CubaDupa 2024 – day 2

Batucada Chegou – we are here, we’ve arrived, we are strong and proud

Wellington Batucada tam line - CubaDupa 2024 day 2 - photo by Paul Taylor

The theme of our CubaDupa 2024 performance is Batucada Chegou – we are here, we’ve arrived, we are strong and proud. It was reflected in our stage show, in our costumes featuring a new fabric design by director Tim Cooke, and in the giant signs which were paraded alongside us, written in Portuguese, English and te reo Maori. Even our drums were decorated to match – together with handmade flags, handed out to our audience so they could join in the fun.

It was a completely cohesive presentation, months in the making.
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Island Bay Festival Parade 2024

Fun in the sun in the teeth of a howling southerly

Wellington Batucada at the Island Bay Festival 2024 - photo by Island Bay Festival

It’s not often that we have to wear thermals and our special Batucada warm and snuggly red sweatshirts for a gig in February – but there you go. That’s the unpredictable Wellington weather for you, especially in these days of climate change.

We’ve played at the Island Bay Festival Parade for many years, and really enjoy it. It’s a long parade that goes all the way down The Parade to Shorland Park on the waterfront. It’s quite a tricky one to get right, timing-wise. In past years we’ve either gone too slow (2023) and arrived so late there wasn’t time for us to play at the Rotunda, or we’ve galloped along (2021) – not easy when you’re carrying a big drum – and arrived very hot and sweaty and completely knackered.

So it was a bit of a miracle that this year (a bit like Goldilocks) we managed to get it just right. Not too fast, not too slow. And also not that easy marching into the teeth of a howling southerly.
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Diversity Festival 2023

On-stage in a multicultural extravaganza

Wellington Batucada on-stage at the Diversity Festival 2023 - photo by Diversity Network

In 2023, for the first time, Wellington Batucada were invited to take part in the Diversity Festival. As we’re such a large, loud band, we don’t get to do proper indoor stage performances on a proper indoor stage that often, so it was great to get the opportunity to do our thing at Victoria University’s Memorial Theatre, which was the venue for the event. Various members of the band were also featured in other performances throughout the night, which was great, as we were able to watch each other as well as perform!
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Walking Stars 2023

Fairy lights on the waterfront

Wellington Batucada at Walking Stars 2023 - photo by Andre Grobler

Walking Stars is a night-time fundraising event for the Cancer Society, with participants walking a half marathon or a 12km loop in Wellington city. It’s the partner event for the Relay for Life. We have supported both events for many years now, drumming and dancing for the walkers as they head around the waterfront.

Walking Stars brings people together in a fun, vibrant environment to raise vital funds in support of local people living with cancer.

We give the walkers a big lift and we always get lots of smiles and waves from them, plus a few funky dance moves thrown in for good measure.
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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Netherlands vs Spain

A quarter-final in shades of orange (and a bit of red)

Batucada team photo at the FIFA Women's World Cup, Spain vs the Netherlands - photo by AliG

Following the huge success of our Batucada-led fan parade for the Netherlands team a couple of weeks ago, the Dutch Embassy asked us to do it all again for their quarter-final clash with Spain. Of course we said yes! What fun!

It was a beautiful sunny day, and the sky was the most intense midwinter blue you’ve ever seen. It was hot! And the crowds of fans carrying orange flags ready to parade along the waterfront were, if anything, even larger than last time.

Once again we made it onto the ONE News bulletin (go us!) and a quite magnificent time was had by all.
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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Italy vs South Africa

Freezing our socks off down at the waterfront

Wellington Batucada drummers at the FIFA Women's World Cup, Italy vs South Africa - photo by Satya Priyomarsono

Our second evening gig for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 was on a blustery, utterly FREEZING night in early August. Truly the middle of winter – and it felt like it.

I still can’t quite believe our dancers didn’t just keel over with the sheer bitterness of the weather. They don’t get to wear thermals hidden under their costumes like the band can, and I could see the icy wind just whipping their flimsy outfits around like frozen autumn leaves as they danced in front of us.
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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Netherlands vs USA

An orange extravaganza

Wellington Batucada at FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 - Netherlands vs USA. Photo by Alison Green.

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!
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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Spain vs Costa Rica

Kicking off the FIFA Women’s World Cup in style

Wellington Batucada at FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 - Spain vs Costa Rica. Photo by Carolina PratoCasanova.

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.
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Relay for Life 2023

A purple day at the races

Wellington Batucada at the Relay for Life 2023 - photo by AliG

Relay For Life is an inspiring community experience that gives everyone a chance to celebrate cancer survivors and carers; remember loved ones lost to cancer; and fight back by raising awareness and funds to support the work of the Cancer Society. It’s a great cause, and one we’re honoured to have been invited to play for once again.

It’s an event full of energy and emotion. Whether you have a connection to someone who has been or is going through cancer, or you just want to make a difference – Relay For Life is for you. The event was again held at Trentham Racecourse – and we were happy to be back after last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.
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CubaDupa 2023 – day 2

The mass samba bloco

Wellington Batucada at CubaDupa 2023 day 2 - mass samba bloco. Photo by friends of Jennifer Montgomery.

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.

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