Last month was a very busy and extremely varied month in Masambaworld, culminating in three gigs on Hallowe’en Night – we were literally working up to the ‘death’ of the month!
Gigging-wise, we began the month with an event in the Bram Stoker Park, Clontarf, where we saw possibly the longest queues for ice-cream ever witnesses in Dublin, but nonetheless had a thoroughly enjoyable day playing some tunes with the assistance of local children.
On October 17th, we went back to our roots, playing at the launch of a new public art piece on the City Quay Campshires. The piece was an iridescent installation by artist Alva Gallagher, and the event was hosted by Dublin City Council and Dublin Tourism. This was somewhat of a homecoming for us, as this is exactly where we practiced in the very earliest days of the band, what back in the mid-1990s!
Above: Members of Masamba with Lord Mayor oof Dublin Daithí de Róiste. Photo: Julien Behal.
Towards the end of the month, we were involved in two of our favourites events of the year. The first was our annual visit to the Phoenix Park to cheer on the participants in the Dublin City Marathon, Despite starting in some pretty poor weather, it was heartening to see the people of all shapes, sizes, nationalities and levels of fitness taking part in this event, and as always, we got a lot of positive feedback from the runners. The sun even came out for the last bit of the gig, and dried out the drums, just in time for…
Hallowe’en Night! This year, we were involved in three events, all in the same geographical area of Dublin’s North East Inner City. This area has had more than its fair share of setbacks and tragedies over the last few years, but it has never stopped the community from putting together some great celebratory events. We began the evening at our usual ‘haunt’ – Sheriff Street, and then moved up to the Mud Island Community Garden for a mini-parade and stationary gig, to a very receptive audience. At the same time, our remote team of Des and Jake were working with some fire artists down on the Royal Canal Greenway – another regular venue of our in recent years. The weather turned nasty, but it didn’t dampen the spirits any, and we left the area with a great sense of achievement (and wet feet).
Above: A great images of the pagan vibe at the Mud Island Community Garden Halloween event. Photo: Matthew Spalding.
Workshop wise, we were also very busy. We always prefer the longer-term workshop projects, as they allow for a more developmental approach, and right now, we are in the middle of a number of these projects.
Killinarden School Samba Project
This is the continuation of a project we began last year, whereby we deliver weekly drumming workshops with three local schools in the Killinarden area – Scoil Chaitlin Maude, Knockmore Primary School, and Sacred Heart Senior Primary School. Every so often, we bring the schools together for a combined rehearsal of up to 60 players, and at this point the group becomes ‘Sambanarden’! We are currently delivering workshops with these schools, and working towards a performance in Dublin airport on December 12th.
St. James’s Primary School
We deliver 8 workshops in the school on Fridays between 09.00 and 2.30 pm. We are resumed sessions here on Friday, October 6th and will run through to mid-December.
Music Network/Exchange House Project
Exchange House is the national resource for Traveller youth work. This project involves a series of 8 workshops with a group of Traveller girls aged 11-14 years of age on a project involving both music and dance. This project runs through to December 1st, and is funded by Music Network.
Above: Some of the participants in our project with Exchange House Traveller Youth Service. Photo: Sally Flynn.
NCH – Mullingar Mental Health Project
Following a successful project in the Spring, we were asked to return to Mullingar on behalf of the National Concert Hall, to deliver 8 weeks of workshops with a group of adults with mental health issues. Progress has been really good, and the project ends in early November.
NEIC/Mud Island Project
This project took place in the run up to Hallowe’en and involved a series of workshops with local people on making instruments from recycled materials with the support of our friend and colleague Marcos China from Rio de Janeiro. Luckily for Marcos, he didn’t need to brave the Irish weather, joining us instead via Zoom and creating short instructional videos for is to follow. The group made maracas and ganza shakers which were thus incorporated into the Hallowe’en celebrations in the Mud Island Community Garden This project was funded by the NEIC Community Arts Initiative and supported by Mud Island Community Garden.
Above: Our maraca making assembly line in full swing at the Mud Island Community Garden. Photo: Paul Redmond.
We also delivered a number of shorter workshop projects over the month, including a Maculelê workshop with staff at Accenture as part of their Black History Month event, a full day in Beneavin College, Finglas, and of course our own regular rehearsals with the Masamba Community Band and the Masamba Youth Project.
On the training and development side, we found time to participate in Child Protection Training delivered by the National Youth Council of Ireland, and an amazing Arts and Health Conference hosted by St. James’s Hospital and the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA).
At Full Stretch
It is an exciting time to be involved in Masamba, with even more announcements on the horizon. However, sad to say that we have had to turn down a considerable amount of work lately, as we simply don’t have the capacity to take more on – apologies to those of you we have had to decline, and hopefully, we’ll get to work together at some point in the future.