Breaking the Silence

Those of you who know Masamba will knows that when we go quiet on social media, it’s usually because we are super-busy behind the scenes.

That’s why we aren’t posted anything here in several weeks, as there has been lots happening in the Masamba camp.

First for the bad news: We are being made homeless at the end of this month. Our landlord has decided to take the first opportunity to get out of our lease, and therefore, we have been on the hunt for a new rehearsal and storage space, to keep the Masamba machine going. Obviously, the property market in Dublin is crazy right now, and despite a lot of work, nothing has yet emerged as an option. Hopefully, we’ll be writing to you with a change of address very soon!

On a more positive note, we have been out looking for a new van, as we were lucky enough to get a grant from the Dormant Accounts Fund earlier this year, specifically to put the first ever dedicated Masamba vehicle on the road. We’re very excited about this, as it will increase the range of where we can work, and should also allow us to take on more work.

It is also the season for funding applications, and we have applied for funding to set up a couple of new, and interesting, projects that will be open to anyone to join – more about that, when we hear back from the funding agencies!

Finally, Simeon is just back from the famous Isle of Skye  over the weekend where he supported ex-Masamba member Sarah Walker in her work to bring samba to the West of Scotland!! MacLoud are a great bunch of people with a lot of passion for rhythm!

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Masamba – The Learning Hub

It’s such a shame that we will have to vacate our current rehearsal space and HQ in November, as we are finally getting to the point where it is becoming a learning hub for world music, as well as a base for Masamba’s many activities.
This Thursday (September 14th), we are hosting an introductory African Drumming and Dance session hosted by Shiv Ross. This will develop into a short course running for the next few Tuesdays at the space.

Also, on Thursday, we are starting back with our own Masamba Youth Project with a group of very dedicated local young drummers. They have been off for the last few weeks on their Summer holidays, but we have gigs coming up, so we need to get practicing!

On Saturday, we are hosting a special workshop in association with Maracatu Ilha Brilhante on the art of Xequeré playing. This workshop will be led by Raquel Cruces Ortego (Tambor Bacana & TaQuirikita, Spain), and all the details are on their facebook event page here.

Next Thursday, our own Beginners and Improvers Autumn series kicks off and we have a mixture of traditional and new material lined up for this six week course. All the details are on the flyer below.

So, the Autumn will be a feast of learning and fun, down at the old Masamba HQ!!

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The Month Ahead

June into July is always a time of change for us at Masamba. The schools work finishes up, and we come to rely more on gigs to keep us busy!

As the month began, we had a great little gig out in the Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre. The place started out relatively quiet, but was jumping as soon as we started playing! It was really nice to do such a simple old-school gig, and to be back in Dun Laoghaire again!

All smiles, playing at the Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre!

The following night, we played a wedding for a Brazilian-Irish couple, and as often happens at these things, the Brazilians couldn’t wait to get onto the dance floor and strut their stuff. The bride was even seen leading some Axé dance moves up front – giving it socks!!

On Tuesday evening, we re-visited our friends at Nando’s in Santry for their annual Grill Off competition. This involves a team of their chefs from different restaurants competing to see who is the best cook. Of course, you need samba percussion and a DJ set from Frank Jez to accompany that, but we weren’t complaining as they are a great, ‘up for it’ group of people AND they feed us and give us beer!

For the rest of the month, we have some highly visible work, and some invisible work. The ‘invisible’ work involves sorting through our workshop instruments, doing a stock take, and making repairs where necessary. It is great to get everything back into the Masamba HQ every so often, and get it all sorted!

Sorting out the many, many drumskins hidden in different corners of the Masamba HQ. Some are revelations, some are for the bin!

The other ‘invisible’ work (at first, at least), is the purchasing of a new van for the band. We were delighted to learn recently that we have been  awarded a grant of almost €23,000 to buy a brand new splitter van to support all our community projects. This will make life a lot easier, and will also extend the range of where we can deliver workshops and small gigs. This funding is part of the Dormant Accounts allocation and is managed by Pobal on behalf of the  Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Our new van will look something like this – very exciting!

Gigging-wise, we have a few cool public things coming up:

  • City Spectacular in Dublin this Saturday and Sunday (8th and 9th July)
  • Swords Family Day, Sunday, July 23rd
  • CVLTO DO FVTVRV as part of ‘Wilder Beings Command’ with artist Stephan Diotschinoff and drummer Iggor Cavalera at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Saturday, 29th July.

This last gig at IMMA should be very exciting on a number of levels. It allows us to collaborate with a visual artist on some themes close to our hearts. It facilitates us to throw the net a little wider and bring in some drummers from outside the immediate band. It allows us the opportunity to work with one of the best-known drummers in Brazil, and a real legend in the Thrash/Groove Metal scene.

Stephan Doitschinoff, CVLTO DO FVTVRV, 2016 (performance detail). Image courtesy the artist. Photography Franco Amendola.

There are lots of other smaller things happening, including a couple of really cool workshops in Ashbourne and Clongowes Wood, and at the very end of the month (July 31st), we start a week-long summer camp in Charlesland, Greystones as part of Music Generation Wicklow. We had great sun working with these kids earlier in the year, and so it should be a blast!!

Summer Holidays – who needs them??


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Proud to be part of Pride

This year, Masamba members will again be bringing the samba beat to one of Ireland’s largest and most colourful street events – the Pride Parade 2017!

After the St. Patrick’s Festival parade, Pride is probably now the 2nd biggest parade through the capital, and mixes both serious political campaigning with out-and-out hedonism in a way that seems to work for everyone.

This year, we will again team up with our friends in the INTO LGBT group to shimmy our way across the city. We are also organising drummers for SIPTU and Nando’s, so it will be a busy day in the Masamba camp!

Anyone intending to come along should note that the never-ending LUAS works have forced the organisers to plan a whole new route this year, which starts at St. Stephens’s Green and ends in Smithfield. full details can be found here. Pride Parade Route

Afterwards, it will be time for some Prosecco and Pizza – sure, we have to celebrate too! 

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Mural Project 2017

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More Collabs, Y’all!

We mentioned earlier in the week, our excellent collaboration with artist Will St. Leger, on a mural that will decorate the front of our building. That’s not all.

A couple of weeks back, we were contacted by a dancer called Fernanda Faez, who had lived in Ireland and studied Irish dance while she was here. Amazingly, she leads a group of Brazilians who have learned Irish dance in Sao Paulo, and more amazingly, they were planning a trip to Ireland to participate in the 2017 World Irish Dancing Championships which take place in Citywest later this month.

Irish dance

What has all this got to do with Masamba? Well, the group needed a friendly space to carry out their last few rehearsals before the big competitions, and mutual friends in Brazil connected us. We at Masamba were only too willing to support an organisation that is mirroring what we do in Brazil – they are promoting Irish culture in Brazil, while we are promoting Brazilian culture in Ireland.

As well as hosting some of their rehearsals, we have also organised for them to do a performance with our neighbours in St. Patrick’s Hospital, and the group will also be joining us for our performance at the Crinniu na Casca event in St. Stephen’s Green on Monday, April 17th.

So, as well as all the work on the mural next week, and all of Masamba’s other gigs and workshops, we will have 30 Brazilian dancers strutting their stuff up on the mezzanine. And, if you weren’t coming to see our show in Stephen’s Green on Easter Monday, you now have another reason to join us for the craic!


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Variety is the Spice of Life!

It’s all go in the Masamba camp at the moment.

As well as all our usual gigs and workshops, we are involved in a couple of really interesting collaborations, which are a little bit out of our comfort zone, but look like they will be fun!

Firstly, we have been planning a mural for the front of our building for several months, but we are finally in a position to actually start work on it, following some amazing workshops involving our youth project and artist Will St. Leger.

Members of our Youth Project working with artist Will St. Leger on ideas for our mural.

Members of our Youth Project working with artist Will St. Leger on ideas for our mural.

We have decided on the theme of Gulliver’s Travels, which has a special significance for us for two reasons. Firstly, Jonathan Swift, who wrote Gulliver’s Travels, founded St. Patrick’s Hospital, which is right across the road from us on Bow Lane West. Secondly, this year is the 350th anniversary of Swift’s birth, and there are a number of events scheduled for this year to celebrate this great man and his many works.

Our young members have been thinking about the meaning of Gulliver’s Travels and have come up with some great ideas around how these could be represented on our building. We are all very excited by this project, and look forward to it’s completion.

Also, can we take this opportunity to thank MRCB Paints for giving us a load of materials for free and also the Dublin Bus Community Spirit Awards for a grant towards making this project a reality, and allowing us to work with an artist of the calibre of Will St. Leger.

We have more news about another cool collaboration, and as soon as we have firmed up the details, we’ll share them with you.

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We’re Hiring!

Music Tutor Required

Masamba Samba School is a busy music collective based in the historic Liberties area of Dublin. We are seeking applications for the post of Music Tutor, a position funded through the Community Services Programme of the Department of Social Protection.


This is a full-time position (39 hours per week), with a basic salary of €19033 per annum, and the possibility of significant performance-related bonuses.


The job will primarily involve delivering percussion workshops with children and young people in the greater Dublin area, but the successful candidate must be open to working anywhere on the island of Ireland and with diverse participant groups.


In addition to teaching work, the successful candidate will be expected to deliver some admin. and marketing duties.




Percussion skills to grade 8 or higher, or relevant practical experience

Good Communication Skills

Good Teamwork Skills

Good Computer Skills (Word, Excel, Photoshop, Web and Email)

Strong Personal Motivation



Teaching experience

A full, clean driving license and access to a car or van.



All applications must include at least 3 relevant referees.

The Community Services Programme is a labour activation measure, and candidates must fit one of the following criteria:

  1. Person in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB), Jobseeker’s Assistance (JA) or one parent family payment (OPF).
  2. Persons in receipt of disability allowance (DA), invalidity pension, blind persons pension or other disability benefit.
  3. Travellers in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Assistance or one parent family benefit.
  4. Stabilised and recovering drug mis‐users.
  5. People employed from Tús, Community Employment (CE) and Job Initiatives (JI) schemes are deemed eligible. Former RSS workers who were previously CE placements are also eligible.
  6. Ex‐prisoners.

Successful candidates will be Garda vetted


Applications can be emailed or posted and must be at our office no later than 5.30pm on Friday, 7th April 2017. Interviews will take place on Wednesday, April 26th.


Masamba Samba School, 25-27 Bow Lane West, Dublin 8. Tel. 01-6336797/087-2363813, Email., Web.

NDP LogoPobal screen large

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Extension of Funding under Community Services Programme

We were delighted to learn that our Business Plan has been approved, and that our funding under the Community Services Programme has been extended for another 3 years, bringing us up to the end of 2019.

The Community Services Fund (CSP) is an initiative of the Department of Social Protection and is designed to support 3rd sector enterprises such as Masamba that would not be able to deliver a service in the regular economic market. The idea is that the company has to generate a certain level of its own funding through earnings, and that we should be moving towards eventually being financially able to run without any external funding.

The CSP supports our work in local communities, specifically those communities that experience social and financial disadvantage. This work would include almost all of the workshops we deliver. This funding has allowed us the stability to be able to develop long-term relationships with several schools and youth organisations, and to be able to support several other community organisations through workshops and performances.

As well as the  fact that the confirmation of the new funding means that we can focus on doing our jobs, and not fundraising, we have also been granted funding to employ an extra music tutor, which should allow us to work with a greater number of projects, and free up our Manager to well, manage.

The Community Service Programme is managed by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Social Protection and is part of the National Development Plan.

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CDYSB Support for Masamba Youth Project

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a grant of €2000 by the City of Dublin Youth Service Board (CDYSB). This grant will be used to purchase some new instruments and sticks for our Youth Project, and to provide some workshops in new areas of percussion.


We are delighted to be able to bring in David Day to deliver some sessions in African Drumming to the group. We feel that some knowledge on this subject will educate young band members as to the strong African influence that permeates samba music, and it will also develop and improve playing techniques. David is a great guy, with tons of experience of working with young people, so our tutors will probably be learning a lot from him too!
We will also be starting to do some serious work on maracatu rhythms with Niall Gregory, and Simeon Smith, and will be purchasing some hand-made alfaias, specifically for the group to use – there are going to be a few loud evenings in the rehearsal room!
We are delighted with this news, and the continued support of the CDYSB, who have been a constant ally in helping us to work with young people for many years. Our youth project is also supported through the Community Services Programme and the Arts Council.
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