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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Newtown Fair 2016

Fun in the sun on the streets of Newtown

Newtown Fair 2016 - dancers - photo by Paul TaylorI was struck by how many people came and talked to me as I wandered through the Fair earlier in the day, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Newtown. Easy to spot in my giant red hat and red Batucada T-shirt, I was constantly being stopped and asked “What time are you guys playing? I can’t wait to see you!”.

People really LOVE us – and for many, we complete their Newtown experience in an all-drumming, all-dancing way that they look forward to every year. I think that’s pretty awesome – and it was really nice to be reminded of that fact in such an immediate way. Continue reading

Wellington Rugby Sevens 2016

Superheroes ahoy! (again)

Batucada superheroes at the stadium - Wellington Sevens 2016 - photo by Alan ShukerIt was a slightly different year for the Sevens. No city centre parade this year (we love the Sevens Parade because it always gets such huge crowds – plus we always have such fun drumming the players into Civic Square).

Never mind – the theme this year was Superpowers Unleashed, so we all got dressed up in our superhero costumes again (we’ve done that theme for the Sevens before) and headed off to Thistle Hall to get picked up by bus and taken to the stadium.

This year they decided they wanted us to play twice on both days, but only on the walkway approaching the stadium, rather than doing a parade all the way along the waterfront. We missed giving a big old wave to all the costumed partygoers at all the establishments along the waterfront, but had a great time parading up and down the walkway in our costumes. It was a wee bit windy, but also a wee bit sunny, which is what you want when you’re drumming. Continue reading

Wellington Footvolley Championship 2016

Batucada goes to the seaside

Footvolley 2016 - front row - photo by Roger HendersonIt’s been a couple of years since we played at the Footvolley Championship at Oriental Bay, so we were happy to get the opportunity to perform again this year.

Gorgeous day (the Summer of 2016 will long go down in Wellington history as some of the best sustained sunshiny weather in years) and a good crowd watching the athletes doing their crazy football-crossed-with-volleyball gymnastics on the beach. Continue reading

Wellington Santa Parade 2015

Tinsel and starry hats in the summer sun

Wellington Santa Parade 2015 - Paquita & Christian - photo by Alan ShukerLisa’s instructions for costuming were “Red or green T-shirts to match the Christmassy theme, plus whatever Christmas-related pimpimg you want to do on your drums, heads and hats”.

Some people took this more seriously than others – particularly Paquita who turned up wearing the most amazing starry headdress I’ve ever seen. Awesome!

Such a beautiful sunny day, the crowds were enormous (70,000 they said), we were pretty awesome (and oh so modest!) and Tess (surdo #3), Charlotte (caixa) and Shelly (surdo #2) all played their first gig. Great stuff! Continue reading

Upper Hutt Christmas Parade 2015

A new Christmas parade experience for all

Upper Hutt Christmas Parade - photo by Craig HunterSo – we’ve never done the Upper Hutt Christmas Parade before, but the organisers had seen us on parade earlier in the year, absolutely loved us, and invited us to lead the 2015 event. How cool!

It’s quite a long route, which is always good because we get a real workout, and the streets were absolutely thronged with people watching the parade. Lovely atmosphere too – we had a great time.

It was Simon-the-German’s first gig with us and it was great to have him there. He plays in a samba band in Nuremberg, Germany, and saw us performing at the Coburg Samba Festival last year. He’s in New Zealand for 6 months or so on his OE, and got in touch the minute he arrived in Wellington. It’s very cool to see how far our reputation reaches these days 🙂 Continue reading

Brazil National Day 2015

Happy National Day, Brazil!

Brazil National Day 2015 - photo by Roy GlassWellington Batucada was honoured to be invited once again to play for guests at the Brazilian Embassy’s Brazil National Day celebrations – a celebration of the 193rd Anniversary of the Independence of Brazil. The event was held on 7 September 2015 at Te Whaea (NZ School of Dance), Wellington.

A group of drummers and dancers performed at the invite-only event, with Wellington Batucada featuring at the top of the bill. Guests including the Brazilian Ambassador danced enthusiastically (and skillfully) to our Brazilian beats. Continue reading

Beginners’ drum workshops start Sunday 16 August 2015

Learn samba drumming with Wellington Batucada!

UPDATE 01/08/15: We’ve had a huge response from people wanting to attend this latest series of beginner’s classes, and we are now FULL. We will not be accepting any more registrations or expression of interest for the upcoming sessions.

However, if you’d like to put in an early registration for the next series (which will be sometime after March next year), please feel free to do so. Instructions and registration form on our Join page.

Wellington Batucada in the RWC 2011 All Blacks victory parade

Wellington Batucada in the RWC 2011 All Blacks victory parade
Photo by NZ Sevens (click to enlarge)

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Wellington Batucada plays WOMAD

An unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience

Wellington Batucada group photo after our WOMAD gig - photo by Graham DwyerYou may recall a few months ago we hassled you incessantly to vote for us in the WOMAD Performer Competition. The prize was to perform at WOMAD 2015.

You may also recall that we won the competition (thank you SO MUCH for your votes!), and last Saturday we claimed our prize, and played for an hour on the Gables Stage at the WOMAD festival in New Plymouth.

Wow. What an amazing experience. When I got up that morning, all excited and full of anticipation, I told myself that this was very likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and a highlight of our drumming career – and that I should enjoy every single moment of it.

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