There was sunshine and Samba galore at the 2016 Cubadupa street festival in Wellington. On both Saturday and Sunday, AKSamba played brilliantly, and held strong in the melting heat. We spent the first day eating our way up and down Cuba Street. Some of us had a parade and a dance when Tauranga Samba played their way down the street. As the sun fell, we donned our epic roller derby/glam Bowie costumes and made our way to the Swan stage. We played a tight and fierce set that had the crowd rocking. Then, we paraded down Cuba Street with swelling crowds in hot pursuit. And in our final set at Te Aro Park, we SLAYED, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of awesome dance moves. It was an epic experience as we served a big, rhythmic helping of FUN. That night, we danced the night away at the local gay bar, S&M’s, those of us who could still bust a move, that is.

The next day, all the Samba bands straggled into rehearsal. We were joined by the dancers and filled the hall with over one hundred drums and dancers. What a sound! And the sight of it was electrifying. Groups from all over New Zealand and even Australia came together to speak a common language – Samba. After a much needed lunch break, all the groups came together again at Te Aro Park, a crazy quilt of colored t-shirts, each color representing a different club from a different city. But we played as one. We Love-Trained it to the Swan stage; our locomotive- the dancers, followed by tens of agogos, tams, caixa, shakers, and repiniques. And in the back- the caboose of the Surdos.  Once we were onstage, it seemed we filled the whole square and played an awesome set for a huge crowd.

Overall it was an excellent experience. And a wonderful way to bond with the band. Thank you AKSamba for taking us new ones under your wings!


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