What a fun month we had in July!
Admittedly, it was an unusual one, but then, as time goes by, we’ve come to realise that there is nothing ‘usual’ in the life of a samba group, and that the ability to embrace change and uncertainty are very important.
We began the month with a short inservice course for primary school teachers in St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra. This involved working for three days with a very enthusiastic group of teachers, helping them to develop skills they could use in the classroom.
Simultaneously, we began a summer-long series of workshops with the Seen & heard Carnival group. This is a group of young people from the Dublin 7 area, who are interested to develop street theatre and carnival skills. We are currently working on a drumming project which will culminate in a performance in September. The group is around 16 young people, all very talented, and we can see some great potential there already.
The 2nd week of the month, saw a lot of activity in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, working towards the Muckno Mania Festival. All week, we worked with a group of local young people who formed a drumming group for a short parade and stage show on the Sunday of the Festival. This group were very talented, and we managed to get 3 pieces of music down in just three days!
In addition, MaSamba travelled to Castlebleyney on the Friday, to perform at the attempt to set a new world record, by having the greatest number of people dressed as the Incredible Hulk in one place. The record was smashed, with a total of 574 Hulks, including one samba band leader!
The 3rd week, saw our performance band enter ‘the studio’ to make some recordings of our current set. Rather than move all the gear to an external studio, and spend a lot of time setting everything up, we brought Al Cowan from Sonic Studios in to work at our rehearsal space. This allowed us a lot of flexibility in terms of instrumentation, and saved a lot of time and effort, which could then be invested in the recording. We got some great demo material from these sessions, and the plan will be to re-work them later in the year towards a possible commercial release.
The end of that week also saw Simeon off to London to participate in the Bloco Lapa Londres parade at the One Hackney Festival. Simeon has a lot of friends in Hackney, so it was like a home parade for him. The fact that the whole thing was connected to the Olympics and involved collaboration with Monobloco and Bloco Sargento Pimenta, just added to it.
Simeon also got to perform in Guanabara with Monobloco, and had some good, old-fashioned punk-rock fun along the way.
The 4th week started with a whole series of meetings, planning for the immediate and distant future. Often, there isn’t enough time to spend assessing where we are, and planning for where we need to be, and this week was a valuable opportunity to hear from others what’s going on, and to see where we can work in partnership with our colleagues in the education and music sectors.
The end of the week saw us hosting Ari Colares from Sao Paulo, as part of his Contemporanea sponsored European tour. Ari was in town to deliver a workshop as part of the Big Bang Festival, which went extremely well. In addition, MaSamba personnel were involved in the Bloco de Dublin rehearsal and performance, and the Big Bang drumming extravaganza, so it was a busy weekend all round.
The month was almost over, but there was still time to squeeze in some recording with Ari on the Monday morning, and a session with the Seen & Heard drummers that afternoon, AND a conga session with percussionist Brian Rice on Tuesday!
Dont’cha just love the Summer ‘holidays’?