Creative Conversations: Brazil Carnival

An illustrated talk and seminar with Global Grooves, as part of Creating Carnival 2014

Creating Carnival NZ 2014Easter Tuesday, 22nd April 2014 – 6pm-7pm (FREE)

An interesting insight into Brazilian Carnival and how these amazing cultural and community models have travelled the world and influenced carnival arts and social enterprise around the Globe. Guest speakers Eraldo Marques, Adriana Rosso and Leon Patel will be discussing different carnival traditions from Brazil and internationally and will include imagery, footage and first hand accounts into these fascinating spectacles.

We would welcome carnival groups and producers in New Zealand to share their experience of carnival at the seminar. If you would like to present a short piece about you and your work at this informal event then please contact us and we will arrange a slot for you. We would love to hear about your work. Continue reading

Percussion, songs and dances of the Orixas workshop

An interactive workshop by Global Grooves, as part of Creating Carnival 2014

Genevieve Estevez-Baker – Global Grooves Dance SpecialistEaster Monday, 21st April 2014 – 12noon-3pm ($20.00)

The workshop is open to all, whatever your level of experience and/or ability. Welcome!

This short but intensive master-class in Candomblé features African percussive phrasing and dance moves that have influenced Brazilian carnival traditions today as well as the ancient lost praise songs of age old African gods.

The workshop will be an opportunity for beginners to advanced dancers and musicians to come together to learn more about the roots of Brazilian carnival styles such as Samba and Maracatu and learn new rhythms, choreography, songs and techniques. At the end of the workshop we will bring all these elements together for an informal combined percussion and dance celebration. Continue reading

Jambalaya 2012 – Fred and Budi

Fred and Budi at their samba workshop during JambalayaThe best thing about the Jambalaya samba immersion course is the chance to learn new breaks and patterns from samba Mestres. New Zealand is a long way from pretty much anywhere, so to have Mestre Fred Turuka from the London School of Samba and Wicked Aura frontman Idham Budiman (aka Budi) from Singapore come all the way here to share their knowledge with us was a real honour.

I thought you might like to see just how awesome these guys are.
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Jambalaya 2012 – immersion

3 days of samba immersion with Mestre Fred and Budiman

The Jambalaya Festival has the nicest atmosphere, it’s really well-run (massive props to the organisers who did an amazing job!) and the immersion courses are absolutely fabulous.

Fred and Budi funking it up with the samba immersion class

21 members of Wellington Batucada made the trip up to Auckland this year to take part in the 3-day samba immersion course with Mestre Fred from the London School of Samba and Budiman – teacher of Samba Masala and front man of Wicked Aura. We were joined by members of Auckland’s AKSamba, Hamilton Samba, Tauranga Samba, Samblasta from Rotorua and Samba de Sol from Nelson.

Each day Fred and Budi taught us so many new breaks and patterns that our heads began to spin with the sheer volume of new information. Their normal playing speed was somewhat faster than we generally play during rehearsals back home, and at times it was all I could do to keep up (and quite often I didn’t!).

It was such a privilege to learn from two such talented and enthusiastic Mestres – and even though at times I thought I’d never remember the new breaks (or keep up!), it’s amazing how much you improve when you’re immersed in drumming for three days straight.
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Jambalaya 2012 – Wellington Batucada gig

Quite possibly the best gig EVER

Jambalaya isn’t the biggest festival in New Zealand, but it’s certainly one of the most participatory. A large percentage of the people at the festival are there to take part in one of the immersion courses, which means they’re most definitely up for a bit of participation – and that “up for it” attitude seems to rub off on everyone else, turning virtually every gig into madness and mayhem on the dance floor.

We’d seen a bit of it first-hand on the Friday night when AKSamba played an awesome gig on the main stage. The crowd went nuts, dancing like mad things, and it was altogether rather impressive. I reckon there were probably 50 band members performing – some of whom had been at the immersion course with us – they were wearing their brightly-lit LED costumes and even had the word “AKSAMBA” spelled out in lights worn by a line of drummers at the back.

AKSamba differ from Wellington Batucada in that you have to be invited to join the band – so only the best drummers get an opportunity to stick around after their beginners classes are over and rehearse with the main group – and eventually, if they’re good enough – to perform with the band. This means that technically they’re pretty awesome, and they also play at speed – quite a bit faster than we do down in Wellington.

Having experienced the might of AKSamba in concert, I have to confess I was somewhat intimidated and a wee bit nervous about our upcoming gig the following night. Only 21 of us, our basic (though very cool) black uniforms (no pretty lights!) and Darren our director only just back with us after about a year of travelling the world with his band, Batucada Sound Machine. It was going to be a hard act to follow…
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Our World Champion All Blacks

We did it!

Well OK, our awesome All Blacks did it – but I’d like to think the stadium of 4 million may have helped just a little…

Wellington Batucada has been honoured to play our own small (and loud) part in the Rugby World Cup 2011, and we’ve had an absolute ball performing as part of Wellington’s Festival of Carnivale. The fans have been fabulous, the games have been thrilling, and the end result couldn’t have been more exciting if it’d been written as a Hollywood movie. Continue reading