CubaDupa 2024 – day 1

Fairy lights outside the Southern Cross

Wellington Batucada at CubaDupa 2024 - day 1 - photo by Paul Taylor

This year CubaDupa very kindly gave us a sort of ninja gig/popup slot outside the Southern Cross on the evening of day 1. A nice low-key, relaxed kind of affair and just the thing to get us warmed up before tomorrow’s Big Gig.

It was a lovely clear crisp night, and we had a large number of performers signing up – over 80 of us in total – which made it extra-special.

The drummers dressed themselves up with fairy lights again, which is pretty much de rigeur for any nightime gig these days. They look so twinkly! It would be great if the dancers could wear them too – they’d look awesome – but sadly it’s really not practical. Their dancing is so energetic, unless the lights were actually sewn onto the costume they’d be lost and crushed underfoot within minutes. Ah well.

Wellington Batucada at CubaDupa 2024 - day 1 - photo by Tom Etuata

We made sure that we ran though the majority of our pieces that we’ll be playing tomorrow (sans the new special song, of course!). We’ve been working on this repertoire for a while now, and we’re having a great time actually getting to perform it. The band sounds really tight and well-rehearsed at the moment (as we should!), and it’s just a joy to be a part of the show.

Sadly, we had a few band members off with COVID – maybe picked up at WOMAD last week – which was so disappointing for them, having worked so hard and prepared so well for this weekend. We had you in our hearts, people! We missed you!

Our audience was large and appreciative – many of whom had followed fellow sambistas Bay Batucada (was it them? I think it was!) up Cuba Street as they did their parade – and stayed to watch us do our thing. You can never have too much samba! (Actually, I think possibly you can, but not today…).

Wellington Batucada at CubaDupa 2024 - day 1 - photo by Yuanindita Inggita

Anyway – our crowd was enthusiastic and plentiful – and something very interesting – very few camera phones out. Normally we are completely surrounded by people watching us through their phone (which is great for collecting post-gig photos and videos), but this evening – we seemed to be surrounded by an audience that was – how do I describe it? Fully present. I liked that.

Wellington Batucada at CubaDupa 2024 - day 1 - photo by Epu Tararo

Photo galleries

Photos by Anny Freitas, Epu Tararo, friends of Meghana Amarnath, Kamille Joyce, Kara Nation, Keith Molloy, Kelly Etuata, Paul Taylor, Rebecca Routhan, Tom Etuata, Vicky Lin and Yuanindita Inggita. Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version:

Getting ready

The show

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