Drogheda Samba Festival began in 1994 as part of the Drogheda 800 celebrations and proved such a hit that it became an annual event.
It has become the get-together for Irish samba groups who are joined by others from abroad for a 3-day party of Samba, Latin and African music and dance.
There are pub and street gigs, workshops and concerts. Highlights are the 5-hour non stop samba session in the main street and the carnival parade and there is also a special Samba Mass.
Bands from as far as Singapore and Sao Paulo and famous percussionists such as Dudu Tucci and Mestre Esteve have played and conducted workshops at the festival.
The festival is run by a completely voluntary committee and is operated on a relatively small budget. Community bands are offered bed and breakfast in exchange for performances during the festival and usually pay their own transport costs.
All events are free unless otherwise stated. The programme may be subject to change. Please check back here for updates
11.00am Mad Hatters
11.00am Bloco Garman
11.30am Samba Cuisle
12.00am Arco Iris
12.30am Cachimbo + Brass
2.00pm Mundo Capoeira
2.30pm Samba Mamas
3.00pm Cork City Samba
3.30pm Samba St Olof
4.00pm Samba Jam with Lourdes Brass Band
12.30am DIT Samba Society
1.30pm Bloco Garman
4.30pm 20 Miles Beyond - a repeat performance in the Augustinian Church of this piece composed by Michael Holohan last year to mark the 20th anniversary of the festival as a tribute to festival director Phil Conyngham.
6.00pm Cork City Samba
7.00pm Samba St Olof
8.00pm Arco Iris
1.15pm Samba Mass
2.00pm Maracatu Ilha Brilhante
3.30pm Carnival Parade, also passing through George's Street, West Street and Shop Street.
4.30pm Various Performances
6.00pm Bloco Garman
7.00pm Blue Bossa and guests
8.00pm Arco Iris
9.00pm Global Grooves Fringe Festival with Cachimbo and Cachimbo Brass Band
Ireland’s longest running samba school is just one year younger than the festival and celebrate their 20th birthday. MaSamba have attended the festival every year since its formation. They will be leading the parade again this year with their spectacular costumes.
This Cambridge samba school are paying their 11th visit to Drogheda and, in common with the festival, are celebrating their 21st birthday. Their upbeat style have made them a firm favourite at the festival and they never fail to get the crowd dancing.
A group formed in 1985 and based in Sigtuna, Sweden they have performed more than 500 gigs in three continents. The performers are aged between 12 and 24 and most are still students. They will be bringing 45 drummers and dancers to Drogheda – a new record for the festival.
Made up of some of the elite samba drummers from North and South this group has represented Ireland at maracatu festivals in various parts of Europe for the past few years. In July it is their turn to host the 6th European Maracatu Encontro and it takes place in Limerick from July 25th to 27th. There will be 350 drummers from all over Europe. Maracatu originated in the north east of Brazil.
A cross community world music youth group, which is part of the City of Belfast School of Music, they explore varied world music traditions using authentic instrumentation and specialise in African drumming and Brazilian samba. They are between 9 & 19 and are led by John Gillen with the assistance Miss Suzanne McConville.
Another regular festival group they play a variety of Brazilian rhythms with African and Afro-Cuban influences. From Tralee they were formed in 2000 following workshops with Simeon Smith of Masamba.
On the go for five years, this Wexford group are playing as a unit for the second time at the festival. In previous years they played in Drogheda with Maracatu Ilha Brilhante
Drogheda's own community samba group are, as their name implies all moms and play at many events in the locality. They practice every Monday morning in a school hall while their children are at school.
Featuring the cream of Drogheda’s percussionists they play Brazilian, Puerto Rican and Cuban music. Their line-up includes bass and mandolin and sometimes brass. They are led by Niall Gregory who has performed with many top groups including Dead Can Dance.
Another Drogheda group who are in demand for festivals all over Ireland for their inter-active zany performances. Watch out for them around the town on Saturday. They are liable to pop out from nowhere. You will know them by their hats.
Formed in May 2014 out of the remains of a group from the Cork School of Music this must be Ireland’s newest group samba band. As well as samba the group also performs house, hip hop and drum 'n' bass with occasional vocals.
Formed in 2010 this group has become a colourful part of social life in Dublin Institute of Technology. Some of them are no strangers to Drogheda, having visited the festival a few times but this is the first year they are performing.
Born two years ago, this five-member group is made up of Brazilians living in Dublin and whose second home is the Mette in Templebar where they play pagoda and samba. The leader Gutto Macedo has lived in Dublin for five years. Pagode is best described as sit-down samba – the Brazilian equivalent of a seisun.
An ever-popular part of the festival this group perform the Brazilian capoeira dance which mimics martial arts. They organise classes in a number of centres in Dublin.
An inventive festival group which performs every year with a variety of interesting guests. This year they will perform what leader Michael Holohan describes as ‘spaced out samba’ with special guests Simon O’Dwyer on ancient horns and percussionist Maria Cullen O’Dwyer .
Performing under Michael Holohan's 20 Miles Beyond will be members of Drogheda Orchestral Collective, the Drogheda and Lourdes Brass Bands plus soloists Baz Leahy and Breiffne Holohan, all under Michale Holohan's baton. An addition this year is percussion by Cachimbo.
Director: Phil Conyngham, 117 Brookville, Drogheda, Co Louth, Ireland. Phone 353-41-9838332. 086-8123310.
Also: Brian Conyngham 086-856-7131.
You can also contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.