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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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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:
- Person in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB), Jobseeker’s Assistance (JA) or one parent family payment (OPF).
- Persons in receipt of disability allowance (DA), invalidity pension, blind persons pension or other disability benefit.
- Travellers in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Assistance or one parent family benefit.
- Stabilised and recovering drug mis‐users.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Several months back, we were approached to get involved in an exciting new Hallowe’en celebration for the North East Inner City of Dublin.
This area often gets negative publicity, and while it is not without its problems, the area is populated by many decent hardworking folk, who only want what’s best for their children and their community.
We were tasked with setting up three ‘pop up samba bands’ that would be ready to perform as part of these celebrations, now named the ‘BallyMacSheriff Hallowe’en Festival’. The event is funded by Dublin City Council, and supported by several leading community and cultural organisations, so for once, there was. Decent budget and a tight, but workable deadline to make it all happen.
We have been working in Rutland Street/Sean MacDermott Street, Ballybough and Sheriff Street with roughly 45 kids for the last five weeks and progress has been good, despite all the issues that come with delivering short projects, in communities that are already stretched to the limit in terms of time and resources.
The plan will be to support all three groups to perform on Hallowe’en night in a mixture of parades and static performances, and also to have the Masamba band on hand as well to perform and add a bit of extra colour to the event.
While we are looking forward to it, and confident that it will be a huge success, it will also be nice to get it finished, as we will have delivered 68 workshops during the month of October, and other work is backing up!
Every year, at this time, we begin to get back to our schools and youth club work in earnest. There is always a couple of weeks when everyone is getting settled, and then BOOM! – it all kicks off.
It’s definitely that time right now, with no less than 17 workshops on the agenda for this week, and the possibility of a couple of other projects being added to the list, if we can fit them in.
As well as our regular schools, the big project at the moment is the preparation for a big Hallowe’en Parade and Party in Dublin’s North East Inner City. This area has had it rough over the last few months (arguably over the last 30 years), but it is a resilient and creative community, bursting with character and characters! We will be delivering workshops in three local areas over the next few weeks culminating in a very ambitious and diverse celebration on Hallowe’en Night itself.
We will be letting you all know more about this project as details emerge, but it’s looking really exciting!
It’s that time of the year, when almost everyone is looking forward to the school holidays, especially the teachers!
We always meet this time of the year with mixed emotions. On one hand, it is nice to get a break, especially as many of our students are so hyped up about the holidays that teaching them has become difficult to say the least. On the other hand, it represents a huge drop in income and a departure from the regular routine of the school week.
One big positive, is that we get to bring all our workshop instruments back to the MaSamba workshop, and assess the damage inflicted over a busy year! In the main, our students do not mis-treat instruments, but being played by inexperienced players is hard on the gear, and accidents do happen! We use Contemporanea surdos for our workshop stock, and they have lasted really well, but there are always little jobs, and some not-so little jobs.
This week, we had the opportunity to do some of this drum maintenance work, and realise a long-held aspiration – to get the final workshop drums fitted with legs. Legs are not essential for workshop instruments, but we like them for many reasons, and even though they cost a lot of money, they are worth the cash and the effort of fitting them.
So, with a few quiet hours in the workshop, we set about stripping down four surdos, cleaning them up, doing a little panel beating to iron out some of the dents, and drilling the shells to fit the new legs. Then, it’s time to re-assemble everything and check that it all works. One final job is cutting down the legs, as the workshop drums are all shorter bodies, and this will help when packing them in the van!
All in all, this job took about three hours, but was both necessary and satisfying! Unfortunately there are plenty more repairs needed before all our workshop gear is back in full working order.
This work is part supported by the Arts council/Music Network Instrument Capital Scheme.
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!