Yay it’s Christmas!
We love the Johnsonville Christmas parade. We’ve been doing it for years (with a couple of breaks for bad weather and COVID) and it’s such a classic. A bit old-school and very local, with a wonderful atmosphere – what’s not to love?
Art for art’s sake
Over the last 20 years Pablo’s Art Auction has gone from a small “Cuba Street vibe” alternative event to a rather up-market affair attended by Wellington’s literati, glitterati, art-erati and everything else-erati. It’s quite a big deal these days, and raises funds for Pablo’s Art Studios’ day-to-day work, providing art therapy, materials, art experiences and creative opportunities of all kinds to people who need them.
We’re singing and dancing in the rain!
Have you ever done that thing (probably when you were a kid) when you’re walking home from school – maybe with your mates who are coming round for tea – and the heavens open (no-one has an umbrella or a raincoat) and by the time you get home you’re all soaked to the skin and so high and excited by the sheer wet madness of it all that it ends up being one of the BEST DAYS EVER. Yeah no me neither.
Oh OK then, yes of course I did. Mum went a bit mad, as you can imagine, but the fact that I can remember it all in such detail all these years later says something about what a special experience it was.
This is the story of what that experience feels like when you’re grown-ups doing a drumming and dancing show on Wellington’s waterfront. In a tropical deluge.
Celebrating our ancestors together
Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) festivities unfold over the first two days of November in an explosion of color and life-affirming joy. The theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. In towns and cities throughout Mexico, revelers don funky makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance, and make offerings to lost loved ones.
With an audience of 37,000 that we could see, and a few more at home that we couldn’t…
It’s the middle of winter. It’s very cold. We’re playing at night. I’m wearing two vests, two t-shirts, two pairs of leggings and a long skirt underneath my summer Batucada uniform.
But what total fun! A brilliant experience, and well worth braving the cold for (and we were super-hot!).
Celebrating the restoration of a Wellington cultural institution
We were thrilled to be invited to take part in the celebrations for the re-opening of the St James Theatre in the centre of Wellington. It’s been closed for three years getting earthquake strengthened, so it was brilliant to be included in the wide range of performance groups taking part.
We began with a small group of drummers and dancers parading through town towards the St James, meeting up with parades of other performance groups approaching from all directions to kick off the celebrations.
Throughout the evening, many of Wellington’s rich and varied treasure trove of singers, dancers and performance groups of all kinds entertained the crowds outside the theatre. Wellington Batucada was honoured to be chosen to provide the final show of the evening.
A short and sweet show in the TSB Arena
After an early, rainy start and some adventures negotiating traffic and on-site construction works the crew all assembled on-time and without losing anyone. Phew!
After a try-out for stage positions we waited in the green room and then started the show with a short, noisy, surprise parade into Shed 6 to round everyone up from the breakfast reception and then led them pied piper style across into the main TSB Arena stadium.
Once in there we paraded through the stadium seating and got onto the big stage (with a MASSIVE video screen behind us). Then we gave the crowd a blast of Samba Reggae and Merengue.
A joyful celebration of dance at Te Papa
What a beautiful day to celebrate International Dance Day.
Te Papa positively sparkled on the sunny waterfront, the audience was huge, filling the space at Te Marae completely, and we had a wonderful time showcasing the dances of samba.
Marching up and down again, performing for a great cause
It’s always the same when you do any sort of filming – it always starts later than planned, and there’s always heaps of waiting around. Fortunately for us, our good friends at El Barrio had provided part of their bar as our official Green Room, which meant that we had somewhere to store our stuff, get ready, hang out, socialise, and maybe even have a beer or two. What could be better?
A slightly later date, worth waiting for!
Oh how we love Newtown Fair.
You get there super-early (wearing your band uniform, most likely), spend an hour or a few meandering through the streets looking at all the stalls and buying stuff, eating yummy food from everywhere in the world, and answering many questions from people about when the band will be playing. Everyone looks forward to the Batucada parade, it seems.