Noemi Nuti (back from Rio de Janeiro) writes…

Noemi Nuti, back in London, writes about the Rhythm of the City visit to Rio de Janeiro,  and previews ROTC’s next gig on 9th Feb: 

Barak Schmool’s idea of taking his samba band ROTC (Rhythms of the City) proved a far greater success than could have been anticipated. We left London with just three gigs in the diary; once we were in Rio de Janeiro, we found it hard to fit the many opportunities that came our way during our four- and- a-half week stay there.

Our late afternoons would be spent playing and rehearsing with lots of musicians within different Blocos (percussion band), such as Monobloco, Sargento Pimenta and Bangalafumenga whilst our nights would be dedicated to going to see technical rehearsals for carnival at the Sambadrome, discovering more music in the traditional clubs in Lapa (Rio’s Soho) or heading to different favelas to check out different samba schools (organisations that gather a community of locals, dancers and musicians to participate to the rehearsals/entertainment leading up to carnival) and see their baterias (the drum section) in action well into the early hours of the morning.

We also took masterclasses in Pagode music, a more lighthearted style where people can sing along to famous sambas. The band was able to absorb new techniques on the instruments of that style including tan-tan and pandeiro as well as being exposed to the hypnotic drumming played during the rituals of the Candomblé religion.

As our reputation grew, we were featured in the newspaper ‘O Globo’…..

…we gained another 7 gigs in the book and our main gigs supporting Monobloco and Sargento Pimenta were being advertised in the streets.

So we made friends with many musicians within the Blocos and baterias. Known for being conservative and careful, we received invitations to play with them as they were rehearsing their repertoire, giving us the incredible opportunity to learn to swing even harder and be part of their community.

Just one night after Hermeto Pascoal graced the stage, we had the honour to support and share the stage with Monobloco at Circo Voador in front of 3 thousand people.

We also had the privilege to perform twice at Fundiçao Progresso supporting Sargento Pimenta and Bangalafumenga to a very large audience. With a mixed repertoire of Pop/Soul/Funk music combined with old and new sambas, we grooved well enough to rock a Rio crowd!

Never would we have thought we’d be able to rock a samba school crowd too, but on the very last night we were invited to play our very set to the local community of Uniao da Ilha do Governador, just before they started rehearsing for Carnival! It was a great moment in our band and perhaps a first ever in Brazil to have a UK band perform within a samba school! What an honour that was

Energised by the music, the weather and joyful people, we’ve come back more keen than ever to keep performing our music!

We will be next performing at Guanabara, near Holborn Station, on 9th February for Carnival 2013!

For more info go to:


If you want to follow what we’ve been up to, check out our blog.

Categories: miscellaneous

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