CubaDupa 2021

We waited 2 years for this – and it was well worth the wait!

This is going to be something of an ever-expanding page as we gather up the tons of photos and videos out there, and put them together in some kind of order.

Mass Samba Carnival Bloco

Every year we get together with our sister samba schools from around the country who come down to perform at CubaDupa, and we play a Mass Samba Carnival Bloco together. Over 200 drummers and dancers, doing their thing. Love it.

This footage includes our one and only rehearsal together in the morning, together with the gig later that day.

Drummers and dancers of the mass bloco – CubaDupa 2021. Video by Tom S Etuata.

The parades

This year we did a parade down Cuba Street to our stage show, and a parade from our stage show to the Samba HQ at Whistling Sisters – and then for good measure, a mini-parade from Samba HQ all the way back up Cuba Street again. Awesome!

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers – CubaDupa parade x3 2021. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Stage show

The full video of our 30-minute stage performance on Sunday afternoon.

This gig felt amazing to be a part of – and the mixing desk guy was a complete genius, managing to capture voices and drums with the same mikes – impressive.

We LOVED doing this show – we think it’s one of our best CubaDupa performances ever – and when the sun broke through the clouds and shone down on us all – we got chills. Enjoy!

Wellington Batucada drummers, dancers and band – CubaDupa stage show 2021. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Photo galleries

There are many more photos to come, but let’s kick off with a photo montage taken by two of our own – Dani Fuenzalida and Nigel Sloley. The soundtrack is from our Mass Samba performance.

Photo montage of Wellington Batucada drummers, dancers and band – CubaDupa 2021.
Photos by Dani Fuenzalida and Nigel Sloley. Montage by Tom S Etuata.

CubaSonic at CubaDupa 2021

A beautiful disruption 3 years in the making…

Just a quick preview of our one-and-only World Premiere super-exclusive performance of CubaSonic by John Psathas.

More to come!

CubaSonic highlight clip from the premiere performance. Video by CubaDupa

From CubaDupa:

Witness the mass music sonic interruption everyone was talking about, #CubaSonic at CubaDupa 2021.

Take a look at this highlight clip from the premiere performance from the world-renowned composer John Psathas being played out by over 300 musicians from Orchestra Wellington, Royal New Zealand Air Force Band, The Nudge, Boat (Steve Cournane), Dale Jellyman, Richter City Rebels, 100 Batucada drummers and many more ensembles lining 500 meters of Cuba Street. Keep your eyes on our page as we have a longer feature to share soon.

Presented in association with Te Herenga Waka—Wellington Uni, with support from Creative New Zealand and PAF. 🎥 Samuel Pietras Create Now.

Aro Fair 2021

Taking part in a classic Welly happening

A beautiful day, at a beautiful Wellington community event – what could be better? We were thrilled to be asked to open for the famous ArOlympics this year. It was our pleasure!

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers at the Aro Fair 2021. Video by Tom S Etuata.

From Dani from Aro Valley Community Centre…

I just wanted to acknowledge you all and thank you for such an amazing performance at Aro Fair on Saturday 13th.

The energy you brought to the event, rhythm and the beautiful positive vibe really made a difference. And seeing you all engage with the ArOlympics games and crew was priceless!

Thank you all for your mahi, bringing joy to people with your music and dance!

Round the Bays Fun Run 2021

An early start, for a great cause

This is our second time performing at Round the Bays, and once again it was a very early (7.45am!) start for this great community event. We resurrected our CubaDupa 2018 costumes (shhh don’t tell anyone, but this is my favourite ever Batucada outfit!) which meant we were colourful and eye-catching for the runners as they thundered past.

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers at Round the Bays Fun Run 2021. Video by Tom S Etuata.

We played three 15-20 min sets between 7.45 and 9.30am – a set for each group of runners as they came past. I think we did quite a decent job – we had 14 inquiries about our beginners drumming and dance workshops in the days immediately following this gig. Not bad!

El Barrio Street Carnival 2021

Three gigs in one night

What an epic night!

First a street performance at the corner of Eva and Dixon Streets, then a gig in the Eva Beva Bar, and finally upstairs to El Barrio.

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers at the El Barrio Street Carnival 2021. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Great fun was had by all, our awesome CubaDupa 2018 outfits were given an airing (and they are also epic!), and we played our little hearts out and danced up a storm.

Let’s do it all again soon!

Multicultural Festival for Chinese New Year, Te Papa, 2021

Short but sweet

We were very happy to be invited to perform at this multicultural event at Te Papa, to celebrate Chinese New Year. We shared the stage with some of Wellington’s other wonderful community dance and musical groups from many different cultures, which is always a treat.

It may not have been our longest gig (one song plus a sneaky “encore” as the show wrapped up), but it was certainly enjoyable!

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers at Te Papa for the Multicultural Festival in celebration of Chinese New Year. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Johnsonville Christmas Parade 2020

Going strong since 2008

It’s been a good few years since we first began playing at the Johnsonville Christmas Parade, and we always love taking part.

A great community event, and a nice long street parade we can really get our teeth into. Plus we get to wear Santa hats and spruce up our drums with tinsel and Christmas decorations, and that’s never a bad thing.

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers at the Johnsonville Santa Parade 2020. Video by Tom S Etuata.

Marking International Dance Day 2020

Dance Day as memories, rather than action

It’s the last day of level 4 lockdown in New Zealand, and we should have been dancing in celebration of International Dance Day. All around the world, populations are sheltering in place as COVID-19 rages on.

So instead of dancing together today, let’s take an in-depth look at dance in Wellington Batucada, and what it means to us…

Wellington Batucada dancers share their thoughts (and their moves!) on International Dance Day 2020. Video by Tom S Etuata.

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.

Newtown Fair 2020

The last gig before lockdown…

Although we didn’t realise it at the time, the 2020 Newtown Fair was our last gig before lockdown, just over two weeks later.

It was an epic event, and we feel so blessed to have been able to come together, dancing and drumming our way through the streets of one of our favourite Wellington communities, one last time.

We know that, all being well, we’ll be drumming and dancing together again some day soon.

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers at the Newtown Fair 2020. Video by Tom S Etuata.