This week we began the process of returning to rehearsals and workshops in a safe environment. When the initial COVID-19 restrictions came into being just before St. Patrick’s Day, we were frustrated to be losing out on one of the busiest times of year for us. Back then, none of us could know that six months later, we would still be in a position where there are no gigs and no workshops, and no clear picture of when things will get back to normal.

That’s not to say that Masamba has been inactive in all that time. We had a huge backlog of administration and policy work to get through. One positive outcome that we could take the time to catch up with this important work. We also took the opportunity to carry out the most extensive process of instrument maintenance we’ve done in manys a year.

It was important to stay busy, but it was staying busy carrying out work that doesn’t generate any income. Despite continued funding under the Community Services Programme, we still need to be earning something to survive.

Also, as time went on, we realised that we were missing out on the human interactions of working and playing with a diverse selection of wonderful people. Admin, policy and maintenance work is all energy out, but we get NO ENERGY BACK!

Positive Developments

This week, things are finally starting to move again. We have figured out a way to make rehearsals work in the short term, with a lot of co-operation from Barry at Jigsaw. Likewise, we had a walk-though in the DCC Sports Centre on Marrowbone Lane this morning. Following this, we are confident we can safely deliver sessions with our youth project, although numbers will have to remain limited for the moment.

We have also been in contact with some of our ‘regular’ schools, and it we’ve negotiated a safe way back into schools work. Through a mixture of working in outdoor spaces, working in classrooms with a revised set of instruments, and of course, regular sanitising of instruments we can deliver drumming workshops in most settings. 

There is still a long journey ahead before we get back to ‘normal’. I put ‘normal’ in inverted commas, because I believe that what we will end up with is a blend between what we used to do, and some of the current ‘new’ ways of working. Most importantly, we will be back working with, and for, real people in real communities. That has to be a good thing!

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About Simeon

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