HISTORY OF WASAMBA

A community of drummers.

WASAMBA!! is a diverse group of WA people who have one thing in common - they love getting dressed up in crazy and colourful carnival inspired costumes and playing LOUD percussion rhythms based on Latin American samba music!

 

We are a not-for-profit community drumming group founded in the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia. We are a favourite of West Australian event organisers due to our unique blend of drumming, dance, theatre, circus and our ability to bring the party wherever we go!  Put simply, WASAMBA makes festivals, festivals!

 

 With around 70 members aged 6 to almost 83, WASAMBA!! is Perth's largest community drumming group.

  

WASAMBA!! reformed from the original Freo Samba early in 2003 when the group's founding band leader headed interstate. Freo Samba was a colourful part of Fremantle's culture and performed at many events during its seven year history including the Fremantle Festival, Buskers Festival, Latino Festival, and several Perth Glory matches.

 

Keen to keep the beat going, members got together as WASAMBA!!. Daniel Bowtell, a young and very professional percussionist, was appointed leader. He had been playing professionally for more than eight years at various venues including the Sydney Opera House and Perth Concert Hall.
Daniel, as well as many other founding members built up Wasamba, by making drums, sticks, costumes and the unique community atmosphere from scratch.

After 8 years with WASAMBA, Daniel left the group to pursue his career in beautiful Broome, with the hope to build a similar community group .
Having been around WASAMBA since 2003, as well as playing in WASAMBA's first ever performance (the Red Nose Charity Gala), Ben Bowtell (Dan's younger brother) took over as Musical Director, taking Wasamba international and continuing on the ethusiasm for inclusiveness and energetic rhythms.

10 years after Wasamba was formed, the group has reached new heights. With over 14 songs, in excess of 60 members and countless memorable experiences, Wasamba continues to grow and will take on more challenges in the years to come.

Our trip to Europe in 2011 kicked off an excitement for travelling with our music. We have since travelled around Australia and to New Zealand as well.

Instruments of Wasamba

Known as a "Surdo" in Brazil.

Our large drums are the driving force of our infectious rhythms. We have sizes 18", 20" and 22".

Our larger drums are used in our Freo group. Whilst our Bahian style sudro's are used in Broome. A small reflection of Rio to Salvedor.

The 16" surdo is a seperate section in wasamba due to their complimentary rhythms.
A fun section with lots and lots of movement.

 

 

The Big Drum

High Drums

Snares

Known as a 'Caixa' in brazil.

With the uniquely westernised Samba rhythms, the snare section of wasamba is unlike any other samba group, as we have snare drums that resemble that you would see on a drum kit. 

Agogos

A beautiful instrument, straight from the heart of samba. This instrument has two, different pitched bells (similar to cow-bells) which create mesmerizing  melodies that sing over the top of the drumming rhythms. We place this section down one of the sides of Wasamba to try and get agogo tunes close to the audience.

Tamborim

The smallest drum with the biggest punch. The tambourim section is let loose to rove around wasamba and get close to the crowd. The rhythms are usually in elegant contrast to the big drums, with power and precision in every beat. This high energy section also doubles are our samba dancers, proving how talented our members our.

Known as a 'chocalho' in brazil. This instrument puts the samba in Wasamba. That unmistakable samba swing comes from the constant chime of the shakers. Although this is the instrument that all new wasambians will start on, this section is what gets the crowds dancing and brings Brazil to Perth. 

Shakers

Repinique

The lead drum of Samba.
Our Musical director plays the repinique in Wasamba. This drum rings out above the rest, as it solo's and guide's the band through the rhythms and breaks of our songs. The MD will also use his tri-tone whistle to cue the band, but look out for this drum and you may even get a chance to play it if you're in the audience.