On playing in the rain, a duet with Niko Ne Zna – and dancing with Elmos!
Lisa and Nige abandoned their beautiful handmade wood-and-goatskin surdos in favour of having a shake on the chocalho for the day (they’d checked the weather forecast in advance), and the rest of us prepared in whatever way we could for a gig that was probably going to end up with us playing in horizontal rain…
I’m pretty sure that in the video above, you can see the first drops of rain falling as we begin the parade. *sigh*
On the other hand, don’t we look awesome? I know I said this yesterday as well, but I have to say it again – I think our pirate costumes were THE BOMB. I wish we could play dress-ups for every gig.
Clearly the most popular pirate colours on the gangplank this year are red, white and black – with a smattering of gold for good luck. Stripes are also en vogue this season, whilst our swashbuckler fashionistas appear equally enamoured of both the classic pirate tricorn hat and the more egalitarian pirate headscarf.
Nige’s son Michael did a grand job of being our pet pirate monkey, as well as steering Jane’s wheelchair through the throng. Other wildlife on show included the parrot sewn to Dr Phil’s right shoulder (poor parrot!) and Richard’s quite beautiful parrot illustration on his T-shirt.
You may also notice a few interesting variations amongst our outfits, in addition to the straight “pirate” costumes. I particularly liked Christian’s seafaring Captain’s outfit – très manly – and Bill’s very stylish “In the Navy” costume (because his wonderous kilt from yesterday was still soaked from the torrential rain). Sunita’s fabulous emerald-coloured number also deserves a special mention for being the brightest shade of green I think I’ve ever seen. Fab.u.lous.
Lisa E wins the prize for hottest-pirate-in-the-line and I’m awarding Lucy the probably-the-coldest-pirate-in-the-line consolation prize – with a special bonus for her lovely stripey socks.
By the time we reached the first bridge, the rain had developed into the horizontal Wellington-stylee we know and love, and the clouds were indeed lour’d upon our house (or hills), although not yet in the deep bosom of the ocean buried (with apologies to Shakespeare) – as you can see. It was also a bit windy – as you can hear:
On the far side of the bridge we met up with our other director, Darryn, who was rocking out with our good friends Niko Ne Zna. Here’s our duet:
If it looks like we’re all concentrating like mad, we are. When you’re in the middle of the bateria, even when we’re playing quite quietly as we were here, you can’t hear any external noise at all – which means that most of us couldn’t hear Niko Ne Zna at all. This is not ideal when you’re trying to do a duet with them (no kidding!). We’re therefore completely reliant on Tim and Darryn who, as our directors, are showing us the exact tempo they want us to play, in order to stay in time with the band. Hence the furrowed looks of concentration.
By the time we got to the Stadium concourse, it was raining with a considerable level of determination. Here we are playing merengue in the cold, and the rain, and the wind. Lovely! What dedication! What smiley faces! (it’s OK – about 2 minutes after this video was taken, THE ELMOS ARRIVED!!!)
I have an indelible picture in my head of the band playing in the rain in front of the Stadium. It’s cold. It’s wet. My white shirt is now completely soaked and entirely see-through. Tim gets us to start stomping around rather than standing still, just to keep us a bit warmer. We’re grinning (or grimacing) at each other through the raindrops. I’m facing away from the Stadium, and I can see a few costumed stalwarts heading towards us through the rain.
And then I see them.
Seven six-foot tall bright red furry Elmos appear though the mist and driving rain. They’re heading towards us at a rate of knots. A bunch of Batucadans have their backs to them so haven’t seen them yet.
Suddenly the Elmos are amongst us, dancing around and leaping about like mad. The band members on the far side of the circle, where the Elmos are, turn around in delight and I see Lisa literally throw herself into the arms of the nearest Elmo, who envelops her in a hug so large I can barely see her amongst the red fur. We laugh, and play, and dance, and grin insanely at each other in sheer pleasure at this surreal and perfect moment.
Batucada and the Elmos, 2gether 4 eva. It’s the best possible end to a cold damp day. Special shout-outs also go to our dancing companion, the old geezer in the jeans jacket, whom we picked up somewhere along the way, and who stayed with us right until the very end. I think he quite liked us. Thanks, old geezer!
Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version. You can use left and right arrows on your keyboard to navigate. Photos by Alan Shuker, Paquita Dwyer and Kim Clayton: