Mary Potter Hospice street appeal 2017

Warming up Cuba Street for a good cause

Mary Potter street appeal 2017 - the dancers doing their thing - photo by Deborah ShukerOn a freezing cold day in May, Batucada drummers and dances warmed up Cuba Street with our rhythms and beats. We were taking part in the Mary Potter Hospice street appeal once again, and a great time was had by all.

A week or so later we received this lovely message from the Mary Potter Hospice:

Thank you so very much for volunteering your time for our Mary Potter Hospice Street Collection. … You will be happy to hear we raised $84,762 over the two days of our Street Collection. We really couldn’t do it without this support – so thank you!!

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Race Relations Day 2017

Celebrating Wellington’s cultural diversity

On-stage at Race Relations Day 2017 - photo by Deborah ShukerWe began Race Relations Day with a short performance on Wellington’s beautiful waterfront to warm us all up. We gathered quite a crowd, which was brilliant because the point of the exercise was to lead them into Shed 6 where the event was taking place.

After the formal speeches and welcomes, the festival had organised for Wellington performance groups from a whole range of different cultural backgrounds to each do a short performance on the main stage.

Wellington Batucada was one of the first groups on-stage, and we had a wonderful time. Thanks heaps to the organisers for inviting us to this inaugural event – may you have many more!

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Island Bay Festival parade 2017

What a lovely day for a parade!

Island Bay Festival parade 2017 - Tim C leads the band - photo by Alan ShukerOur second gig of the year so far, and quite a reasonable turn-out, including some lovely faces who we haven’t seen for a while – hello Shelly and Kat! It’s good to see you again!

The sun shone, and the wind did not make an appearance (which was quite fabulous, considering that this summer has been, so far, The Worst Summer Ever, weather-wise).

Tim C did the honours with the directing, and challenged us with (I think) our first live performance of Timbalada, which went pretty well.

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Batucada beginners dance workshops coming soon!

Time to get your groove on for summer

Batucada dancers performing at the Newtown Fair, 2016 - photo by Paul Taylor

Batucada dancers performing at the Newtown Fair, 2016 – photo by Paul Taylor

Join the Wellington Batucada this summer and dance your heart out at the CubaDupa festival!

A six week block of samba workshops designed to get you festival ready*.

Level – beginner to intermediate samba, previous dance experience a bonus but not essential.

Dates for the 2017 summer workshops are as follows:

Date Venue Address
Sunday 29 January 2017 Toi Poneke 61-69 Able Smith Street
Mon 6 February (Waitangi weekend) Thistle Hall 293 Cuba St
Sunday 12 February Thistle Hall 293 Cuba St
Sunday 19 February Thistle Hall 293 Cuba St
Sunday 26 February Thistle Hall 293 Cuba St
Saturday 4 March Te Whaea (Drama 3) 11 Hutchison Rd

Time: 2.00pm – 3.45pm
Cost: $60 for the block of six classes or $15 casual rate per class

* Participation in CupaDupa and other festivals is encouraged but you’re free attend the dance workshops without performing. Please note the dates, as most are on Sundays with the exception of Monday 6 February and Saturday 4 March.

Bring – Drink bottle, soft shoes/sneakers and exercise wear or loose clothing.

For more information please contact: wellingtonbatucada@gmail.com or call us on 027 253 7288.

CubaDupa Day 1 - dancers and band onstage - photo by Alan Shuker

CubaDupa Day 1 – dancers and band onstage – photo by Alan Shuker

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

Mary Potter Hospice collection day 2016

Drumming and dancing on Cuba Street for a very good cause

How can we say no to such a good cause – and how can we possibly say no to an opportunity to drum and dance on our beloved Cuba Street?

A keen bunch of drummers and dancers turned up on a very cold but sunny Saturday lunchtime to help raise money for the Mary Potter Hospice. Those of us who arrived early got a treat in the form of the Wellington Community Choir singers who were doing their fundraising bit before us. Lovely!

We gathered a pretty substantial crowd as soon as we began playing, all of whom seemed to be enjoying themselves (well they must have been, otherwise they wouldn’t have stayed to watch and listen!). It was cool to see that some people were happy with just one song and then went on their way, being quickly replaced by other passers-by who paused to listen – while others stayed for the whole show. I’m especially looking at you, lovely hippy girl who clearly LOVED us and danced her socks off to our music from start to finish… it’s wonderful to drum for people who are joyfully and completely moved by our music.

Darryn made sure to shake the bucket and encourage people to donate after each song, and I’m hopeful that we were able to help the Hospice raise a bit more money for their very worthy endeavours. Thanks heaps for inviting us!

We’d love to add some photos and/or video to this review, so if you have any, please get in touch with AliG at alison@webweaver.co.nz – thanks!

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.

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Relay for Life 2016

Celebrate cancer survivors and carers; remember loved ones lost to cancer; and fight back by raising awareness and funds to support the work of the Cancer Society

Relay for Life 2016 - Tim G and the tams - photo by ReFocus PhotographyWe’ve been taking part in the Wellington Cancer Society Relay for Life for a few years now, and we’re always very honoured to be asked back. This year was no exception.

A beautiful day, hundreds of cancer survivors, supporters and their families, with Wellington Batucada dancers and drummers all set to lead the crowd around the first lap of Frank Kitts Park.

Once the speeches were over and the event officially launched, it was our job to parade around the outer edge of Frank Kitts in celebration of the first of many (many) laps that would be completed by participants over the next 24 hours. Tim G did a great job of directing, and Sarah did an equally great job of leading the dancers. It was her first outing as dance leader, and they all looked fabulous, so well done all.

Relay for Life is always an amazing event, full of hope and positivity as well as remembrance and sadness for those lost to cancer, and we feel privileged to be a part of it. Continue reading

Scots College Centenary – staff celebration

A supa-sekrit surprise gig to help staff celebrate 100 years of Scots

We gathered just down from the St James Theatre just before 8pm, keeping well out of view of the main doors, so as not to spoil the surprise. None of the staff at the school’s centenary celebration party knew we were coming, which made the whole thing extra fun.

At a signal from the school organiser, we struck up the band with Samba reggae and made our way up towards the theatre entrance, drumming as we went. We had a whole heap of Batucada dancers with us, which was brilliant – they all looked so beautiful in their white CubaDupa skirts, and they led the way into the St James.

The crowd parted as we made our way inside, and lined up either side of us as we played. The dancers were up at the front, surrounded by trees covered in sparkling fairy lights. They looked amazing! Continue reading

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