Batucada Blog

Newtown Fair 2019

Newtown does it again!

What a great gig at simply the best Street Festival (again).

Blazing sun, kaleidoscope of colours, plenty of assorted Newtown randomness, keen crowds, a great Taiko collaboration (with some very cool dance-group improvisations for the Taiko beats), and a whoppa turnout (up to 70 performers in total perhaps?). What else to say except WOW!

For those on their first time – now you know what us older hands have been going on about in the lead-up to all this eh! We’ve also had a huge number of enquiries from people wanting to join up especially as dancers after seeing us at the Festival.

Was an epic day and well received by the community. 🌞
Gordo, Batucada’s gig co-ordinator

Part One. Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers perform in the streets at Wellington’s iconic Newtown Festival.
Video by Tom S Etuata.

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Island Bay Festival 2019

Fun in the sun by the sea

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers perform in Wellington’s Island Bay Festival Parade. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Thank you from Island Bay Festival:

Hi everyone! Slightly belated, but still heartfelt thank you to you all and your groups for yet another fantastic parade!

Couldn’t do it without you all, and your enthusiastic participation, marching, singing, dancing, trike-riding, acrobat-ing, instrument playing and marshalling really makes it an awesome event. Please pass on my thanks to everyone from your groups who was involved. Til next year… Mel

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We are finalists in the 2018 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards

Arts & Culture – Enhance and increase participation in arts and creative leisure activities

Wellington Batucada is honoured to have been selected as one of the finalists in this year’s Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards for Wellington City – in the Arts & Culture section.

Our veteran agogo player RJ Henderson put together a compelling application for the Award, and we were absolutely delighted to hear that all his hard work had paid off and that we were one of the finalists.

The awards ceremony on July 27 was attended by RJ and our committee chairperson Lise Hutcheon.

The Winner in the Arts & Culture category was The Performance Arcade, and the Runner Up was Out Wellington Incorporated (Wellington Pride Festival I Tū whakahīhī e Te Whanganui-ā-Tara).

Compassion Soup Kitchen Wellington were honoured as Supreme Winner for their commitment to helping vulnerable people.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners. We love Wellington!

The Menagerie Variety Show

Fun and frolics on-stage at the Opera House

Practising our active bitch faces for serious dancing (2) - photo by Sarah JaneThe last time we were on-stage at the Opera House was for the DANZdance20 gig back in 2013 – so it’s been a while.

25 drummers and 10 dancers from Batucada took to the stage for The Menagerie Variety Show – invited as the “intermission entertainment” – and a brilliant time was had by all.

It was a long day – beginning with a stage walk-through at 3pm. It’s always reassuring to be able to experience the stage and plan how you’re going to get on and off before you do a big gig like this one – and producer extraordinaire Rachel Rouge and her team made sure that every one of the multiple acts in this fabulous Variety Show were able to do just that.

The Opera House is such a beautiful old building – a perfectly grand and decorative old-fashioned theatre – with a veritable rabbit warren of dressing rooms on multiple levels behind the scenes. When you reach the bottom of the many flights of stairs from your dressing room you step through the door from the light-filled stairwell into a dimly-lit and cavernous backstage area. It’s another world.

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Batucada beginners’ dance course starts 5 August 2018

Who’d like a piece of the Samba action?

Arawhetu and Hillary lead the dancers at Newtown Fair 2018 - photo by Paul Taylor

Our next Batucada beginners’ dance course begins 5 August 2018.

You will get to dance alongside members of Wellington Batucada while our Dance Directors teach choreography from our Samba repertoire. No dance experience required and everyone is welcome (all genders).

The cost for the beginners’ course is $80 for 6 weeks. Or you can pay $20 per individual session.

Dance course dates

Venue: Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba St, Te Aro Wellington.

Our beginners’ dance classes will be held every Sunday for 6 weeks, in two 3-week blocks. Classes run from 1pm to 3pm as follows:

Week Date Time Venue
Week 1 Sunday 5 August 1-3pm Thistle Hall
Week 2 Sunday 12 August 1-3pm Thistle Hall
Week 3 Sunday 19 August 1-3pm Thistle Hall
NO CLASS Sunday 26 August NO CLASS
Week 4 Sunday 2 September 1-3pm Thistle Hall
Week 5 Sunday 9 September 1-3pm Thistle Hall
Week 6 Sunday 16 September 1-3pm Thistle Hall

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Batucada beginners’ drumming course starts 10 June 2018

Learn samba drumming with Wellington Batucada!

Tamborims and agogos onstage at CubaDupa 2018

Once a year we run an 8-week block of beginners’ drumming classes. These are held on Sundays from 1pm to 3pm, before our regular band practice.

Our next Batucada beginners’ drumming course begins 10 June 2018.

Overview of the course

This is an opportunity learn the basic techniques and patterns on a number of instruments and cover the rhythms of Brazil including samba, samba reggae and merengue. You will be guided by our directors Darryn Sigley and Tim Cooke into the wonderful world of samba, and we aim to have at least one experienced Batucada member supervising each section so that whatever instrument you’re playing, there’s someone there to help you.

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CubaDupa 2018 – day 1

Or…how to stop the rain at the perfect moment through sheer force of will

We adore CubaDupa. In the four short years that it’s been running it has become one of the best festivals on Wellington’s annual calendar, and it’s one that we put a huge amount of effort into in terms of costuming and trying out new performance pieces.

Highlights of our main stage performance.
Video footage by John Conly and Michael Sloley, compiled by Michael Sloley.

This year we did two things we’ve never done before. We designed our own patterned fabric especially for CubaDupa and made our own costumes with it; and we introduced two fabulous singers into the mix – Alda Rezende and Nikkie Rich – who sang traditional Brazilian songs while we accompanied them on our drums.

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Newtown Fair 2018

Drumming and dancing in the sun

What a beautiful day for a mad drumming and dancing session through Newtown. A perfect (actually, incredibly hot) day in the middle of The Best Summer Ever – and here we all are at the Newtown Fair, one of our favourite gigs of the year.

We had a ton of first-time performers with us for this gig, as the band is busy preparing for CubaDupa. We’re giving our most recent intake of drummers the opportunity to get a bit of parade practice in before the night parade down Cuba Street in a couple of weekend’s time. Exciting!

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Batucada beginners’ dance course starts 27 August 2017

Learn to dance samba with Wellington Batucada!

Newtown Fair 2016

Our next Batucada beginners’ dance course begins 27 August 2017.

Dance course dates

Our beginners’ dance classes will be held every Sunday for 6 weeks from 2pm to 4pm as follows:

Week Date Time Venue
Week 1 Sunday 27 August 2-4pm Thistle Hall
Week 2 Sunday 3 September 2-4pm Thistle Hall
Week 3 Sunday 10 September 2-4pm Thistle Hall
NO CLASS Sunday 17 September The band will be away at the Hastings Blossom Festival
Week 4 Sunday 24 September 2-4pm Whitireia Performing Arts Centre – Studio 1 on Level 2
Week 5 Sunday 1 October 2-4pm Whitireia Performing Arts Centre – Studio 1 on Level 2
Week 6 Sunday 8 October 2-4pm Whitireia Performing Arts Centre – Studio 1 on Level 2

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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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