An orange extravaganza
It’s quite tricky finding orange clothing. It’s just not that popular a colour these days (oh to be back in the 1970s!) – but I really think it should be making a comeback, because it’s quite spectacular – especially en masse. As you will see from the photos.
The reason we needed orange gear – not a colour generally associated with our Batucada uniform – is that we were invited by the Dutch Embassy to lead their fan parade from the Shed 6 Fanzone to the Stadium. The game was a BIG ONE – featuring the two finalists from the last Women’s World Cup – Netherlands vs USA. Of course we said yes – how could we not? How exciting!
Kicking off the FIFA Women’s World Cup in style
We were rather thrilled to be asked to provide entertainment for those in the Fan Zone at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this year. We’ve done our share of waterfront performances and parades for big sporting occasions over the years – and it’s great to be able to add another fantastic event to our collective CV.
Our first game was Spain vs Costa Rica – on a super-cold winter’s late afternoon/early evening in late July. What fun! At least if you’re a drummer you can layer multiple undershirts, thermals and vests under your band uniform t-shirt (I was wearing six layers in total, plus scarf, hat and gloves) – but pity the poor (super-staunch) dancers who have much less of a uniform under which to hide extra layers – I’m in awe, quite frankly. They are amazing.
The mass samba bloco
Over the years, the various samba schools around Aotearoa have developed their own styles, arrangements and choreography, based on the rhythms of Brazil. But we still all share a few patterns, mainly those taught to us a few years ago at the Jambalaya Festival and our own Sambanui immersive workshops.
On day 2 at CubaDupa we were given the opportunity to showcase a couple of these arrangements, with all the samba schools drumming and dancing together in the mass samba bloco. It’s a fantastic experience.
It’s great to be back!
Oh CubaDupa, how we have missed you!
Our big CubaDupa performance this year was a little more low-key than in previous years – being off-stage at Swan Lane instead of on – but that gave us a fantastic opportunity to include all our signed-off drummers and dancers, rather than having to select only as many as we could fit on-stage.
Keeping it in the family
We have a family connection with Miramar Central School, via our gig co-ordinator Gordo – so we were delighted to be invited to provide the entertainment for this year’s Cultural Food Fair at Miramar Central School.
Doing the Newtown Shuffle once more
Like many festivals and events last year, Newtown was cancelled due to COVID – so it was completely brilliant to be back again in 2023.
It’s Carnaval time!
Our friends at El Barrio do a great job of celebrating Carnaval, and they invited Batucada drummers to take part in their week-long festival of all things samba.
We were delighted to accept, and our dancers came along for a good old boogie as part of the audience.
The long parade along The Parade
We’ve been doing the Island Bay Festival parade for a few years now – it’s one of just a few local parades in suburban Wellington, and we always enjoy it. This year was an earlier start than usual – with heaps of festival activities planned for later on in the afternoon, the organisers had decided to kick things off nice and early on Sunday morning.
It’s a long way down The Parade to the waterfront, and perhaps saving the best until last – or maybe it’s because we’re not particularly speedy – we always get placed almost at the end – just in front of the horses (poor things!).
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!).