Viva Brasil DancerBrazil meets Chorley, the public were treated to a colourful event for free in Astley Hall's Walled Garden at Astley Park, Chorley.

Dance, Percussion and Drum groups from around the North West blended music styles from africa to brazil, a fusion of sound you only find at big carnivals, mixed in with traditional dancing. The event was a success and I for one would like to see it repeated in places like Manchester, the crowd watched the cream of groups from the north west giving a fine display on their buildup to participating in upcoming carnivals.

The crowds were a bit slow to turn up for the first act which was Sambafriq, who were joined by Danny Henry and then the dancers from Viva Brasil. Next up were Juba do Leão, my particular favourites, the weather changed while they performed, but that did not stop them entertaining a crowd that was getting larger by this time. The next group up was Bloco Novo from my neck of the woods, East Manchester, all I remember is fuming at several members of the audience who were intent on standing or sitting directly in front of the camera. I managed to capture some of their performance which was a bit of a dissapointment from my point of view. The last group to appear were Republic of Swing, again from Manchester and one I had not heard of before. The crowd by this time had swelled to a few hundred (not over thousand mentioned in some reports), it was only now that the real party atmosphere started to kick in, people were up and joining in dancing, which was a shame for the earlier groups who did not quite have the same crowd. Perhaps thats a lesson for next time, maybe alternating the groups throughout the event.

Big Drum Day, Chorley 2009 

The Big Drum Day was a collaboration between Chorley Arts Council and Sambafriq and it is hoped that this annual event will get bigger and better. Acts appearing in this years event were as follows

Sambafriq play all Brasilian styles including Samba, Samba Reggae, Afoxe, Maracatu, Afro bloco, Coco and other styles from various parts of Brasil.

Juba do Leão are a percussion and dance group from Manchester who specialise in the musical styles from the Northeast of Brazil, namely Maracatu. We also play Coco (a rhythm featuring a strong alfaia rhythm and call & response songs), Caboclinho (a lilting yet powerful rhythm with indigenous Indian roots), Manguebeat (a style mixing traditional Brazilian percussion with modern sounds, originating in Recife) and many other Brazilian styles with a modern twist… Our show features vocals in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and is completed by beautiful energetic dance choreographies.

Bloco Novo are a Drum and Percussion group from East Manchester, their funky Afro-Latin and global grooves are what they do best.

Republic of Swing are Manchester based and concentrate on playing only the fast Rio carnival Samba (Batucada) and the latest Samba-Funk grooves.

Viva Brasil are glamorous Brasilian dancers with costumes and lots of colour, based in Liverpool the dance group will transform any carnival or show they appear in.

and not forgetting Danny Henry, he has many titles including Dance Choreographer/Instructor and Capoeira Instructor (Brazilian Martial Arts style dance), he was an inspiration and he never stopped, the energy he brought to event was remarkable. He danced virtually from start to finish, and was instrumental in getting the crowd involved.   

You may notice that several members appear in more than one group, this is quite normal, and what I found was the groups williness to help each other and join in where possible. Many of the groups are made up of people who are volunteers and do this for fun, and it is a shame that groups such as these are forever under pressure with  funding issues, I am always amazed that Councils or Government are always talking about sustainable communities or sense of community, well I saw it today, give them the money, they deserve it.

From the event I hope to bring over 20 videos which I will be releasing soon, first one is below.

I have included a few below.

 Sambafriq meets Viva Brasil at Big Drum Day, Chorley 2009

 Big Drum Day, Chorley 2009

Danny Henry with student at Big Drum Day, Chorley 2009