Review: Swansea Encontro

Dates: 2nd & 3rd Sept 2006
Venue: Swansea University

Stick Technique & Samba Fusion Percussion and Dance workshop

Ravin ‘Raz’ Jayasuriya (percussion) and Alessandro ‘Bocao’ Rodrigues (dance)

Samba Encontros have been held in various cities over the years including Manchester, Brighton, St.Ives, Birmingham and Cardiff and this year the event was held in Swansea.

Over the weekend Sambistas from all over the UK took part in workshops led by many different tutors covering a wide range of Brazilian music styles. The workshops in percussion, dance and songs catered for all levels of ability.

A showcase on Saturday night presented performances from the local Samba Group, Samba Tawe, as well as from Carnival Collective from Brighton, the London School of Samba and Bloco Vomit from Edinburgh.

Tutor summary:
I presented two one hour workshops for Drum Stick Techniques, one for beginners and the other for intermediate to advanced levels. The former session introduced people to basic stick control through various strokes and exercises allowing the stick to do the work. The latter session revised these techniques and applied them to some commonly used patterns played by Snare and Repinques.

Generally speaking, I’ve found in my experience that many snare and repinique players struggle to play with a really good swing controlling accents and ghost notes and to play at faster speeds. My hope is that in sharing my own playing style, developed through my learning journey, I can pass on some useful tips.

The Samba Fusion workshop ran for 3 hours and was held in two separate rooms, one for the drummers and the other for dancers. The piece was in honour of the Orixa Oxum, the female Goddess of sweet water who represents love and sensuality. The drumming draws on rhythmical patterns played in traditional Afrobrazilian and Afrocuban music adapting and transferring them onto Bateria instruments.

The dance presented by Bocao also combines Oxum’s movements with his own choreography. The final part of the workshop brought both aspects together so participants could understand how the two elements work together.

High in energy and lots of fun was had by all!

Study Overview:

Content: Samba Fusion percussion & dance workshops – piece for Oxum
Instruments: Surdos, Repiniques, Snares, Tamborims, Timbas, Agogos and Shakers
Techniques: Stick Technique – exercises and patterns for Snare & Repinique players.

Participants’ Comments:
“I found the stick workshop extremely useful, I had not heard the techniques taught there before. It was paced well considering the mixed ability and I found the instruction clear and easy to follow.”
George Cole

“I thought your stick technique workshops were very beneficial and will spread the word to my fellow sambistas in Samba Sol. It felt good to really strip down to the basics. I feel much more confident with my left (weaker) hand now and have already noticed a difference in both my kit playing and my samba, particularly in my ability to play accents.

It’s still early days for me in the drum playing stakes so I’m really glad that I came to your workshops. They’ve definitely started me out on the right foot. You are a very good teacher: methodical and perceptive with a nice manner, going at the right pace and teaching good material.”
Kasha Oddie

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