Free leadership training opportunity for Young Musicians in Bristol.

We are pleased to announce we are offering a leadership training opportunity for up to five young people in Bristol and the surrounding area!

We have recently been given funding from Arts Council England, following a successful Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign we started last year, to start a Carnival group of 30 Drummers and 20 Dancers for the young people of Bristol which will perform in the St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival 2015.

As part of this project, we also have funding for several 16 – 18 year olds to join the group as “Young Leaders”, to both perform with the group and attend training sessions specifically in leading music workshops and ensembles.  In the run up to St Paul’s Carnival, these Young Leaders will also have the opportunity to put these skills into practice, running percussion workshops with the general public.

We would like to hear from you if you are a musician aged between 16-18 and would be willing to commit to the weekly rehearsals and the three weekend training sessions (dates TBC). The band will be playing contemporary rhythms such as Grime, Hip-Hop, Drum and Bass, Dancehall and Samba Reggae on traditional Brazilian carnival instruments.

The ideal candidate will be: enthusiastic, keen to learn and a confident communicator. They will also have experience of playing instruments and be willing to learn new styles of music.

The Young Leader Programme will be absolutely free of charge and will give you the opportunity to develop skills in leading music workshops, may offer career building opportunities and give participants a chance to experience something new.

For further info and to request an application form please contact our project manager – Becky Stothart at

Applications are ongoing.

Please share amongst anyone else who may be interested.

-Bris Arts Team.

Arts Council EnglandTrinity Community Arts

Onwards and upwards in 2015…

Hello all! Hope you all had a well deserved break over the Christmas holidays. We’d like to say a big Happy New year from the whole Bris Arts team. Here’s a short post to let you know about some of … Continue reading

Thank you!!!

Bris Arts would like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped us with our Kickstarter campaign over the last few weeks. If you donated money to the project, shared the page or sent us a message about it, we want you to know that we really appreciate it!

We raised an outstanding £783 in total which has far exceeded our initial target of £500 – Amazing! This means we are able to put on more workshops, and engage more young people in learning about Samba and Carnival Arts. We really hope the Arts Council are able to help us by funding the full project outlined in the video. However, in the event they are unable to do so, all the money raised via Kickstarter will be used to provide free-to-attend workshops for young people in Bristol.

Please stay tuned here, and on twitter and facebook, for updates relating to this project!!!

Thanks once again!

-Bris Arts team

Thank you image

Brazilian summer in Bristol!

Been inspired by the World Cup and want to experience and learn more about Brazilian Culture?? This is your lucky summer! Here’s some dates for your diary!

Friday 4th of July –  Plantation Caribbean Restaurant, Gloucester Road

Come and get in the Carnival mood early at Plantation this Friday where you can catch BrisArts Maracatu project Afon Sistema making their debut performance alongside the one and only Bloco Ilu Axe. Expect carnival rhythms direct from North-Eastern Brazil: Samba Reggae, Afoxe, Maracatu and Ciranda. The energy and good vibes at this night are sure to get the Carnival party started early!! The event will be kicking off at 9pm but try and get down early to have some of Bev’s delicious home cooked Afro-Caribbean food and maybe a Caipirinha or five 😉


Saturday 5th of July – St Pauls Afro-Caribbean Carnival, St Pauls

The legendary Bristol Carnival is back for another year! In true Carnival fashion the day starts early! Head down to Brunswick Sq in St Pauls at 11am to witness the Encontro of Blocos. All Bristol drumming groups will be in attendance: Bristol Samba, Ilu Axe, Bristol Batala and Afon Sistema for a pre-parade soundclash!!! At 12 midday the parade will start where you can witness the amazing floats and costumes everyone has spent the entire year building. After the procession stick around and check out some of Bristols famous Reggae Soundsystems, our personal recommendations are Negus Melody and Maasai Warrior Sound Systems. In the evening head over to The Canteen on Stokes Croft where you can see Bristol Reggae veterans Talisman supported by Bristols own CDB Soundsystem.


16-17th July – Roseangela Silvestre Dance Workshops

Saw some amazing moves in the Carnival that inspired you to get up and dance? Go along to Roseangelas classes to experience a world leader in Afro-Brazilian dance. Rosangela Silvestre is a teacher, choreographer, dancer and creator of Silvestre Dance Technique. She is originally from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. She travels the world teaching and investigating movement, dance and music. Her intensives in Salvador draw dancers and people from all over the globe for the last 14 years. Her studies have led to her degrees in dance and choreography as well as Limon, Horton and Graham techniques. She was a choreographer for the Bale Folklorico da Bahia and Odunde. 

For more info and to book a place go here –


Monday 21st July –  Drumming and Dance with Mariana Pinho and Simon Sou, City of Bristol Academy

This workshop will see two of Europes leading Brazilian Arts teachers combine together with a collaborative project linking music and dance from Brazil to the folkloric tales of India. Places on this class will cost £10/15. We don’t have any more info about this workshop just yet but please keep an eye out here for more info – you should not miss this class!!


Saturday 30th August – Songs of Life with Jon Hardeman, DMAC, Hamilton House

Another collaboration between Afon Sistema and Ilu Axe brings you another chance to learn and sing some of the beautiful, powerful ancient call and response songs and chants found in Afro-Brazilian roots culture. This is an open to all workshop. Jon Hardeman is one of the only people to be born outside of Brazil to be an expert in this music, not to be missed!!

Come and experience the power of singing in a group over a traditional live Afro-Brazilian four-piece ritual drum ensemble. You don’t have to be a singer and you don’t have to have singing experience, this special workshop in Afro-Brazilian ritual songs is for anyone with an interest in African Brazilian music and anyone who just wants to go for it.

The workshop will run from 3:45-6pm and will cost £15/20 or less if needed (please contact).

For more info please email or call Jon on  07905329373

Afro-Brazilian singing class – Bristol 26/04/2014

This Saturday the Bris Arts Maracatu side project, Afon Sistema, is collaborating with friends Ilu Axe on this one off Afro-Brazilian singing workshop.

The workshop will focus on the traditional call and response songs from the religious tradition of Candomble, the system of deities known as Orixas taken to Brazil by the enslaved African people. If you’ve ever had an interest in any kind of singing, or Brazilian culture, this workshop is an ideal starting place to learn about this. The workshop will be led by Jon Hardeman, who is the UK’s leading authority on this music, and one of the only non-Brazilians to be initiated into this religious tradition. Jons relaxed delivery style ensures everyone feels relaxed and comfortable in the class, the workshop requires absolutely no previous experience of any kind of singing, all we need is your enthusiasm!

Please see the poster below for all information on the workshop, for more information see the Facebook event page and Jon Hardemans website via the links here.

Candomble Singing Workshop Bristol with Jon Hardeman

Songs of Life Singing Workshop

FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil

All eyes are on Brazil with the FIFA world cup 2014 just around the corner, and the 2016 Olympics due to be held in Rio de Janeiro, the UK has got Brazil fever! Get on board and book one of our experienced and professional workshop leaders to deliver a Brazilian Samba drumming, dance workshop, costume making or a performance at your school or business.

Samba will bring uplifting, positive energy to your pupils and colleagues, people always leave our classes singing songs and drumming out rhythms on tables with pens and pencils! It’s not surprising given our drumming and dance tutors have studied and performed in Brazil several times, at both Rio and Salvador Carnivals. Their enthusiasm and energy is infectious, our drumming and dance workshops are energising, team building activities as well as improving self confidence and learning new skills. They also enrich the national curriculum by providing an opportunity for cross curricular learning.

British School, Rio de Janeiro

British School, Rio de Janeiro

In our dance workshops, participants will be able to learn the basic steps of Rio Samba, getting a fun and educational workout! Workshops can be tailored to suit your needs ,have no minimum or maximum number and require no previous dance experience. Our dancer teacher Jenny is fantastic at making everyone feel relaxed in her classes meaning people let go of their inhibitions and get into the Samba groove!

Our Samba drumming workshops are ideal for all ages and abilities as they require absolutely no prior experience of drumming. By the end of the workshops all participants will have knowledge of the different Brazilian and Samba instruments, an introduction to the different rhythms and styles of modern day Brazilian Carnival music and the chance to have a go at directing the drumming group! Read more about our corporate drum workshops here. For education workshops please click here.

Smiling faces after our big performance!

Carnival Transatlantico in Rio

Our drumming and dance teachers are creative, flexible and professional and have 10+ years of playing and delivering Samba workshops. Last month one of our percussion tutors went to Rio to participate in the Carnival Transatlantico project, bringing 45 English drummers to Rio to perform in the carnival, as well as teaching a drumming workshop at the British School in Rio de Janeiro, you can read our blog post about that here. We provide the real deal Brazilian experience to all of our clients.

For even more excitement in the lead up to Rio 2014, bring the Latin flavour to your event with our bespoke groups of professional performing drummers and dancers. Our samba drummers and dancers will bring the dynamic, infectious Brazilian Samba rhythms to get you in the Carnival spirit!

Please contact us to find out more about our samba workshop packages and prices, or let us know what you have in mind to celebrate the road to Rio!

Carnaval Transatlantico in Rio 2014

In February 2014 I lucky enough to travel to Rio de Janeiro to take part in Carnaval Transatlantico, a collaborative project with three English Samba groups: Ziriguidum (Bristol), Nova Guarda (Birmingham) and Toque Tambor (Hitchin). The project was directed by JP Courtney who was assisted by Paul Baxter of

The project saw 45 English Samba players travel to Rio to perform as an official Bloco (street carnival group). The Bloco played four gigs during their stay in Rio in famous venues such as Circo Voador, Fundição Progresso, Carioca da Gema and Os Arcos da Lapa. The main event was a parade in Lapa, a district with lots of bars and clubs in Central Rio, with Fabio Allman from Carnival group Monobloco.


My favourite gig we did before the parade was the gig in Carioca da Gema, having been there in 2008 to watch bands it was a real pleasure to return as a performing musician. The lineup was Fabio Allman (vox), Pepe Barcellos (Guitar), Shilon (Cavaquinho), JP Courtney (Vox and percussion), Sam Tompkins (percussion), Paul Baxter (Percussion) and myself playing percussion as well. We played a mixture of traditional Sambas with more modern music including covers of Bob Marley, Daft Punk and Ben Harper.

Carioca Da Gema

Carioca Da Gema

As well as performing, myself and a few other individuals went to The British School, Rio de Janeiro, to teach a Samba workshop. Never in my life did I imagine I would end up in a Brazilian school teaching Samba to Brazilian children! It went down a storm! We ran a session with them in their classroom before the rest of Carnaval Transatlantico arrived to deliver a performance where the young people joined in with us.

British School, Rio de Janeiro

British School, Rio de Janeiro

The 22nd of February was the day of the big parade (desfile) in front of the historic Arches of Lapa. After years of practising in the UK, it was finally our chance to perform our music in front of a huge audience of Brazilians! Once again we performed with Fabio Allman of Monobloco supported by Pepe and Shilon on Guitar and Cavaquinho. The performance was a great success – with many Brazilians coming up and commenting on how pleased they were to see English people playing their music so well. The smiles in this photo are testament to just how well our performance went! Big thanks to JP Courtney and Cristina Couri for all their work in organising this event!

Smiling faces after our big performance!

Smiling faces after our big performance!

Throughout our time in Rio, we made several appearances in the local newspapers and even the national news – check out this link (in portuguese!)

Carnaval Transatlantico hits the front page!

Carnaval Transatlantico hits the front page!

Along with all of this playing and rehearsing, we still managed to fit in multiple shopping trips buying drums, visits to several Samba schools across the city, days at the beach, exploring the city and the essential cable car trip up to Sugar Loaf (Pão de Açúcar). It was my third time in Rio, but my first trip up there. The view is fantastic!!! I still have not yet gone up Cristo Redemptor, that will have to wait til next time (I’m such a rubbish tourist!). I will always have a soft spot for Rio as it was the first City I ever visited in Brazil. If you have never been to Brazil I cannot recommend it highly enough!!!

I’ll leave you with this photo of the Cidade Maravilhosa at sunset from atop Sugar Loaf!

Jackson Lapes

Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Maravilhosa

Rio de Janeiro, Cidade Maravilhosa

Bris Arts is in Rio!

We´re on a two week trip to Rio as part of the Carnival Transatlantico project organised by JP Courtney. Tree groups from the UK; Ziriguidum (Bristol), Nova Guarda (Birmingham) and Toque Tambor (Hitchin) have come together to perform as Carnival Transatlantico.

Theres 45 English percussionists in total which makes it the largest group of foreigners ever to have an official bloco performance in Rio! Heres our itinerary so far

Thursday 13th February – playing in Circo Voador supporting Hamilton de Holanda

Friday 14th February – Playing with Monobloco in Fundição progresso

Saturday 15th February – Encontro Dos Blocos in Gloria, Rio de Janeiro

Saturday 15th February – CDB Soundsystem DJ set with Dubatak Sound System in Praça XV

Tuesday 18th February – Samba in Carioca da Gema nightclub, Lapa, Rio de Janeiro

Friday 21st February – playing with Monobloco in Fundição progresso

Saturday 22nd February – Parade as Carnival Transatlantico, Arcos da Lapa, Rio de Janeiro

Follow us on facebook for all of our photo and video updates!

Rio Samba School

Refer-a-friend Scheme

New for 2014 we are pleased to tell you about our refer-a-friend scheme. If you tell a friend or colleague about our services and they mention your name whilst making a booking for any day of arts workshops such as Music, Dance or Drama we would be delighted to offer you 20% off your next booking with us.

For more info please contact us here.

We wish you all the best for 2014!

Drumming Workshop

Drumming Workshop