In the last 3 months, Masamba has delivered over 200 workshops in schools, youth clubs, and with people with disabilities. Before the school term ended, we calculated that we were working with over 600 people a week in percussion workshops, which is an amazing thing, and something that we are very proud of.
But where do we get our ideas? Who trains the trainers? To stay fresh and enthusiastic, it’s important that our workshop team has access to top-level percussion training on a regular basis, and this year, we are spoiled for choice!
Next week, Simeon and Sharon will be travelling to Belfast to participate in a 2-day training workshop with the legendary Sam Alexander. Sam is one of the early members of the London School of Samba, founder of Maracatu Estrelha do Norte and Bloco Eri Okan, as well as having a plethora of recording and composing credits to his name. He has also lived in Recife, where he developed his lifelong passion for maracatu, coco and the other amazing rhythms of the Northeast, and is also an endorsee for the Contemporanea Instrument Company.
This particular training event will focus on the roots of samba, and should allow us to develop a greater insight as to the very fundamental elements of the music we love.
Into the bargain, it is a chance to work with our drumming colleagues from Beat’n’Drum – Belfast’s disciples of the Beats!
The following Tuesday, Masamba members will welcome Jorge Martins to the rehearsal space for an evening of rhythms from the Northeast of Brasil.
Jorge is, amongst other things, a member of the pre-eminent Maracatu group – Maracatu Estrelha Brilliant, and has a whole host of recording and directing credits to his name. Most recently, Jorge has been in Ireland as a coordinator of the 6th European Encontro of Maracatus, and while Masamba personnel couldn’t participate in that project, we can now play catch-up in this workshop.
The following weekend, Simeon is taking a little holiday in London, but funnily enough, it will coincide with ‘Project Rio’, an initiative of the London School of Samba, with whom we have links going back to 1999.
This project involves two days of workshops with the ‘Octopus of Samba’, Mestre Jonas d’Oliveira! Jonas is a close personal friend of Simeon’s and a great contributor to MaSamba’s sound, with us having done several workshops with him in Ireland the UK and Brasil over the years.
It will also be an opportunity to link in with the London School of Samba posse for the 2nd time this year, which always promises to be both fun, and educational.
So, far from taking a holiday in August, the MaSamba crew is back in training, and getting ready for a new school year!