Cuba Dupa

Carnival Zone

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We want to create a themed zone with music, dance and carnival arts in Upper Cuba st. Costumes, street dressings, puppets and a stage set will bring Cuba st alive with colour celebrating the street and the people who make up the creative pulse of our capital.

The carnival zone will set the scene for themed performances by Wellington Batucada and samba groups from all over New Zealand as they did in the night parades of the former Cuba St Carnival as well as other roving bands and entertainers.

Our inspiration comes from Brazilian carnival, Nottinghill Carnival, South American and European festivals and events that celebrate the cities and people who live there. What makes our vision unique is that we want to make our own kiwi version of carnival that involves the public and helps to make our city a fun and vibrant place to live.

Public workshops

We will run a series of workshops leading up to Cubadupa that invite the general public to make costumes, masks and dressings to wear at Cubadupa. We will hold dance workshops so that everyone has the opportunity to get involved and make this Cubadupa an event that is sustainable, original and unique.

What will my donation go towards?

Your valuable contribution to this campaign will go towards the purchasing of materials for costumes and street dressings, equipment hire and travel expenses for out of town performers.

About Wellington Batucada

Wellington Batucada is a community-based percussion group which brings the flamboyant world of samba from Brazil to Wellington. Batucada is a Brazilian word used to describe the syncopated, African-influenced samba music played by a large percussion group (bateria) as part of a street parade or carnival.

Originally formed by Darryn Sigley and Steve Templer in November 2001 to perform in the Cuba Street Carnival, Wellington Batucada endeavors to replicate the authentic samba sound playing a variety of Brazilian rhythms including samba batucada, partido alto, samba reggae, samba funk, and baion. We have been blessed through visits by several superb Brazilian and non-Brazilian samba teachers who laid the foundations for our music.

We are an all-inclusive group - anyone can join regardless of experience or ability, and we provide authentic Brazilian instruments for those who do not have their own.

Currently Wellington Batucada has around 100 members, with 40-50 members regularly coming to our weekly rehearsals. We are in demand to play at many parades, festivals and events, including the Cuba Street Carnival, Wellington Rugby Sevens, Newtown Fair, Wellington and Johnsonville Christmas parades, and in 2011 the Rugby World Cup Festival of Carnivale.

Help us do the CubaDupa!

CubaDupa will be a world-class street festival, which builds on the spirit and talent of Wellington and draws on the best international street festivals.  It will be held annually in Wellington, premiering Saturday 28 - Sunday 29 March 2015.

The new Cuba Street festival, CubaDupa, is a celebration of the creative heart of Wellington.  The Cuba street precinct will become a vibrant pedestrianised playground of music, dance, arts and street food.

In creating a totally unique and family friendly urban environment and entertainment programme Drew James, the Artistic Director of CubaDupa has identified seven diverse projects that will deliver an extraordinary experience for audiences and participants.

These are Urban Rhapsodies aerial opera, Mass Cuba Street Orchestra, The Beop band of the future, Carnival Zone with Wellington Batucada, Cuba Surveyors historical street theatre, Java Dance's Sneak Peek in shop windows, and CubaKaleidoscope by the Tarrant Dance Studio. All of these projects will be commissioned with the help of Boosted donations and performed free for audiences on the streets.


  • It's time to do the CubaDupa samba!


    Hello lovely Carnival Zone Boosted donors! I hope you're all looking forward to CubaDupa weekend, which of course starts tomorrow. Hooray!

    We've been madly making our costumes, dressing our drums, building and painting the stage set and - of course - practicing our drumming and dancing for a couple of months now, and things are coming together nicely.

    Your very kind donation has enabled us to bring a whole bunch of sambaistas to Wellington from across the country. We're playing host to 37 drummers from AKSamba in Auckland, 40 drummers and dancers (including a brass section!) from Samba de Sol in Nelson, 30 drummers and dancers from Hamilton/Tauranga and 14 from Bay Batucada in Hawkes Bay. Together with the 55 drummers and 15 dancers from Wellington Batucada, we're going to be bringing Carnival to Cuba Street in a big way this weekend.

    Since we last spoke, we've trained up a whole bunch of new dancers, who will debut for you at the Wellington Batucada gig on Saturday night on the Swan Stage. Somewhere along the way we've also moved from Upper Cuba Street to Swan Lane, Glover Park and Te Aro Park, and our costume theme has morphed from Pushme-Pullyou into Amazonian rainforest and now "AmazoniAotearoa".

    With our costuming we have decided that you can basically never have too much bling, and so with that in mind we have cleaned Wellington out of green holographic paper and scoured the $2 shops for sparkles, diamante, glitter and other shiny things. We can neither confirm nor deny the rumour that we have also imported a rather large number of fairy lights from Hong Kong.

    Here's the weekend's timetable and full carnival programme for the NZ Samba Bloco:

    Saturday 28 March

    Sambatron/ Tauranga Samba
    2.00 – 2.20 pm Upper Cuba Stage Performance
    2.20 – 3.00 pm Parade to Te Aro Park
    3.00 – 3.45 pm Street Performance, Te Aro Park

    Nelson Samba de Sol
    5.30 – 5.50 pm Glover Park Stage
    5.50 – 6.15 pm Parade to Te Aro Park
    6.15 – 7.00 pm Street performance, Te Aro Park

    AK Samba
    7.30 – 8.00 pm Swan Stage performance and off stage
    8.00 – 8.30 pm Parade to Te Aro Park
    8.30 – 9.15 pm Street Performance, Te Aro Park

    Wellington Batucada
    9.30 – 10.00 pm Swan Stage performance and off stage
    10.00 – 10.30 pm Parade to Te Aro Park
    10.30 – 11.00 pm Street performance, Te Aro Park

    Sunday 29 March

    Hawkes Bay Batucada
    1.30 – 2.00 pm Parade to Te Aro Park
    2.00 – 2.30 pm Street Performance, Te Aro Park

    Batucada Finale (all batucada groups)
    2.30 – 3.00 pm Street Performance, Te Aro Park
    3.00 – 3.30 pm Parade to Swan Stage
    3.30 – 4.00 pm Swan Stage Performance (joined by Niko Ne Zna)

    …and then I guess we can all go watch the cricket :)

    We are very excited to be performing for you this weekend. Samba makes us happy, brings us together, and makes us want to dance. We trust it will have the same effect on you.

    Thanks once again for your wonderful support, and we'll see you at CubaDupa!


    It's time to do the CubaDupa samba!


    Thank you so very very much to all our friends, family, supporters and - perhaps most of all - to the Bat-members themselves, who dug deep, put their hands in their own pockets, and invited anyone they could think of to help us in our next grand endeavour.

    We are currently sitting at just over 100% of our target, at $10,035.

    I know there are still a bunch of people who want to donate and haven't gotten around to it yet, or who are waiting until payday on Wednesday - and for those people (or anyone else who wants to get involved) - it's not too late.

    You can still donate to the Boosted campaign until midnight on Wednesday - and we'd be very very happy if you did - the more we raise, the more awesome we can make the Carnival Zone...

    Thank you to:

    Alison Green, Alan Shuker, H Carmody, Miett Fear, Anonymous, Darryn Sigley, Graham Dwyer, Charlene Hillyard, Cedric Papion, Barin Das, Anonymous, Anonymous, Gordon Cessford, Simon Bowden, Geoff Simmons, Anonymous, Nick Simcock, Keith Ferguson, Jane Watson-Baker, Jenny Lea, Kate McAlpine, Anonymous, Deborah Harris, Nina Grattan, Alexandra Lutyens, Annette Paul, Michael James, Anonymous, Paula Warren, Lisa Leask, Trish Sullivan, Anonymous, Lizzie Young, Jeanette Spicer, Lise Hutcheon, Ros Nelson Breast Limited Pochin, Dana Mitchell, Zelda Gilbert, Anonymous, J Dwane, Anonymous, Anonymous, Carin Sundstedt, Megan Hand, Alex Gough, Martin Horspool, Hamish Garland, Anonymous, Anonymous, Carol Green, Tabitha Arthur, plus a whole host of other Wellington Batucada members who threw money in the hat for us yesterday (I wish I'd written all your names down!).

    ...and a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to our fantastic Match Donor, Mr Chris Parkin from the Museum Art Hotel who has matched our $5k dollar for dollar to give us $10k in total.


    Here's a picture for you of a whole host of very happy Samba people - from all over New Zealand - who will be playing together for your entertainment and listening/dancing pleasure at CubaDupa next March.

  • We're nearly there!!!


    One more push and we're there! We have 3 days left of our Boosted campaign, and we are now at 92% of our goal, with $9,270.00 pledged so far. Amazing!

    The very wonderful Chris Parkin of the Museum Art Hotel is matching each Boosted donation, dollar for dollar, up to a maximum of $5,000. This means that, although we still have $730 to go, we actually only have to find $365 ourselves - and Chris will cover the rest. Brilliant!

    If you want to help us get to 100% (and beyond!), now's your chance. Who wants to take us over the magic $10K?

    We now have 51 lovely donors listed on our Boosted page, plus a whole stack more fabulous Bat-members who chucked money in the hat with gay abandon at last night's Batucada Christmas party - $297 to be exact. You all rock and we are immensely grateful to each and every one of you.

    Thank you in advance to anyone else who'd like to join us on the two-headed elephant journey by making a donation to the cause. The Boosted campaign closes at midnight on Wednesday night.

    ...because how could you possibly say no to this lovely lot? (Some of the surdos saying hello, before Sunday's Wellington Santa Parade - photo by Alan Shuker)

    We're nearly there!!!
  • A sneak peek at our plans


    Oh my goodness - what an amazing couple of days! We have almost doubled our number of sponsors and almost doubled the amount raised - in just two days.

    If you are one of our 45 (so far) wonderful and generous donors, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your support. We are very very grateful.

    If you're thinking of becoming one of our donors - please do! We'd love to have you aboard - it's going to be a great ride.

    In fact.... we thought we'd give you (as promised) a sneak peek of our draft sketch for the "Batucada Back to Front Band" and the amazing stage set/float thingumajig we're planning to build for CubaDupa. It's a play on the fact that the CubaDupa logo (as I'm sure you've noticed) is the same upside down as it is the right way up. Very clever.

    So in the spirit of that upside-down back-to-front-ness we present - the CubaDupa Pushe Me Pull You Double-Headed Elephant stage set with matching double-headed Batucada drummers...


    A sneak peek at our plans
  • Would you like to see what we can do?


    We're a creative bunch at Wellington Batucada. We design/make all our own costumes and accessories, do all our own branding and artwork, design and build our website, come up with awesome outfits for special performances like the Wellington Sevens - and for big events like the Cuba Street Carnival, we've always gone all-out to put together something really special.

    That's probably why, at the last two Cuba Street Carnivals, Wellington Batucada won the Supreme Award - that's the award for the best combination of float, dancers, musicians, drummers, costumes, props and other general awesomeness.

    We thought today we'd give you a little reminder of the stuff we've put together for various Cuba Street Carnivals - to show you what we're capable of - and then tomorrow perhaps we'll give you a sneak peek of some of the ideas we've got in store for the CubaDupa Carnival Zone.

    ...and in the meantime, here are a couple of videos of us in the 2009 Cuba Street Carnival. Enjoy!

    Having a jam before the start of the parade:

    Mid-parade (fast-forward to 0:38secs into this video, which is where we come in):

    Close-up view of the entire group, with dancers, drummers, puppets and the angler fish float passing by:

    ...and the entire band plus dancers with our taniwha float in 2007:

    Would you like to see what we can do?
  • Do you remember the magic?


    Do you remember the crowds, the beats that got you up to get down? Wellington at its very best. Here is a treat to boost your memory

    Wellington Batucada have just won the WOMAD band competition and will be playing amongst the world's best two weeks before CubaDupa. Chris Parkin from the Museum Hotel has always wanted to play with Batucada, and now as matching sponsor, he has his chance. Live the passion with CubaDupa! Batucada are being joined by five other Batucada bands for CubaDupa, reliving the heady days of Cuba Streert Carnival with costumes, decorations and dancing in the streets.

    Wellington is one of the world's greatest festival cities, full of riches, talent, history and good times. Cuba Street is our festival playground, and CubaDupa is the ultimate celebration. There is a bit of Cuba Street in all Wellingtonians. The street holds a place in our hearts and minds. We are on a mission to write another chapter into our history and you are part of it.

    You are CupaDupa, after all the Festival is nothing without you. But you don't have to wait, you can do the CupaDupa right now by supporting one of our Boosted projects. These Boosted projects have been specially created with some of our most brilliant and innovative Wellington artists. With theatre, dance, opera and music they celebrate what is so great about our Cuba Street.

    Thanks to those that already have donated. Tell your friends to donate and then join you at the Festival that we are creating together.

    Drew James, Director

  • Wellington Batucada win votes for WOMAD!


    Congratulations on a great team effort getting 2,643 votes over the past 8 weeks to secure an invitation to perform at WOMAD next year.

    Here's a pic of some of the crew busking for votes on Saturday outside the premises of matching sponsor The Museum Hotel.

    Next campaign - crowd-funding for CubaDupa!

    Please share with your friends - we want to achieve our target for this also.



    Wellington Batucada win votes for WOMAD!

Cuba Dupa

Celebrate the change of season. A transformation from the last moments of summer to the first days of winter. CubaDupa brings all walks of life in an immersive experience to ‘get on up’ during the day or ‘get on down’ in the evening.

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Other Projects by Cuba Dupa

Image for The Urban Rhapsodies

Cuba Dupa

Opera takes to the balconies and hidden byways of Cuba Street. Opera takes to the balconies and hidden byways of Cuba Street. Diva's descend from stratospheric heights, dangle from above or be encountered up close and personal in a series of operatic outbursts celebrating La Vie de Boheme that is The Street. Opera director and choreographer Sara Brodie will create short vignettes of opera staged on and off the buildings in the Cuba Street area.

Image for Cuba Kaleidoscope

Cuba Dupa

A film/installation/dance event celebrating 100 years of dance in Cuba Street, with students from Tarrant Dance Studio. A Kaleidoscope of Colours will clothe the trees and dancers will bring a range of dance moves to the CubaDupa spaces- at night a film installation will light up the building as Tarrant Dance Studio celebrates a classical time line of 100 years of talent treading to the top of the stairs at 125 Cuba St to 'love dancing'!