all about ЯEPUЬLIC: the ‘bloco’

 
 

The Republic of Swing Bateria (percussion group) started in Spring 2004.  It was initially an open, eight week course introducing Rio style samba rhythms and songs (samba-enredos) run by the ‘Republic of Swing’ (now ‘Global Grooves’) organisation.  Alex Sidebottom (Paraiso, MSS & Alto Som) taught the course.  For fun, we had a ‘graduation’ gig at the Music Box Manchester and went out as 'The Republic of Swing Bateria’.  It went down so well we decided to keep the name and band going and we have been in almost constant demand ever since.


We have played, amongst others, 'All That Jazz', one of the top funk/latin nights in the country, the Manchester 'Streets Ahead' and ‘D-Percussion’ festivals and led the opening parade for ‘Pride’ week in Manchester for the past four years.  We also Played the Liverpool Samba Parade and carnival in 2008 and 2009 as well as many other carnivals and gigs throughout the North.


Alex, the Director, played in rock bands for many years and has studied percussion in Cuba and The Gambia.  He studied and played in the 2006 and 2008 Rio carnivals with G.R.E.S. Escola de Samba do Parque Curiçica, a well established and respected Samba School.  Alex also went ‘behind the scenes’ in Rio, visiting many of the huge ‘Grupo Especial’ Samba Schools in their final preparations for Carnival.


Unlike many other percussion groups we focus on only one or two rhythms: Rio carnival Samba (Batucada) and the latest Samba-Funk grooves.  Anyone with a little drumming or dance experience is welcome to come down to our rehearsals.  We also do workshops and open sessions where anyone can come along.  We are also developing a smaller group to do more club gigs.


For the past six years Alex has also played with the London based G.R.E.S Paraiso School of Samba.  ‘Paraiso’ have been described as 'The best Samba School in the world outside Brazil' (Time Out).  They are unique in Europe being run by Brazilians who have been brought up in the Rio Carnival tradition.  And with their blessing, we use many of their arrangements as well as those from other top Rio Samba Schools as well as original material.  We now have close links with Paraiso and several of our members now play with them in the annual Notting Hill Carnival.

 

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