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

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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

About Us

Bris Arts is a collective of freelance arts workshop leaders who specialise in fun and educational activities for all.

Arts Workshops are inclusive of everyone regardless of racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic differences and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.  They provide opportunities for self-expression, and develop skills in both independence and collaboration. Arts workshops also exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and problem-finding.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help enrich the lives of your students and employees.

Why Choose Bris Arts?

Bris Arts is a newly formed collective of Bristol based arts workshop leaders who are dedicated to providing top quality workshops for everyone. All of our CRB (now DBS) checked Arts Workshop leaders undergo regular professional development sessions to expand their repertoire of skills and ensure methods are up to date. Our leaders are also professional performing Artists in their own right and are members of dance troupes, music groups & collectives etc, this ensures that workshop participants have confidence in their instructor.