Samba at Leeds West Indian Carnival 50th anniversary, and Unidos do Ritmo’s 1st carnival performance at home. What a day!
After the customary carnival delays for lost vehicles, closed roads, broken trucks, coffee, rum and breakfast, it all began. It was a happy and historic moment when Unidos do Ritmo finally set off, bringing the sights and sounds of Brazilian carnival to one of the longest-running Caribbean carnivals in the UK.
Warm-up performances near Potter Newton Park went down well with the carnival crowds. Our gang of samba dancers and drummers also got their first taste of carnival at home. We had planned to perform in static locations around the area, but voted a unanimous YES! when the organisers invited us to join the mas bands en-route.
A deliciously warm welcome from the audience greeted our first ever performance exiting the carnival arena. Unidos do Ritmo grooved it’s merry way round the first part of the route in fine style, attracting some intense dancing at the back of the carnival. Brazilian Samba at Leeds West Indian Carnival? We had no idea how it would go down, but the crowd were definitely with us! If you were one of the many people dancing, smiling, wanting to join or just got your camera out, come & say hello over at the Leeds Samba Facebook page.
As anyone who’s attempted to play drums at carnival close to a huge DJ sound-system will know, it can be a tough situation. The police convoy bringing up the rear made it a double bind to be at the back; their need to be close to guard our celebrations clashed with our need to be further away from those MASSIVE speakers! The officers were very accommodating, but in the end we decided to drop out before the end (near a toilet…) and return to our original plan.
Next year? We’ll either have at least twice as many drummers – or bring a huge sound system of our own. In fact, why not both?
2018 – Come carnival with us!