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Jambalaya Festival 8th-11th April - Taupo


Three days of Cuban, Brazilian, Maori, Pacific, Samba, Salsa, Cultural Fusion ending in Huge Carnival Madness!

This festival includes something for everyone: Music enthusiasts, professional, social and novice dancers and musicians, kids, members of the community, people who love Brazilian drum and bass or Buena Vista Social Club. To cater for all these music lovers there is a whole host of paid and free activities planned:

For people who want to learn there are 140 dance and music workshops are being offered for total beginners through to advanced. We have 6 headlining international teachers and 15 top NZ based teachers (see attached sheet for interview opportunities). Also there will be a programme of lectures and films on dance, Brazil and Cuba.

For those who want to see live shows there are upwards of 20 bands and performance groups performing at Jambalaya. Highlights include: Scribes of Ra (Wellington), One Million Dollars (Auckland), the fifteen piece Ritmo Latino salsa band (Christchurch), Batucada Sound Machine (Auckland), Also Wellington Batucada and AK Samba (60+ percussionists playing the authentic Rio Carnival sound). Mermaids of Paradise and the Cook Island drummers, Latin Fever dance Troupe, The Wairakei Terraces Kapahaka group, plus many more.

For people looking to party over the Easter Break Jambalaya provides some truly unique party Opportunities: The Get Down, on Friday night (kapahaka meets samba, the top teachers perform and Brazilian and Cuban percussion rule). The Pasifik Mardi Gras, on Easter Saturday (with an explosive 60 min show combining all the styles and cultures represented in the festival followed by a huge Salsa band). Finally The Street Carnival, on Easter Sunday (with entertainment on stage all day, a rollicking street parade at 7pm and a massive street party till 12 followed by wrap up parties in local bars.)

Why the focus on Cuba and Brazil? The Organisers of this festival have been inspired by visiting these exotic lands and seeing the example of how people celebrate life through music – on a day to day basis and in the huge Carnivals that pop up around the world around February and March. Why not encourage this kind of tradition of celebration in New Zealand and incorporate the unique and beautiful musical influences from the mix of cultures that make up New Zealand to create a really NEW ZEALAND / AOTEAROA musical celebratory event?

The aim of the festival is to provide a learning environment, the workshop program operating as a platform for musicians and dancers in New Zealand and overseas, to come together to share their talent and develop new forms of expression through the combination of Cuban, Brazilian, Maori and Cook Island music and dance.


Heidi Hughes, Festival Director Email: Website:


Brief Jambalaya is three days of 120 workshops, 18 bands and performance groups,15 parties and shows and 1 massive Carnival Street Parade.

The festival is a framework for learning about, celebrating and experimenting with Cuban, Brazilian, Maori and Pacific Island music and dance styles.

Dates: Thursday 8th April - Sunday 11th April, Easter Weekend 2004.

Background 2004 is the second annual Jambalaya. Last year 400 people attended workshops with 600 people at the key night events, this year we are expecting to increase this to 600 workshop participants and up to 1,000 at the key night events.

Location Taupo, at the Great Lakes Centre and surrounding venues. This a national event with festival participants and teachers all the way from Whangarei to Dunedin.

Bungy between Batucada classes! Raft before Rumba! Lakeside Lambada!

Workshops: Three days of 140 non-stop workshops Salsa, Samba and Cook Island dance, Cuban, Brazilian and Cook Island percussion, Kapahaka and Capoeira (brazilian martial arts).

Parties: Thursday to Sun, each night has a distinct and unique night event. Highlights include: The Friday night percussion jam “The Get Down” and Saturday night cultural explosion “The Pacific Mardis Gras”. Also don’t forget the delicious pool party at the AC thermal Baths on Saturday afternoon!

Activities: Including lectures, movies, dance competitions, and the grand finale: The street parade and Carnival party!

Free events: Free lunchtime performances, free kids and community classes, bands in local bars and restaurants and the most exciting … The Street Parade and Carnival Party!

Highlights: 6 top international teachers of percussion and dance and 24 of the very best of our own instructors from around New Zealand.

10 of New Zealand’s best Salsa, Samba and Latin Jazz bands with international guests playing live throughout Taupo all weekend. Including Kantuta, New Zealands most famous Salsa band.

6 performance groups including three 50 piece carnival style percussion groups from Taupo, Auckland and Wellington, Latin Fever, the Latin Dance showcase, Wairaki Terraces Kapahaka group, Mermaids of Paradise Cook Island group.

Information Registration and all information about the festival can be found on line at



Samba Percussion

Carlos comes from Vila Isabel, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Since moving to Australia, Carlos has become one of Melbourne's most exciting and innovative exponents of cross-cultural jazz, combining local jazz styles with Brazilian rhythms. He is head of the Melbourne Samba School.


Samba Pecussion and Capoeira master.

Cabello, was born in Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

He keeps the tradition of his ancestors alive by dedicating his life to the rhythms, instruments, songs and dances of the Afro-Brazilian culture.

He has been performing and teaching in the U.S. since 1990.


Cuban Congas and Bongo

Hailing from Chile, Javier Fredes started playing percussion music when he was nine and is now widely regarded as one of the best Latin percussion players in Australia.



Sydney’s top Salsa dance teachers and performers, Oliver and Natalie are back to show us the top level of moves and styles on the international circuit.


Cuban folkloric

Founder of the Cuban Dance Academy in Melbourne. Christina explores the vibrant & passionate afro-cuban traditions of music and dance.


Brazilian dance and Capoeira

Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tisza has been exposed to Afro- Brazilian culture from a very early age. She performed and taught capoeira since the early 80¹s and brings to Jambalaya the fantastic Brazilian rhythm and dance of Maculele.


The madness is back. BSM have had an epic year playing in Auckland and have grown in size to include a 7 piece thunder percussion line-up, an all-star horn section, scratch DJ Definite, MC KMS, the unstoppable Rota Barrington on drums and a host of unmentionable others. They did a live-to-air on bFM late last year which led to a main slot at the b summer series gig in Albert Park. Other memorable gigs include Splore and Braziliance at Galatos. BSM mix brazilian and ýuban grooves with hiphop and drum&bass styles…...


The Scribes of Ra are an Afrobeat orchestra formed of a “who’s who” of Welli Town musical heroes. Prime instigator is expert guitarist Mike Fabulous. Members hail from The Phoenix Foundation, Fat Freddie’s Drop, Twinset, Trinity Roots, The Bad Apple Orchestra, The Blackseeds, Orquesta Salvaje… and the list goes on!!! Scribes have moved from playing the music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti towards an original style more representative of modern-day Wellington, without losing the Dark Continent Sound that has made them so popular.


an Auckland-based soul-jazz collective with a reputation for energetic live performances. One million dollars plays all-original songs, with a sound combining elements of 70’s soul, funk and samba, built around the songwriting skills of singer/guitarist Richard Setford. With four horns, multipart vocals and occasional lyrics in Brazilian Portuguese, the ten-piece band has brought a fresh perspective to the New Zealand music scene


Brisa Louca: Auckland based Brazilian band. For the last 3 years playing a vibrant display of traditional and modern Brazilian music including samba, samba funk, reggae brasil, afoxe,forro manguebeat and other tropical fusions. Feel the breeze...


A 10+ piece Latin band based in Christchurch. This band specializes in the styles of Latin Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican and Brazilian music. Lead by Gilles Nantel, accomplished professional percussionist, with guest star Peruvian vocalist Gerado Torres and two of his singers. This line up of experienced musicians unite to Bring you a truly authentic new flavour of Latin music to New Zealand audiences a flavour of music that will make the most stubborn feet move and create a spirit of fun! Many thanks to Lite FM 94.5 for bringing them to Taupo.


Kantuta 'international entertainers' are based in Auckland, New Zeland. Kantuta 'the Latin sensation' is inspired by the musical influences of the groups varied cultural backgrounds. Kantuta perform a unique style of modern Latino Music and rhythms including Salsa, Merengue, Modern LatinDance Tunes and Classic Latin Favourites.

One of New Zealand’s Top Latin dance band achieving both Gold and Platinum Records, Kantuta have performed Internationally Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Australia, and the Pacific.


This traditional Cook Island dance troupe were a highlight of Jambalaya 2003. They have headlined at Pacifika for many years and have done numerous shows in Europe and Australasia. This group have an energy that makes you want to jump on to the next plane to the Islands. Make a point of seeing their show at the Carnival Street Festival and their explosive cultural fusion with AK Samba at the Pacific Mardi Gras.


Top quality local kapahaka performers bring you powerful kapahaka, and beautiful waiata and poi. Don't miss this extraordinary Kiwi talent. Be there early to see their performance at The Get Down, Friday night.


This Latin American dance group has been wowing local and international audiences for more than 10 years. Troupe leader Lynda Kamphus introduces some new numbers at Jambalaya, sure to excite and inspire. These dancers are not only top calibre performers, they are super sexy too!


AKSamba is a community Samba School with 50 percussionists. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, they have been running since the end of 2002. They specialise in Brazilian percussion with lots of influences as well as samba — drum and bass, hip hop, reggae and house.

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