Drumming, community, Mother Earth: Three words that define Baque de Bamba

I can’t begin to describe and express our immense admiration for the amazingly talented women Sarah and I have encountered over the past year at Bliss B4 Laundry Wellness Weekends for Women.

We have met dozens and dozens of talented women across Ontario – women whose true desire is to be of service to others in helping them reach their healthier potential. These are women who inspire other women and they do it from their heart and with complete humility.

Last year, we came across a group of beautiful musicians. They said they play drums; we wanted drums. It was a match made in heaven! They joined us at our first Bliss B4 Laundry weekend last September and they took everyone’s breath away!!

This year they’re joining us again and we’re so honoured. They have kept busy this 2015. From the street drumming in Kensington Market and festivals all over Toronto, to being featured in the closing ceremony of the Pan American Games (yes! that’s right!). We are just delighted (and lucky!!) to have such a talented group among us on September 25-27 at Camp Kawartha.

Maracatu Baque Bamba is an upbeat Afro Brazilian percussion group that specializes in performing and teaching the spirited cultural tradition celebrated as Maracatu de Baque Virado. The highpowered group was founded by the gifted, Juno-nominee, singer/songwriter and percussionist Aline Morales in 2009.

Through its lively rhythmic synergy the troupe channels the raw force of the drums to create a dynamic percussive sound. In addition to its musical interpretation of Maracatu and other folkloric rhythms from the northeastern region of Brazil (Ciranda, Coco, Ijexa and more), the collective of local artists explores traditions of song and dance from this region.

Percussionist Mariana Palhares moved to Toronto from Sao Paulo, Brazil at the age of 19. Her interest in percussion led her to Maracatu (Afro-Brazilian percussion) at 17 years old. In 2007, when she moved to Toronto, she immediately joined Maracatu Baque de Bamba, founded by Aline Morales (lead singer/director of the drumming troupe). Mari has since become co-leader, teacher and producer of Baque de Bamba, as well as a well known artist within and beyond the Brazilian community in Toronto.

She will conducting a workshop called Connecting through Drumming: Come Feel the Power of the Drum. This workshop involves team work, communication, musical dynamics/rhythmic explorations.

“Using a relaxed approach, we look to help participants feel comfortable with the instruments and get quickly acquainted with the Maracatu basics. We choose to take a more hands-on approach as opposed to lecture style because of the nature and culture of Maracatu. It is learned through the body by listening and connecting with each other, and by feeling the base drums in contrast with the higher pitched shakers, bells and singing. Starting with warm-up exercises, basic stretching and rhythm games, the whole group works together and gets acquainted as one following the leader of the troupe. Drumming brings us together, connects us with our ancestors and empowers and enriches our spirits.” explained Mari.

These women are a true inspiration. Come experience their magic at Bliss!

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