Samba Batucada of Rio Carnival: Q&A with Jackie Maguire from MORRO 16
Ahead of their performance at Hotter Than July festival on Sunday 29th July in Smithfield Square, we spoke to Jackie Maguire of the samba group Morro 16 about the samba 'bloco' tradition and the groups' interesting origins.
The samba is arguably the most typical and familiar music of Brazil, developed from the earlier choro style — a song and dance form of the nineteenth century that is still performed today. Although there are many types of samba, its defining characteristic is the rhythm. This rhythm was originally derived from the Candomble, or prayer music, in Afro-Brazilian religious practices. In fact, the word “samba” itself means “to pray."
From this humble origin, samba has gone on to be one of the most popular forms of Latin music, taking on a variety of forms throughout its history and even developing special schools for learning the style. Artists like Elza Soares and Zeca Pagodino have epitomized the genre, but every day more and more samba music is released around the world as its popularity continues to grow.
Q: Tell us a bit about the history of your samba ensemble ('bloco’) Morro 16? Where did it originate from?
Morro 16 (Hill 16) was ‘born’ on the terrace of Croke Park during the Ireland vs. Brazil soccer friendly in 2008. Our name Morro 16, means hill 16. This name was coined as our first gig was on Hill 16 in Croke Park when Brazil played Ireland in 2008. We have played at some of Ireland's largest festivals including Waterford Tall Ships, St. Patrick's Festival, Drogheda Samba Festival, Electric Picnic and the Festival of World Cultures.
Morro 16’s live percussive performances of ‘samba batucada’ are infectious, bringing the energy, rhythm and vibe of Rio carnival to the streets of Ireland.
Q: How did you all get into this tradition? What about it appealed specifically?
Morro 16's members, from Ireland, Brazil and beyond, are experienced samba percussionists, who have played samba in carnivals and festivals throughout the world.
Many of our members have been playing samba for a long time and started out with other samba schools such as the London School of Samba, Aquarela in Paris, and Liverpool Samba school to name but a few. Morro 16 performs live samba enredos (songs) with a harmonia (vocalist and a cavaquinho player), as well as pure batucada and so we love the variety that this provides!