Light at the End of the Tunnel

Apologies for the lack of posts on this page in recent months. It may have appeared that noting was going on, but in fact, we have been so busy, that there has been no time to sit down and think about it all.

In addition, we have been a bit short-staffed, but with the addition of master drummer Niall Gregory to the team, we are back fighting fit, and getting on with the work. Niall was a founding member of Drogheda’s Ceol Batucada, and currently leads an Afro-Cuban group called Cachimbo, as well as being constantly in demand for gigs with a whole range of different bands. Niall brings a lot of experience to the team, and we are delighted that he has joined our team.

As we near the end of the school year, we are looking forward to a little less time committed to workshops, some interesting gigs, and catching up with a lot of admin.

It is an exciting time right now, though, and we have a lot of workshops to deliver in the near future. Firstly, we are back for our annual 6-week project in Scoil Iosagain, Crumlin, working with over 100 students there. We are approaching the half way point of this project, and the music is shaping up nicely. Today, we start work in a new school, St. Patrick’s BNS in Ringsend. It is only a couple of days to begin with, but we are looking forward to developing a good relationship with this school, and perhaps further work into the future. In addition, we are working away in our regular projects in Marino College, Loughlinstown and St. James’s Primary School, so this week, we will be working directly with over 500 children on percussion projects!

This Sunday, we are playing at Africa Day in Farmleigh, which is another first for us. We have been watching this gig grow in stature for several years, but never got around to getting involved in it. This year will be an interesting experiment to see if there is enough African DNA left in our version of Brazilian music to connect with this audience – we’re sure it will be great fun, and a great opportunity to see the amazing Farmleigh set up.

We have also been working hard to improve our own skills, and rehearsals have been quite focussed of late. In addition, 3 members of the group travelled to Berlin at the beginning of the month to participate in the ‘Conga Total’ course with our old friend and collaborator, Dudu Tucci. The course was challenging, but very enjoyable, and the guys have been meeting regularly since to try to practice what they learned and it’s all starting to sound good!

Tonight, we are doing a workshop with Brazilian percussionist Pitoco, who specialises in Maracatu and Ijexa rhythms. He is here working with Tom Duffy and the MIB crew, but we have been lucky enough to ‘borrow’ him for a couple of hours, and get some new information straight from the source.

We have also been plugging away at getting our building into better shape. We recently took deliver of some new kitchen appliances, funded through City of Dublin Youth Service, and over the next few weeks, we need to re-organise our social/kitchen area a little better, and give ourselves a little more space. It is all coming together though, and the space has become a home for us.

Over the summer, we are embarking on an exciting new project for Music Generation in Bray, and we have several interesting workshops and gigs on the horizon – more to follow!



About Simeon

Masamba Samba School is Ireland's premier Afro-Brasilian music and dance group.
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