1984. A significant year for samba
London, 1984. Alan Hayman, an enthusiast of Brazilian samba as well as other forms of music from Brazil, approaches Joao Bosco de Oliveira to help him start a group. It was Bosco who chose the colours of verde e branco (green & white), as his favourite escola de samba was Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel. He and Alan invited other notable drummers and musicians of samba, salsa and jazz in London at the time.
Part of London School of Samba’s story is one of diaspora; taking ones culture and making that connection to home stronger in a new location. Pato and Carlos Fuentes, first came to the UK to escape the Pinochet regime in Chile. Similarly, Brazil was recovering from its military regime, where many Brasileiros had been protesting for the return of democracy, which was rejected in 1984. This led to many Brazilians, Chileans and Argentinians to come to the UK for a better life and a chance to live freely.
Rio, 1984. The sambadrome was built and first opened. This saw many people’s homes bulldozed to the ground and relocated to entirely different parts of the city. People lost their roots to their community; samba lost its connection to the street. Communities and the samba, both becoming controlled and contained. While violent clashes with police occurred in Rio de Janeiro, there was something significant happening here in London.
In London, the police had begun to parade in the 1984 Notting Hill Carnival with the inclusion of the police brass band on a truck. Whilst the problems continue to this day with violence at Notting Hill Carnival in the evenings notably, a subtle shift had begun to take place, perhaps the turning point where police were taking part in the parade, an image that we see today of participants posing for photographs with police.
Despite many different sorts of attempts to change the venue, from Wembley Stadium to abolishing it altogether, Notting Hill Carnival has remained on the road and the spirit of carnival remains on the streets.
LSS played its first official gig at Covent Garden Piazza on April 1st 1984. In August 1984, we were the first Samba School to play at the Notting Hill Carnival and introduced Brazilian Carnival to the parade and to London punters. Since then, we have achieved the best results so far for any non-Caribbean band in the Notting Hill Carnival. LSS won the entire carnival in 1986, the first Brazilian based group to do so, and were the 2nd ever group to win the Bank Holiday Monday parade as the Monday parade only started in 1985. We have continued to be a pioneer for music, dance and costume.
In 1989 Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel visited the UK for the London Encontro. Mestre Jorjão donated his jacket he wore on stage and has since been worn by several of our Mestre de bateria. Our flag was blessed by them and our relationship with our Madrinha was made official. We rekindled that relationship again for our 25th Anniversary in 2009 and we continue to maintain that relationship with our members visiting their quadra and via social media.
Over the past 30 years, the London School of Samba has acted as a bridge for a depth of cultural and musical understanding, a passage to a Brazilian carnival, partly responsible for increase of migration towards a Brazilian experience (with many members visiting Brazil to explore further). It is also a chance for Brazilians to reflect on their culture here in London. LSS is a bridge from the roots of samba in the UK to the contribution to carnival in Notting Hill and the UK. Until 1990 LSS was the only samba group to parade at Notting Hill Carnival, which meant that people from all over the UK came and paraded with just the LSS – and that collective experience was very important for people learning carnival skills, bateria skills, dance skills from a Brazilian perspective.
Within the bateria, our caixas currently play the Mocidade style as the main LSS caixa pattern, as well as our tamborims having our Madrinha’s legacy.
Concept by Mestre Mags
Theme and synopsis written by Fiona Turuka and Fred Turuka
Comissão de Frente – “On Da Road”
Ala Afro – “Ala Cordão de Amigos”
Ala das Baianas – “Parabéns da Tia Nilda”
Bateria – “Bateria ’84 – Marching to Bosco’s drum”
Ala dos Passistas – “Police my Samba”
Dance Ala – “Ala das Piriquitas”
Ala Índio – “Ala Protesto: hitting the streets”
The design team:
Rachel Maclachlan (Bateria, Comissao de Frente & Passista)
Mariana Pinho (Baianas & Ala Cordao de Amigos)
Edmilson de Souza (Ala das Piriquitas)
Helen Davenport (Ala Protesto)
Chris Bicourt (Carnival logo)
Many thanks to our design review panel; Orquidea, Fee, Mags, Asia & Kitty.
Aplauso, Poesias – Cinqüenta Anos de Folia, Trinta Anos de Emoção
written and arranged by Xavier Osmir and Paul Rumbol with thanks to Vivi Xavier.
Acenda a vela, empolgacao
E verde e branco, trinta anos de paixão
Chegou nossa escola de samba,
Mestre Sala e Porta Bandeira
O estandarte vem girar
Vem lá de Padre Miguel
Pra desfilar, a Mocidade o destaque popular
Exaltação nossa madrinha na avenida
Batizava nossa escola querida
A tradição da velha guarda
Traz harmonia e poesias, la la ia
Aplausos, tem samba nos pes os passistas
Saudamosos sambista na avenida
Cinquenta anos, Notting Hill, que emoção
A Unidos vem chegando
Com um samba bem legal
Exaltando o batuque
Vem brilhar no carnaval
O mestre sopra o apito
A bateria parou, chora cavaco
zum, zum, zum não acabou
Alan, da Africa do Sul
De Oliveira, from Minas Gerais
Do Chile, mestre Pato Fuentes
Animavam toda gente, dos antigos carnavais
Meus Orixás, fé e oração.
Feliz eu canto esse refrão
Lá lá ia, ooo
lá lá laia, ooo
Applause, Poetry – Fifty Years of Revelry, Thirty Years of Emotion
Lighting the candle with enthusiasm
It is green and white, thirty years of emotion
Our school of samba has arrived
Charming the crowds
Mestra Sala and Porta Bandeira
Will spin our flag
Came from Padre Miguel to parade
Mocidade, the popular highlight
Lots of emotion, our godmother is at the street parade
Baptizing our brilliant school
Our old school members brought us
Tradition, harmony and poetry
Applause, the samba dancers show footwork steps
Greeting the sambistas at the samba parade
Fifty years of emotion in Notting Hill
LSS is arriving
Playing a beautiful samba
Exalting the bateria
Come to shine at the carnival
The Mestre blows his whistle
The bateria stops, cry cavaquinho
The zum-zum-zum is not over yet
Alan from South Africa
De Oliveira, from Minas Gerais
From Chile, Mestre Pato Fuentes
Liven up all the people from past carnival
My orixas, faith and prayer
Happy I sing this chorus
Lá lá ia, ooo
lá lá laia, ooo
London School of Samba, Notting Hill Carnival 2014 – 30 years of LSS
London School of Samba defy torrential rain at Notting Hill 2014, celebrating 30 years of samba
Notting Hill Carnival – Large Bands Category (Carnival Monday)
Hackney One Carnival
Best movement: Runner up
Pictures of our performances during our carnival tour can be seen in various press articles.
- The Guardian
- ITV website
- Evening Standard
- Yahoo News
- Daily Mail
- Gazette and Herald (Devices)
- This is Wiltshire
There are also some lovely photos on this flickr page
The 2014 carnival season included the following carnivals and events:
- Mardis Gras – Ryde, Isle of Wight
- Waterloo Carnival
- Notting Hill Carnival
- Devizes Carnival, Wiltshire
- Bestival, Isle of Wight
- Hackney One Carnival
- Bridgwater Carnival, Somerset
Many thanks to all the events organisers.
Our 2014 carnival manager/producer was Mariana Whitehouse