***2014 Update!! I’ve now created my own video describing tamborim technique! You can check it out here: ***
(from January 8, 2011)
I’d like to thank my good friend, great percussionist and fellow Brazil nut JR – who is from Toronto but makes a much better Carioca than I do – for inviting me to rehearse with the bateria of the Rocinha samba school. JR arrived here a few weeks before I did and began playing with Rocinha, so he knew when rehearsals are held and let me in on the action.
My biggest ally in this quest is Bruno, the jovial and intrepid leader of the tamborim section. He took some time to meet with me before rehearsal tonight to royally kick my sorry gringa hiney!
First we worked on some basic carreteiro* technique (the bloody difficult part of playing tamborim … Bruno solved a big mystery for me by showing me that the turn actually starts on the 2nd hit, and is completed with the upstroke.)
Then we were joined by another one of the tamborim players and went over all of the “desenhos” or breaks/conversations – the musically varied and really brain-racking parts – specific to this song.
During a technical rehearsal, there are times when the whole bateria is accompanying several (heavily) amplified singers and a cavaquinho player, and some times when the bateria takes a break for a chorus or two. During one of these breaks, Bruno played along softly so that we could learn how all of the desenhos fit together with the song. So here’s what I’m up against! Meet Bruno:
Even though I’m here a full two months before Carnaval, these schools sometimes start practicing 7 or even 8 months before, so I’m in on the very tail end as far as trying to participate in the bateria is concerned. I still don’t know if I am guaranteed a spot or not … like Negin says, we don’t really know until they hand us our fantasia (costume). JR and I are going to check out a few more schools just to try to keep our options open. I’m quite liking Rocinha though, I hope it works out.
Here’s Rocinha’s samba enredo for 2011:
Marca o tempo já é hora
Voa borboleta encantada
Mata sua sede de vencer
que eu faço tudo pra te proteger
(If you’re interested in tamborim technique, comment and we’ll talk more … for now, check out this little demo, it’s pretty slammin’! … even if you don’t understand Portuguese, it’s a beautiful, melodious and rhythmic language and it’s fun to listen to):