CubaDupa 2016 – day 2

Mass samba madness in the tropical heat

In which 150+ samba drummers and dancers from across NZ (and Oz!) get together and drum our little sox off in the Mass Samba Bloco Super CubaDupa Extravaganza (thing).

Mass rehearsal

CubaDupa day 2 - rehearsal in full swing - photo by Alan ShukerStill on a huge buzz from the night before, we began CubaDupa day 2 with a mass rehearsal at Mt Cook School. It’s an amazing feeling rehearsing with a bazillion of your fellow sambistas from across New Zealand (and Oz!) – such a powerful sound.

The bloco was sorted into sections, just like at normal band practice, with members of the different samba groups all mixed up together in each section. It’s great to spend some time rehearsing and playing with members of other samba groups – it gives you a wider perspective on what you play. All the pieces we were playing in the mass samba jam were from Sambanui (which means we all know them) plus (from London School of Samba) Fred’s original samba, which we also all know. Continue reading

CubaDupa 2016 – day 1

Drumming in my skull – Day of the Dead stylee

There’s something about Cuba Street that brings out the best, and the coolest, and the weirdest, and the most magical, and the most creative, and the downright awesomest. That’s why CubaDupa is so blimmin’ wonderful, and why it’s one of our favourite weekends of the year.

Day of the Dead Wellington Batucada team photo. By Alan Shuker

Once again we brought our fellow sambisatas from around the country to join us for the weekend. We were thrilled to share Wellington’s funkiest street with AKSamba (Auckland), Bay Batucada (Hawkes Bay), Sambatron/Tauranga Samba (Hamilton/Tauranga), and Samba del Sol (Nelson) – and this year for the first time we also hosted members of our extended family from across the ditch – O’Zirigidum from Melbourne. Welcome, sports!

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It’s CubaDupa time!

Our favourite Cuba Street-based festival of the year 🙂

Day of the Dead top hat and drumsticks, ready for CubaDupaNo really – we love CubaDupa with a passion. Last year’s inaugural event was spectacular, and fabulous, and wonderful, and a little bit magical – and we’re expecting great things again this year. Woohoo!

Check out the CubaDupa website – and here’s the CubaDupa map and performance schedule (PDF) for you to download.

Once again we’ve brought together our samba school family from around the country – watch out for performances all over Cuba Street over the weekend by AKSamba (Auckland), Bay Batucada (Hawkes Bay), Sambatron/Tauranga Samba (Hamilton/Tauranga), Samba del Sol (Nelson) and O’Ziriguidum all the way from Oz – as well as Wellington Batucada. It’s gonna be massive!

…and on Sunday it’ll be even massiver (yeah, it’s a word!) with the Carnival Bloco Mass Jam – 150-odd drummers and dancers doing their samba thang through the streets and alleyways of central Wellington, finishing up on the Swan Dancehall Stage (hoping we can all fit on!) for our grand finale. Continue reading

It’s time to do the CubaDupa samba!

It’s CubaDupa weekend! Hooray!

HeadpiecesWe’ve been madly making our costumes, dressing our drums, building and painting the stage set and – of course – practicing our drumming and dancing for a couple of months now, and things are coming together nicely.

The donations we raised from our Boosted campaign have enabled us to bring a whole bunch of sambaistas to Wellington from across the country. We’re playing host to 37 drummers from AK Samba in Auckland, 40 drummers and dancers (including a brass section!) from Samba de Sol in Nelson, 30 drummers and dancers from Hamilton & Tauranga and 14 from Bay Batucada in Hawkes Bay. Together with the 55 drummers and 15 dancers from Wellington Batucada, we’re going to be bringing Carnival to Cuba Street in a big way this weekend.

We’ve trained up a whole bunch of new dancers, who will debut for you at the Wellington Batucada gig on Saturday night on the Swan Stage. Somewhere along the way we’ve also moved from Upper Cuba Street to Swan Lane, Glover Park and Te Aro Park, and our costume theme has morphed from Pushme-Pullyou into Amazonian rainforest and now “AmazoniAotearoa”.

With our costuming we have decided that you can basically never have too much bling, and so with that in mind we have cleaned Wellington out of green holographic paper and scoured the $2 shops for sparkles, diamante, glitter and other shiny things. We can neither confirm nor deny the rumour that we have also imported a rather large number of fairy lights from Hong Kong. Continue reading

Hastings Blossom Festival 2014

Fabulous 1950s costumes in the rain

For the first time this year we decide to dress up in costume for Hastings, instead of wearing our normal Batucada uniform. The theme was Spring: Back to the Future – referring back to the heyday of the Hastings Blossom Festival in the 1950s when thousands of people would descend on the town for the annual festival.

It was a perfect opportunity for us to delve into the dress-up box and pull out our favourite floral swing dress, petticoats and cardis; or rock it out with a variation on 1950s James Dean T-shirt and jeans attire. We looked awesome, if we do say so ourselves.

The band in costume at the Hastings Blossom Festival - photo by Simon Shuker Continue reading

Bloco Orixala: Afro-Bloco, Dance and Percussion workshop

An interactive workshop by Global Grooves, as part of Creating Carnival 2014

Batala, LiverpoolWednesday 23rd April 2014 – 6pm–9pm ($20)

The workshop is open to all, whatever your level of experience and/or ability. Welcome!

Following on from the Percussion, songs and dances of the Orixas course (21st April) we will develop an exciting and unique combined percussion and dance arrangement to explore and celebrate Brazilian carnival styles from Salvador.

The beats, songs and movements will draw influence from Brazilian Candomblé adopting percussion and dance themes to celebrate the Orixas. Continue reading

Creative Conversations: Brazil Carnival

An illustrated talk and seminar with Global Grooves, as part of Creating Carnival 2014

Creating Carnival NZ 2014Easter Tuesday, 22nd April 2014 – 6pm-7pm (FREE)

An interesting insight into Brazilian Carnival and how these amazing cultural and community models have travelled the world and influenced carnival arts and social enterprise around the Globe. Guest speakers Eraldo Marques, Adriana Rosso and Leon Patel will be discussing different carnival traditions from Brazil and internationally and will include imagery, footage and first hand accounts into these fascinating spectacles.

We would welcome carnival groups and producers in New Zealand to share their experience of carnival at the seminar. If you would like to present a short piece about you and your work at this informal event then please contact us and we will arrange a slot for you. We would love to hear about your work. Continue reading

Percussion, songs and dances of the Orixas workshop

An interactive workshop by Global Grooves, as part of Creating Carnival 2014

Genevieve Estevez-Baker – Global Grooves Dance SpecialistEaster Monday, 21st April 2014 – 12noon-3pm ($20.00)

The workshop is open to all, whatever your level of experience and/or ability. Welcome!

This short but intensive master-class in Candomblé features African percussive phrasing and dance moves that have influenced Brazilian carnival traditions today as well as the ancient lost praise songs of age old African gods.

The workshop will be an opportunity for beginners to advanced dancers and musicians to come together to learn more about the roots of Brazilian carnival styles such as Samba and Maracatu and learn new rhythms, choreography, songs and techniques. At the end of the workshop we will bring all these elements together for an informal combined percussion and dance celebration. Continue reading

Hastings Blossom Festival 2013

Wellington Batucada, AKSamba, and SambaTron get together for the weekend

Carin & Kath, Hastings Blossom Festival parade 2013What can we say about the Hastings Blossom Festival?

We go every year, we love it – it’s like an annual school trip for the band, we get to stay over and hang out at the marae and do daft party-piece performances for each other, and best of all, we get to hang out with sambaistas from some of the other batteria around the country and perform together in the Blossom Festival parade. What’s not to like? Continue reading

Jambalaya 2012 – immersion

3 days of samba immersion with Mestre Fred and Budiman

The Jambalaya Festival has the nicest atmosphere, it’s really well-run (massive props to the organisers who did an amazing job!) and the immersion courses are absolutely fabulous.

Fred and Budi funking it up with the samba immersion class

21 members of Wellington Batucada made the trip up to Auckland this year to take part in the 3-day samba immersion course with Mestre Fred from the London School of Samba and Budiman – teacher of Samba Masala and front man of Wicked Aura. We were joined by members of Auckland’s AKSamba, Hamilton Samba, Tauranga Samba, Samblasta from Rotorua and Samba de Sol from Nelson.

Each day Fred and Budi taught us so many new breaks and patterns that our heads began to spin with the sheer volume of new information. Their normal playing speed was somewhat faster than we generally play during rehearsals back home, and at times it was all I could do to keep up (and quite often I didn’t!).

It was such a privilege to learn from two such talented and enthusiastic Mestres – and even though at times I thought I’d never remember the new breaks (or keep up!), it’s amazing how much you improve when you’re immersed in drumming for three days straight.
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