CubaDupa throwback

View from inside the lockdown

As we write this blog post during our first weekend of New Zealand’s Level 4 total lockdown, we reflect on what we should have been doing today – performing on-stage at CubaDupa – our biggest and most anticipated show of the year.

The theme of this year’s CubaDupa was to have been “Beautiful disruption”, which is pretty apt, considering where we are now.

Although the sun has come out this afternoon, the Weather Gods have pretty much slammed the weekend with continuous heavy rain and a cold Southerly. That, at least, makes staying at home today instead of celebrating on the street with the CubaDupa massive, slightly more bearable. You have to look for silver linings where you find them these days, eh?

So let’s take a look back at CubaDupa (and the Cuba Street Carnival) from previous years – and get inspired and motivated to unite and beat the coronavirus – and get back together for CubaDupa 2021.

Thanks a million to our resident (official!) photographer and videographer Tommy Etuata for taking the time to put this gem of a video together of Wellington Batucada’s Cuba Street journey through the years – Enjoy!

Wellington Batucada performing at the Cuba Street Carnival and CubaDupa. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Cubasonic: a mass musical disruption coming to the capital

The biggest mass performance we’ve ever done!

Batucada dancers at CubaDupa 2018

Wellington Batucada is absolutely thrilled to have been invited by Wellington composer John Psathas to take part in Cubasonic – his original score for over 500 musicians written especially for this year’s CubaDupa.

We’ve been learning and rehearsing our part in this epic piece since November and we’re really excited to be involved. The score is nothing like anything we’ve ever played before, which makes it fascinating and an excellent challenge to get our heads around.

John Psathas and CubaDupa director Gerry Paul were interviewed on Radio New Zealand this week. Have a listen and get excited about what’s to come – it’s gonna be huge!

Cubasonic: a mass musical disruption coming to the capital

A mass musical disruption is coming to the Capital as part of the CubaDupa festival next month.

500 muscians will line Cuba Street from one end to the other and perform an original score by Wellington composer John Psathas.

Add in a sound system across multiple city blocks and a locally-invented Tesla coil that can be played like a keyboard and shoots lightning into its surrounding and you’ve got Cubasonic.

Lynn’s guests are John Psathas and CubaDupa director Gerry Paul. CubaDupa is on March 28 and 29 in Wellington.
RNZ, Nine To Noon, 7 February 2020

Coastlands Carnival 2019

A birthday celebration up the coast

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers perform at the 50th Birthday Celebration for Coastlands Mall in Paraparaumu. Video by Tom S Etuata.

This was a fun gig that got a lot of people moving. The organizers have given us great feedback and apparently the crowd was good over the whole event. Here is a thank you from Jenny who was the main organiser (and a fellow sambista herself from Samba Ao Vento in Palmy).

Thank you all so much for helping put on such a great event on Saturday. We reckon about 4000 people over the five hours. It was such a large space it never felt like that but food trucks sold out and those who were there had a good time. The MC, production, stage, sound and music were exceptional. Thank you!
Jennie Gutry

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CubaDupa weekend 2019 – samba jam party

Jamming with our samba-loving mates from around NZ

Wellington Batucada host a samba jam party at the Cook Island Hall for all our samba-loving friends and bands from around the country. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Featuring Samba Ao Vento (Palmerston North), Sambatron (Hamilton), Tauranga Samba (Tauranga), Bay Batucada (Napier/Hastings), Nelson Ambassadors (Nelson), and Wellington Batucada (Wellington). With a bonus glimpse of Wellington Batucada’s Opera House stage performance the following day.

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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