Lions Tour, July 2017 – All Blacks game

Oh the excitement and the heartache

Lions Tour 2017 - All Blacks game gig 1, the dancers, the band and the big screen - photo by John Bosomworth

In addition to our gig on Tuesday night for the Hurricanes game, we were also asked to double down for the All Blacks game on Saturday with a total of five gigs, spread throughout the day and into the evening. Of course we said yes.

Wellington Batucada perform for the Lions Tour – playing Samba. Video by John Bosomworth.

Whereas the weather for the ‘Canes game had been really quite friendly for a winter’s evening – cold but not too cold, no wind, no rain (fantastic!) It was an altogether different story on Saturday night. Wellington served up a hefty dose of seriously crappy weather – cold, windy, and rather a lot of rain. Oh joy!

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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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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.

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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

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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Out In The Park – Love Parade 2016

What a lovely day for a Love Parade

The Love Parade, Out In The Park 2016 - photo by Amanduh LaIn 2016 the Pride Parade celebrated the 30th anniversary of the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act in New Zealand. Queer and queer-friendly groups, organisations and individuals came together and took to the streets to celebrate our community.

Wellington Batucada were pleased and honoured to be asked to lead the parade this year. Continue reading