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posted June 3, 2004

Can the big drums come to Dufferin Grove Park? (June 2004)

A couple of years ago, a samba drumming group started coming to the park every Sunday afternoon to practise for 3 hours. Although they were very nice, their three-hour boom-boom just about drove the neighbours crazy. So they had to go back indoors to a community centre to practise.

A few weeks ago, on the last Saturday in May, a new group showed up at the park: the Maracatu Nunca Antes or Maracatu Toronto. This is what they said in an e-mail they sent to our web site:

"we're an afro-brazilian percussion group dedicated to the study of afro-brazilian rhythms beyond samba. This summer we shall be parading and participating in numerous festivals including Harbourfront Ritmo Y Color, Hillside, Om, Celebrate Toronto, Muhtadi's iNt Drum Fest, Kensington Harvest Fest, among many more... We are looking for an outdoor space (a park especially) to hold rehearsals on Saturdays between 4 and 6pm. We thought that because many of our members live in the College and Dufferin area, and we all know Dufferin Grove well, we would see about the possibility of holding some rehearsals there. The dates we are looking at are May 29, June 12, July 3rd, July 31, and possibly two Saturdays in August. For more information, pictures, and video clips about our group please visit Our group contains between 15-20 percussionists at a time and dancers with big colourful skirts."

On May 29, the group started off practising in the middle of the park, and you could hear them blocks away. We asked them to go down the hill toward the fountain and Dufferin Street, and so, without missing a beat (they're a parade band, of course), they all walked down the hill, drumming and swaying, and held the rest of their practise there.

The hillside was dotted with people watching and having a really good time. So maybe we should try it again. Most of the band's rehearsal times are at three week-intervals. Park neighbours, let us know how the next time (June 12) is for you, by calling the park at 416 392-0913, or e-mailing Maybe this time it will turn out that nobody is unhappy, and there will be a lively show at the park a few times this summer. Certainly it's obvious, watching the band, that they LOVE to play outside in the sunshine, the rhythms are exciting, and they look and sound beautiful.

Maracatu Nunca Antes or Maracatu Toronto

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