Over the years, Masamba have been proud to welcome some of Brazil’s best drummers to Ireland to work with us. It is amazing to think that names such as Esteves da Silva, Dudu Tucci, Jonas d’Oliveira, Serrinha Raiz, Chris Quade Couto, John-Cristophe Jacquin, Jerome Boumendil, amongst others have travelled to this small island, and always found a welcome, and an attentive audience, keen to improve their skills.
This past weekend, we continued this practice of bringing the best of the best, in welcoming Mestre Maurao, Gabriel Lopes and JP Courtney to Dublin to deliver a weekend of brain-stretching breaks as part of the Bossas 2019 tour.
This event had been months in the planning, and we were delighted with a really healthy turnout of around 60 percussionists over the weekend, mostly from Dublin, but also representing Belfast, Tralee, Wexford, Sligo, the UK, and the original home of samba in Ireland – Drogheda!
The workshop took an innovative format, in that it concentrated mainly on learning some of the latest breaks from the Rio Samba Schools – literally breaks they had played at Carnaval only a few weeks ago!
However, interwoven with the breaks were lots of insights on technique, phrasing, details specific to each samba school, and a few jokes thrown in for good measure – it was very fast-paced, and I think we were all amazed by how much we got through over the weekend – 6 full Bossas from Vila Isabel, Beija Flor, Imperatriz, Mocidade (2) and Salgueiro – phew!
Hats off too, the the staff at the Clasac Centre in Clontarf. Clasac exists to promote traditional Irish arts, and in fairness to them, there was no budging them on moving or cancelling any of their regular classes. But, when they chose to accept the teaching of some Brazilian traditional music, they entered into the deal wholeheartedly, and were an absolute pleasure to work with! If only we could have a building like that for the samba community in Ireland!!
Personally, for some of us, it was great to see a third of the Monobloco group that toured Ireland in 2007 and 2008 back together again, wisecracking, smiling and sharing their love of samba music!
The weekend too was also a reminder of the great times we used to have at the Drogheda Samba Festival, which was always a good chance to get together, play some music and socialise.
Hopefully, we’ll get to do it all again before too long!
Many thanks to Karen Smyth and Aoife Kavanagh for sharing their photos. The Bossas Tour was organised by JP Percussion, Samba Beats and supported by the Contemporanea Music Company. The Irish Bossas Weekender was co-organised with Masamba Samba School, and part funded by Dublin City Council, the Arts Council/Music Network Instrument Capital Scheme, and the Arts Council Young Ensembles Scheme (who supported some members of the Masamba Youth Project to attend). Masamba’s Community Band is supported by the Community Services Programme, an initiative of the Department of Rural and Community Affairs.