Samba Laranja wins Syracuse Area Music Award for ‘Native Orange’

On Nov. 11, Samba Laranja: the Syracuse University Brazilian Ensemble won a 2011 Syracuse Area Music Award (SAMMY) in the category Best Recording, Other Styles, for its second and most recent album “Native Orange.” The SAMMYs celebrate the Syracuse music scene and inspire innovation and creativity.

Released in April 2011 by Syracuse University Recordings (SUR), the University’s student-run record label, “Native Orange” includes folk and popular music sung in Portuguese as well as the native languages of the Ãgn and Suruí people of Rondônia, Brazil. The album includes an array of percussion instruments, including surdos, alfaias, caixas, agogo bells, tamborims, repeniques, berimbau, cajon, bell strands, metals, bull roarer, bird whistles, wind whistle and nose flute. The tracks range from 50-member ensemble pieces to solo percussion to duets to string quartet with percussion.

Elisa Macedo Dekaney, faculty member in the School of Education, and Joshua Dekaney, faculty members in the Setnor School of Music, lead Samba Laranja and served as executive producers of “Native Orange.” They worked with a team of faculty and students from the Setnor School to create the album, which was recorded between May 2010 and January 2011 at SU’s Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive in E.S. Bird Library and the Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College.

“Elisa and I are thrilled to accept this SAMMY Award on behalf of Samba Laranja,” says Joshua Dekaney. “It truly was a collective effort of faculty and students, and the album showcases just some of the immense talent in the Setnor School of Music.”

Setnor faculty members who participated include John Laverty (producer), James Abbott (audio engineer, mixing/editing/mastering) and Ken Meyer (guest guitarist). Students and recent alumni who participated include Jessica Miller ’10 and Sarah Kenney ’10 (audio engineers); Jason Sector ’11 (audio engineer, mixing/editing); Kayley Noonan ’11 (artwork and design); Rosie Rion ’10 (guest cellist); Adrianna Gricius ’11 and Alexa Johnson ’13 (guest violinists); and Emily Bredemeyer ’14 (guest violist). The album’s cover photo of the “Guanabara Mitológica” statue in Brazil was taken by Elisa Dekaney.

Formed in 2001 and based in the Setnor School of Music, Samba Laranja consists of undergraduate and graduate students from a wide variety of studies at SU. Approximately half of the students major in music education, music industry and/or music performance in the Setnor School. As a working band, Samba Laranja performs in smaller versions as a trio, quartet and quintet. These versions of the group perform in more intimate settings, such as private functions, conferences and galleries. “Samba Laranja” means “orange samba”; the ensemble is named after the color of SU.

For more information about Samba Laranja, contact Joshua Dekaney at or Elisa Dekaney at