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Introduction to the Olá Samba Blog - Digging Deeper

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Why am I writing a blog?

I’m creating this blog both as a way for me to formalise my own learning and as a way to help each of us to look a bit deeper. I will keep updating it as my research continues.

I believe it is important to appreciate the roots of what we are playing. We are not just banging drums, not learning patterns on a spreadsheet to regurgitate. We are part of a growing number of people around the world that have tapped into an aspect of the incredibly rich Afro-Brazilian culture.

My role as musical director is more than teaching rhythms and techniques to put on impressive performances; it’s also to share insights into the culture behind the music.


I first started writing a quick Google Doc to help provide some context to the rhythms we learn as a group. Ten minutes in it became clear that I was trying to write more than a document, more than a book, more than a thesis. It would be impossible to summarise an entire culture in writing.

Instead, I will start close to home, looking at my background, how the group became what it is today, and our context in relation to other local groups. I will then go deeper and broader, one topic at a time. I will center my writing around relevance our group and our material but signpost to the broader reading. I’ll link as much video, book and film content as possible for you to explore along the way.


Topics I've started sketching out include:

  • What is samba?

  • The history of the word

  • The history of the music

  • The historical context surrounding samba

  • The significance of the transatlantic slave trade

  • Afro-Brazilian identity

  • Carnival in Brazil

  • Other styles of Brazilian music (this will be a big one!)

  • Other relevant aspects of Brazilian culture

  • Cultural appropriation?

It's a big journey we find ourselves on here. The more you learn about this stuff, the more you realise there is to learn.

Happy studying,



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