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Ilê Aiyê and Dudu Tucci

Things are particularly busy in the Masamba camp at the moment, as we enter Summer season. This Summer is super-special, as it marks our 30th anniversary. In Brazilian ethnic music terms, 30 years is nothing special, with some groups tracing their history back hundreds of years, but we think it is quite an achievement given that we are 5,000 miles from the source, and have always been on the margins of the cultural scene here in Ireland.

This past week, we had the great pleasure and honour to provide support for the visit of Ilê Aiyê to Dublin. We hosted 8 members of this legendary group at our rehearsals on Wednesday evening, where they put us through our paces running through a number of key grooves from their repertoire. The following day, we provided technical support for their workshop at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and then for their sell out show at the Button Factory. A large contingent of Masamba members and friends attended the show, and the feedback was universally positive and emotional.

However, no time to rest on our laurels, as we have another important event coming up next weekend. We have been working with our friend and mentor Dudu Tucci since 1996, when we attended a workshop he delivered in Manchester, and since then, we have collaborated numerous times in Dublin, Drogheda, Belfast, Berlin and Salvador, Bahia. Dudu always brings new insights and new material, and much of our core repertoire is based on material we have learned from him. Importantly for us, as well as musical repertoire and technique, Dudu always gives us insights in to the rich culture of Brazil that has created this wonderful music and dance.

Dudu returns to Ireland on Friday 12th July when he will deliver a masterclass with the Masamba Youth Project. Following that, he will work with the Masamba adult group and guests over the weekend, with promise of new music and new insights to keep us all busy. We will take a short break for a barbecue on the Saturday evening, where no doubt many stories will be told.

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