Samba drummers’ summer school is boosted by John Lewis funding

    Bloco Fogo

    Bloco Fogo, the samba drumming group based in Tunbridge Wells, has been awarded £1,035 by the John Lewis Partnership’s Music Matters programme.

    The band performs some 40 gigs a year in the UK and abroad and offers workshops to schools to teach their percussive techniques and dance moves, as well as spreading the word about carnival arts.

    The John Lewis Partnership has been supporting musical activities of all kinds for over 75 years.

    It offers grants of between £500 and £3,000 for events or projects that make an outstanding contribution to the musical life of the local communities.

    Bloco Fogo was formed in 2001 and features up to 75 drummers for major events, making them one of the largest ‘blocos’ or drumming groups in Britain.

    Cheryl Hooker-Blake, Music Leader for Bloco Fogo, said: “We are a small organisation, so this financial help will make a real difference to us. We were over the moon when we heard we’d been successful.

    “The money will go towards the Meninos do Bloco Summer School, which encourages youth participation in Brazilian samba drumming and creates a vibrant public performance involving carnival arts, movement and samba drumming.”

    A summer school will be held for eight to 16-year-olds this summer at St Matthews Primary School in Tunbridge Wells for a second year running, on August 8-13.

    This year the children will be staging a public performance around the theme of ‘The Firebird’.

    Sophie Hine, Branch Manager at John Lewis Tunbridge Wells, said: “Music can make such a difference to people’s lives; it really has the power to bring people together in our local community.” The summer school costs £90; visit or look on Facebook for more information.