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Masamba Résille!

Last week, we welcomed a group of 54 members of Samba Résille from Toulouse to our shores and our rehearsal space. The group was in town to participate in a masterclass with the Masamba team, and over a week we managed to develop four full pieces of music, introduce band members to new instruments, and introduce new technical playing skills. In addition, the group attended a three hour intensive workshop on Afro-Brazilian dance with our good friend and collaborator, Alessandra Azevedo.

Probably the highlight of the week though was at the regular Masamba Wednesday rehearsal, where we were joined by the full complement of Samba Résille members. Not only that, but some of our ex-members came by too, to say hello to our French colleagues, and of course, to play some samba percussion. It was exciting to have roughly 75 drummers in the room, all playing the same rhythms. We dubbed this new group ‘Masamba Résille’! Afterwards, we retired to the Bleeker Street Bar, where we shared some amazing local delicacies, a few drinks and a lot of dancing and singing – just like old times!

As a side project, we teamed up French-based street artist Olmo with children from St. James's Primary School to design and paint a graf mural on the theme of 'Welcome'. The welcome refers not only to 'Ireland of the Welcomes' but also as a statement that the school welcomes students from many different cultures and backgrounds. As well as the main text in English, the group chose to include ‘welcome’ in several different languages, representing the ethnic diversity of the school population. In addition to the design and painting, the school children took over the photographic duties and many of the photos of the work on the mural are taken by the children themselves – such a multi-talented crew! Despite language differences, the project proceeded smoothly, and at the end of the week, a vibrant new artwork emerged from the boring bricks of the school. The group celebrated their achievements with a pizza party, and explained to school staff how the mural was created, pointing out who painted what. All in all, it was an amazing week of creativity and teamwork, that the students will remember forever.

There was also time for the Samba Résille trainees to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Dublin. In their free time, the group visited many tourist attractions, restaurants, and even a couple of bars along the way!


We were very sad to see our French friends go at the end of the week, and there are already discussions around further opportunities to collaborate both in Ireland and in France. We all agreed that overall, it was both a productive and enjoyable week! Many thanks to all St. James’s Primary School who allowed us to monopolise their hall for a week, Johnnie and his staff at the Bleeker Street Bar, and everyone who loaned us instruments, catering equipment, and the rest – the week was a real team effort!

The Samba Résille visit was supported by the EU Erasmus+ Programme:

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