Masamba Samba School is Ireland’s premier Samba percussion and dance group, and has performed at many of Ireland’s most famous festivals and venues, as well as playing in Brazil, Mexico, the US, France, Germany and the UK. The group is made up of people of all ages, and from many different nationalities, all of whom share a passion for Brazilian culture.
In 2015, Masamba Samba School took the decision to move to a bigger rehearsal space, and take on a 10-year lease. In a time of recession, and with spending on the Arts at an all-time low, this could be seen as a foolhardy move, but according to Masamba’s Director, Simeon Smith, the group had no choice:
‘We had been operating from a small factory unit in Newmarket Square for a number of years, but we’d outgrown it. We had a great relationship with our landlords, but the instruments and costumes were starting to pile up around our ears! In addition, the place was always freezing, which made the work harder and the days seem longer, so the opportunity to move to a larger space, especially if it could be made warmer, was very attractive’.
Masamba packed up their bits and pieces, and relocated to the old Halcyon Beds factory on Bow Lane West. The building is almost 4 times bigger than the old rehearsal space, and the landlord kindly provided a semi-soundproofed rehearsal room within the main building, which is bright, comfortable, and easy to heat. The move will allow the group to eventually consolidate all their instruments, costumes and office into one building, which saves a lot of administration time.
The group is also on the look-out for some potential partner groups to take up some of the extra space, and has already developed a very positive relationship with Artastic, a street spectacle and arts education company, who have located their costume making department into the Bow Lane building.
‘Artastic share many of their core aims with Masamba, and we have known them for many years – it seemed to be a good fit, and so far, things have been working really well’, enthuses Simeon, ‘Ultimately, we would like to see this building becoming an arts hub, with a special emphasis on Arts and young people, but that will depend on doing some more refurbishment on the building first’.
Another positive outcome of the relocation, is that Masamba is now able to cater for more people in their weekly samba drumming classes. The group hosts classes for both adults and children every week, and to facilitate new members to join, they will be hosting a series beginners and improvers sessions on Thursday evening, starting on January 21st.
Simeon: ‘It’s a new year, and an opportunity to try something new, or to get back into drumming if you’ve taken a break. We are very excited about this 8 week course, and we’re already thinking about some fun, easy rhythms to get us started!’
Anyone interested in the course, or any aspect of Masamba’s work, can contact Simeon at 01-6336797, firstname.lastname@example.org or through their website.