Samba at Southbank & Notting Hill Carnival

02/09/2011

Two Articles:

Article 1.  Paraiso School of Samba at Southbank

Sensational Rio Carnival show featuring Paraiso School of Samba raised the roof at Southbank centre spicing up a Bank Holiday weekend on Saturday 27 August, the eve of Notting Hill Carnival.

An adrenaline-pumped Paraiso dance instructor invited everyone to join in and follow his dance steps encouraging people of all ages and abilities to dance and "enjoy life" so people enthusiastically tried keeping up with his fast paced dance moves.

Following the dance demonstrations, a Bateria (percussion ensemble) livened up the atmosphere playing hot Rio Carnival beats keeping everyone up on their feet.  Dazzling carnival performers partook in a spectacular carnival parade dancing the sexy Samba on stage in striking costumes. Paraiso samba school dancers and musicians performed with unstoppable energy as confetti sprays were dispersed in the air.

Paraiso's show was wildly entertaining and it was a great idea for Southbank to arrange it on a bank holiday. I love Rio carnival shows and have previously organised events featuring Brazilian carnival performance groups...Viva Brazil!

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Article 2.  Notting Hill Carnival

Bank Holiday Monday was rounded off at the popular Notting Hill Carnival which my mother Amita and I went to explore yet again. After the recent London riots there had been apprehension about the carnival going ahead but fortunately it was decided the carnival would take place as planned with supplementary police on patrol.  All year round hours of painstaking work go into carnival preparations so it would have been disappointing if it was cancelled.  Year after year millions of visitors from all over the globe come to see the carnival which has evolved as a cultural institution in west London since the first carnival took place in 1964 and has now become the biggest cultural festival in Europe.  We've been to Notting Hill carnival several times over the years and each time it's been an enjoyable experience.

This time we headed straight to the hub of the carnival in Ladbroke Grove to see Carnival floats passing by with an array of vibrant costumes on display whilst sound waves blasted out from hardcore music systems in Notting Hill.  Continuous streams of revellers lined streets blowing whistles & horns, swigging drinks whilst jigging to music.  The sheer magnitude of the carnival is always overwhelming as the action and activity is non-stop. Tempting aromas from food stalls enticed hungry carnival goers and whilst strolling we found a stall serving delicious fresh Caribbean Jerk chicken.  Our eyes watered from the smoke and our mouths watered while watching chicken being grilled on the BBQ...yummm it was finger lickin' good, super tasty and worth working our way through the crowds for!

It's fantastic to see such an eclectic mix of communities and overseas visitors integrating via Caribbean and other international cultures with music, dance and a wide choice of cuisine available to enjoy.  We hope the Notting Hill Carnival continues to flourish for many more years as it's one of the best cultural festivities London has to offer.

© Article & photos by Gina Chrysanthou

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Please read Amita Chatterji's Poem:

T.N.C. The Notting Hill Carnival

We sauntered along towards Notting Hill in the direction of the whistle blowers and followed the exuberant, excited crowds to the throbbing pulse of the carnival monitored by Boys in Blue.

Rhythm boomed out from various mind-blowing sound systems and the pounding of heavy bases made inner organs almost leap out - creating quite a sensation.

Streets were flooded with revellers converging towards the main stages while others happily bopped on balconies, dangled from scaffolding and grooved, moved on rooftops.

Carousing pleasure seekers weaved en masse through littered streets to see the chaotically coloured costumes of exotic dancers and the fleet of merry floats. Pausing to sample jerk chicken, salt fish and ackee, joloffe and beef pattie - washed down with a refreshing rum punch, cool beer or tequila slammer.

I rekon the endless energy dispersed by all the revellers could probably have launched a spaceship!

When listening to the various sound systems, the words of Delroy a talented poet came to mind, "give me a dance, give me a dance!" and we did dance a little.

By Amita Chatterji © published by the Asian Times

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