journalism (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 2003). Mila is a university professor with an interdisciplinary profile, with an emphasis on media, anthropology and history. For two decades she has worked as a journalist in Brazil and New York. Currently, Mila Burns is editor-in-chief and anchor of América News, a newscast dedicated to the Latinx community broadcast at TV Globo International. Her current book manuscript investigates the Brazilian influence on the military coup d’état in Chile, in 1973. Her articles have been published in several newspapers, magazines and academic publications.

Liliana Araújo.jpeg

Liliana Araújo 


Interpreting some songs by Dona Ivone Lara.

Born in Ceará, in the northeast of Brazil, Liliana is a singer, dancer and researcher of Brazilian folk dance and music. She is a very dynamic and charismatic performer whose infectious energy has captivated audiences all over. She has tread upon stages throughout her country in performances of music, theater and dance. A dancer in Grupo Raízes (dança afro), Liliana then joined the Companhia Vatá (Brazilian tap) and Soul Nêgo (performance) in their research of the folkloric traditions of Brazil, focusing primarily on the rich, multi-cultural nordeste.

She studied vocal performance at the Alberto Nepomuceno Conservatory and UECE (State University of Ceará). She performed at various children’s educational centers including Filippo Smaldone which specializes in the education of deaf and/or hearing-impaired children.

Since moving to North America in 2007, Liliana has continued highlighting and spreading Brazilian culture through performance and education at schools, universities, festivals and cultural centers throughout the USA: World Music Institute, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), American Folk Festival, Hollywood Palladium, Lincoln Center Outdoors and many more big stages. She was the lead singer of the renowned band Nation Beat from 2007 - 2013, also the singer of Maracatu New York for the same period of time. Her musical partnership with Scott Kettner (Maracatu New York/Nation Beat’s bandleader) resulted in many compositions, albums recorded, tours, workshops and teaching residencies.

In New York City, Liliana has been a teaching artist (dance and music) for Young Audience Arts for Learning, Midori and Friends, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Manhattan New Music Project, CREATE, Symphony Space and Hospital Audiences, Inc. (HAI). Liliana currently performs as a solo artist. She is a contralto.


Carlos DeOliveira
Accompanying Liliana on percussion

Carlos D’Oliveira AKA Caco Oliveira is a Brazilian born, who’s been in NY for over 20 years. Caco is a writer, social and cultural entrepreneur, community organizer, educator, and a musician percussionist.

As a musician he has played in several venues in NY such as Lincoln Center Outdoors, American Museum of Natural History, Brooklyn Museum, Museo Del Barrio, Club Bonafide Jazz, BB King Blues Club, Havana Central, Cipriani, just to name a few.

Besides his activities as a musician percussionist, Caco, as an educator has delivered speeches and taught samba workshops in Public Schools, Colleges and Universities in NY, NJ, and CT.

Some of the places he has lectured, performed and taught workshops are: L.I.University, Brooklyn College, Kings Borough Community College, Westchester C. College, CUNY, as well the UN. just to name a few.

As an entrepreneur he founded in 2016 the Brazilian Council on Samba, a nonprofit organization which is promoting the Carnaval do Povo Festival which’s main objectives are: to increase the knowledge about Carnival experiences in the world, through the African Diaspora lens, promoting community understanding, business, tourism, cultural exchange and joy.

Carlos D’Oliveira is available for performances, lectures and workshops. Phone 347-458-4681

Dona Ivone Lara's Sorriso Negro (33 1/3 Brazil)

More than simply a paragon of Brazilian samba, Dona (Lady) Ivone Lara's 1981 Sorriso Negro (translated to Black Smile) is an album deeply embedded in the political and social tensions of its time. Released less than two years after the Brazilian military dictatorship approved the Lei de Anistia (the "Opening" that put Brazil on a path toward democratic governance), Sorriso Negro reflects the seminal shifts occurring within Brazilian society as former exiles reinforced notions of civil rights and feminist thought in a nation under the iron hand of a military dictatorship that had been in place since 1964. By looking at one of the most important samba albums ever recorded (and one that also happened to be authored by a black woman), Mila Burns explores the pathbreaking career of Dona Ivone Lara, tracing the ways in which she navigated the tense gender and race relations of the samba universe to ultimately conquer the masculine world of samba composers.

Find the book on Amazon

Listen to the album on Spotify or on YouTube


To keep our artists and guests safe we will only admit guests who have been fully vaccinated or have a negative PCR test up to 72h prior to the event. Get your Excelsior Pass here:

We will comply with whatever mask policy is in place by the CDC at the time of the event.


READINGS.BR is made possible in part with funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC.

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