Gurizada Fandangueira performed about once a month at Kiss nightclub in the southern Brazilian city Santa Maria, where a fire early Sunday morning (Jan. 27) resulted in the death of 233 students attending a party for the local university’s department of agronomy. One of the band members is reported dead in the fire that officials say was started after the band’s singer set off an onstage pyrotechnic display that ignited foam acoustic insulation on the ceiling.
The effects were a routine part of the band’s act, accompanying their performance of upbeat Brazilian country pop music punctuated by accordion and percussion.
“[The group] demonstrates… a great deal of innovation in the stage set up, visual effects and pyrotechnics, which makes all the difference in the unique identity of the band,” Gurizada Fandangueira enthused on its Facebook profile.
Set off by remote control, sparkler columns placed at the front of the stage rose above the band members’ heads at the climax of their set. Habitually, they lasted only seconds, according to Eliel de Lima, the band’s drummer, who spoke to Globo’s G1 newsafter the tragedy.
De Lima told G1 that the band’s accordian player, Danilo Jaques, died in the fire when he fell behind his bandmates as they escaped from the burning club.
At Sunday night’s concert, the 10-year-old band was performing songs from their latest album “O som que povo gosta” (“The Sound That People Like”).
Valerson Wotrich, the singer for the show’s opening band, told G1 that two of its own members have not been found.
“It all started because they were using pyrotechnics in a closed room,” Colonel Guido de Melo, the Fire Chief of Brazil’s Rio do Sul state, told Argentina’s Clarín newspaper. “The use of equipment that was not permitted provoked the tragedy.” He said the club’s license, which had a legal capacity of 2000, had expired.
Late Sunday afternoon, authorities started releasing the names of the 120 young men and 113 young women who died in the fire.