100 Days to the Paralympics

Wellington Batucada teaches paralympians how to samba

Wellington Batucada at Paralympics New Zealand's '100 Days To Go' event at Te Papa - dancers, paralympians and schoolkids - photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images for Paralympics New ZealandA small and select group from Wellington Batucada helped celebrate 100 Days to the Paralympics at Te Papa. Great fun was had by all.

We started filtering through the doors of Te Papa around 11:30 and waited for the rest of the band to arrive. As we waited, the Brazilian Embassy delegation arrived and, as always, Eduardo (the ambassador) showed his charm and general cool dude tendencies by stopping by to say hello to his adopted community samba group. Continue reading

Farewell to Thistle Hall

The end of an era

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

Batucada at Thistle Hall, dressed up in our Day of The Dead costumes, ready for CubaDupa 2016

It’s been our home and our heart for 15 years, but today we had to say goodbye to Thistle Hall – our headquarters at the top of Cuba Street in Wellington (the Coolest Little Capital in the world).

We’ve had a thousand and one band practices at Thistle Hall, got dressed up for many a Sevens gig, prepared for CubaDupa and Cuba Street Carnival there, said farewell to our dear friend Sanny there, stored all our gear, held get-togethers and parties, meetings and AGMs, learned together and played together and shared our love of music together, laughed and cried and drummed and danced there.

Batucada superheroes at Thistle Hall - Wellington Sevens 2016

Batucada superheroes at Thistle Hall – Wellington Sevens 2016

We don’t know where we’re going to end up – our needs are somewhat specialised – we need space to rehearse, a wooden floor to dance on, storage space for our drums, disabled access, some kind of cooling system (drumming is hot work!), not too expensive (we’re a self-sustaining voluntary community group), heaps of parking space, loos and water, inner city if possible – and of course, somewhere where we can drum for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon and make a reasonable amount of noise without annoying the neighbours.

2015 Sevens waterfront parade day 1 - family photo by Alan Shuker

Steampunk Batucada family photo outside Thistle Hall, ready to play at the Wellington Sevens 2015

Our short-term temporary home until we find somewhere more suitable will be Community Music Junction, Level 1, 4 Hopper Street. As it’s carpeted our dancers can’t dance there without risk of injury, so we hope we’ll be able to find somewhere else really soon. We really don’t want to be separated from our beautiful dancers any longer than is absolutely necessary.

If you know of anywhere that might be suitable, or have any ideas, please contact us at wellingtonbatucada@gmail.com or call Lisa on 021 112 1619.

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!

Continue reading

We’re performing at WOMAD next year!

Wellington Batucada wins the 2015 WOMAD Performer Competition

Busking for WOMAD votes on Courtenay Place

Busking for WOMAD votes on Courtenay Place
Photo by Alan Shuker

Check out the WOMAD website!!!

Dear Batucada friends and family, Bat-members past, present, and future…

It’s been one heck of a ride.

Over the past 8 weeks we have worked together on an awesome common goal – to win the opportunity to perform at WOMAD next year – a festival that we love and admire.

We’ve asked pretty much everyone we know to vote for us, and then we’ve asked a whole bunch of people we don’t know to vote for us too – through our regular gigs and special vote-collecting busking sessions all over Wellington and beyond.

It’s been a heck of a busy and full-on 2 months for all of us, and I think what has impressed me the most is the huge amount of original effort, creativity and sheer guts and determination that so many people have shown. Continue reading

2014 Soccer World Cup – opening game

Brazil v Croatia

Soccer World Cup - Batucada and friends - photo by Karina ShawOur lovely friends at the Brazilian Embassy invited us to make some noise before and during the opening game of the 2014 Soccer World Cup. As the match was between host nation Brazil and Croatia, it was bound to be a bit of a spectacle, and we were very happy to oblige.

It was a crazy early morning start (and on a schoolday too!), but a bunch of hardy drummers and dancers gathered at Queen’s Wharf to dance and play for the fans, and then to watch the game on the big screen in Shed 6 (and provide suitable accompaniment to any exciting on-screen events). Continue reading

Wellington Sevens Parade 2014

Newbies, busted heads and a new ending…

At the Wellington Sevens 2014 - photo by 111 Emergency
Looking at the long-range forecast for Sevens Week a couple of weeks ago, one could be forgiven for feeling somewhat disappointed in Wellington’s upcoming weather. Wind, rain, cloudy and cold… except of course that the Welli Weather Gods have now realised their error and sorted it out for us.

Wednesday dawned sunny and calm (of course it did! This is the Sevens!), and we had a great parade. Continue reading

DANZdance20 – celebrating 20 years of Wellington dance

Opera House, 16 November 2013

DANZ poster featuring Wellington BatucadaWe were quite honoured to be invited to close the show at the DANZdance20 celebration concert at the Opera House. I think they were looking for a crew that could get the audience up and dancing, and we were certainly able to do that.

We did a technical rehearsal in the early afternoon (I assume it’s the first time any of us have ever been on stage at the Opera House!) and then we headed off to the waterfront to do a bit of a warm-up / ninja gig / live rehearsal before our proper stage appearance at just after 5pm. Continue reading

Whanganui Festival of Cultures

Batucada goin’ up-country… and staying over…

Performing at the Whanganui Festival of Cultures - photo by the Wanganui ChronicleWe were really honoured to have been invited to feature at the Whanganui Festival of Cultures this year. I think it’s the first time we’ve been up to Whangers as a band, and we had a completely brilliant weekend.

It’s quite a drive from Wellington, so we booked a couple of mini-buses (with trailers) to take the majority of the band up there together. Just like a school trip! Fun! Especially when you get to play “Boat, goat, float” (with a side order of “Horse”) on the journey. Continue reading

Batucada play Open Street Sunday

We run wild through the streets of Wellington!

Batucada at Open Street Sunday - click to see a larger version

Oh wait… we do that all the time (run wild through the streets of Wellington, that is…)

Bikes and skateboards, rollerblades, scooters and pedestrians will take over Dixon and Lower Cuba Streets as part of Wellington’s – and the country’s – inaugural Open Street Sunday on 22 September.

The event, being run by Greater Wellington Regional Council in partnership with Living Streets Aotearoa and local businesses, coincides with International Car Free Day.

Open Street Sunday is modelled on Open Streets held around the world, where vehicles are excluded from suburban and CBD streets to enable people to enjoy car-free streets.
Scoop, 13 September 2013

We’d been asked to open Open Street Sunday (for want of a better phrase!) and so an enthusiastic group of us showed up at the appointed hour to play. It had been a big weekend – the massive gig at The Grand was the night before, but you can’t keep a good drummer down, so here we were once again. Continue reading