By Sarah David What is Samba Samba is a lively, rhythmical dance and musical genre, which is associated with Brazil, and in particular, with the Rio Carnival. However the origins of samba are found in the religious traditions of West Africa where it arrived as a consequence of the slave trade. The samba music rhythm has been danced in Brazil since the late 19th century. There is a group of dances rather than a single dance that define the samba dancing scene in Brazil. The modern samba that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century is basically 2/4 tempo varied with the conscious use of chorus sung to the sound of palms and batucada rhythm, adding one or more parts of stanza of declaratory verses. Samba Tawe Samba Tawe is a community dance and drumming group in Swansea, which has been active for over 15 years. Since the band formed in 1994 the group has grown and developed musically and in size with now over 60 members including dancers and drummers. With their colorful costumes and exciting dance moves, combined with the rhythmic sound of the band Samba Tawe performances never go unnoticed what ever the weather they will stop people in their tracks. When they first started, they never imagined that they would grow into the colourful energetic, rhythmical ensemble. They have become so well known in festivals, carnivals, parades, busks, gigs, parties and pedestrian precincts, across the country. Music now directed by Matt Collier, combining original percussion scores with the exciting dance moves devised by dance director Rosalba Gambatesa, Samba Tawe is up there with the best when it comes to performing. With their own brand of energetic and exciting drumming and dancing ensure that their live performances make any event memorable. Samba Tawe wasn’t the first samba group formed in UK and, due to growing popularity of Latin dance, is not the last one. For example: London Oxford Clwyd Pembroke 1994 1995 2002 2003 2006 2008 2009 2010Swansea Cornwall Devon West Cornwall
InstrumentsThe samba Tawe bateria play a mix of vibrant rhythms with Brazilian and afro Cuban influences,on a variety of instruments. The Surdo is a large bass drum used in Brazilian music, mostly samba where it plays the lower parts from a samba band. Surdo sizes vary between 16” and 26” or even 29” diameter and are worn from a waist belt or shoulder strap. Surdos may have shells of wood, galvanized steel or aluminum. Heads could be goat’s skin or plastic. Skinheads are used for rich tone with aluminum shells for lightness. The rhythm used by samba Tawe use three surdo parts distinguished by tunings (and, by extension, sizes of drum) An Agogo is a single or multiple bells now used worldwide but originated in traditional Yoruba music and also in the samba batteries. The Agogo may be the oldest samba instrument and has the highest pitch of any of the baterie instruments. Made of metal and each bell a different size. This allows a different pitch note depending on which bell has been hit. Originally made of wrought iron now made in a variety of metals and sizes for different sound quality. Either bell can be hit with a wooden stick to make a cowbell sound or less commonly a clicking sound is produced by squeezing the twobells together. A Chocalho- a generic name for shaker in Portuguese. A large powerful shaker made of wood or metal with a number of steel jingles, played by shaking it back and forth, a very loud instrument whose sound carries well. A Caixa is a Brazilian snare drum, a drum with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable or gut cords shredded across the drum head. The caixa is played at waist level using two sticks, used in Brazilian percussion music to provoke driving rhythms which push the music forward and make it swing.
A Tamborim is a small, round Brazilian framed drum ofPortuguese and African origin. The frame is 6” wide and canbe made of metal, plastic or wood. The head is typically madeof nylon and normally very tightly tuned to insure a high,sharp timbre and a minimum of sustain. It is played with abeater made of several flexible nylon threads bound together,and players alternate between the main groove pattern andother signature phrases which are easily distinguished abovethe other percussion instruments.A Repinique is a 2 headed drum used in samba baterias. It istuned very high to produce a tone that cuts through thesound of the rest of the bateria.Typically its body is made of metal, the heads made of nylonare tightened using metal tuning rods. Carried using ashoulder strap and played with one wooden stick.The repinique is used by the musical director as a leadinstrument, producing calls to which the rest of the bateriaresponds in a set fashionThe Campana is a clapper-less cowbell. Made of metal it is animportant element in Latin American music. Struck with astick, the tone is modulated by striking different parts of thebell.
GallerySamba Tawe sashay through Tenby, parading down to the harbour to open the Tenby Arts Festival, one of their annual events. As you can see in the pictures below, Samba Tawe dance group have an array of colorful and flamboyantcostumes which always attract the crowds. Each outfit is suited to the particular dance performed that day. 1. 2. Tenby 2009 Tenby 2008 3. 4. Tenby 2006 Tenby 2006 5. 6. Tenby 2009 Tenby 2008
ConclusionI decided to do my project on Samba Tawe community art group, members are volunteers andthey do it because they love it! Members represent every age, social group and community inSwansea. I joined them a few months ago as I have always liked dance and to improve fitness andmeet new people. It is all about enjoyment, having a good time and entertaining people. I am gladI have joined and look forward to performing with them in the spring.So if you are interested in becoming a part of the largest community-based performing group inWales. We will send you details of the next open access workshops, get in touch with us atdrumming@sambaTawe.org.uk or dancing@sambaTawe.org.uk or ring 01792 510850, or 01792379917.If you are interested in booking samba Tawe for an event email bookings@sambaTawe.org.uk orby ringing 01792 296625.List of my sources:www.sambaTawe.org.ukImages from Flickr by lhourahanewww.google.co.ukcreativecommons.orgwww.uksamba.orgwikipedia.orgGlossaryStanza – Four or more rhymed lines repeated as a unit.Batucada – this is a sub style of samba and refers to an African influenced Brazilian percussionstyle, usually performed by an ensemble, known as a bateria.