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

Arts Council funding success!

Bris Arts is pleased to announce we have been successful in our funding application to Arts Council England, to start Bristol’s first Youth Samba Group!

Following a year’s planning and an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, we are very excited to get this new project off the ground! We will shortly begin outreach work with several secondary schools in Bristol to recruit 30 percussionists and 20 dancers, aged 11 – 16. This will be the first and only group in Bristol providing free tuition and access for young people to take part in a Samba group, leading up to an inspiring and energetic performance at St Pauls Carnival in July.

The project will also involve the recruitment of several “Young Leaders” to provide the opportunity for young people aged 16 – 18 to gain experience of leadership skills in music education. After attending specific training sessions, and learning percussion with the group, these Young Leaders will also be running open drumming workshops in the run up to Carnival in June.

We look forward to keeping you up to date with the group as it progresses, and can’t wait to get Bristol’s young people drumming and dancing! Not only does this project provide a way for young people from across the city to get involved in Brazilian music and dance, it will also be an incredible addition to Bristol’s already thriving Carnival Arts scene.

In addition to the invaluable support from Arts Council England and Trinity Community Arts, we would like to say a special thank you to every single person who supported our Kickstarter campaign, this project would not be possible with you!

If you have any queries about this project, please contact Becky Stothart, Project Coordinator, at

Arts Council England                        Trinity 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

Christmas Arts Workshops

With the festive season approaching, Christmas parties are on their way! If you fancy doing something a bit different at your Christmas party this year, what about including an activity such as drumming, dance, or even puppetry?

Whether it’s with work colleagues, or at your school, our enthusiastic Bris Arts tutors are sure to get everyone involved in an activity that’s a bit different to the usual meal out! Our workshops are fun and engaging, and can be tailored to suit your requirements. Please check out our corporate and education pages for more info.

Taking part in creative workshops will not only build participants self-confidence, it will also get your festive activities off to a fun start! Get everyone involved in some Samba drumming or dance before heading off for more Christmas merriment!

Please contact us today to get a quote and book an arts workshop, and make this year’s Christmas party one to remember!

Corporate team building workshop

Recent Corporate team building workshop

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

Kickstarter campaign for Young Person’s Samba Group is live!!

The Bris Arts team have been working on a project to form a samba group in Bristol specifically for young people aged 11 – 16. There is currently no provision in Bristol for young people to play in a samba group – we want to change that, but we need your help!

We have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to get this project off the ground. Please check out our page and video here –

Our project aims to recruit participants from across Bristol to form a 30-piece percussion group and a 20-strong dance troupe, specifically targeting those from disadvantaged backgrounds. It will also involve the recruitment of several “Young Leaders” to provide the opportunity for young people to gain experience in leadership skills and musical education. Following weekly rehearsals and weekend intensive sessions the young people will create a full on carnival performance to be performed in the 2015 St Paul’s Carnival procession.

We are confident that the bulk of this project will be funded by Arts Council England, however to be eligible for funding we need to raise 10% of the funds ourselves. We are aiming to raise funds as a contribution towards the cost of a rehearsal venue for our young drummers and dancers. In combination with the in-kind support we have already found, we hope this will secure our funding.

Please show your support to get this project off the ground, all donations are greatly appreciated! Please share the link as well if you can, so we can raise as much as possible! Let’s get young people in Bristol learning some samba!!

Youth samba workshop

Youth samba workshop

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

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