SMU percussion band Sambiesta seeks to popularize samba music among Singaporeans.
Contributed By Audrey Yeo
Catchy Brazillian samba beats reverberated from the *Scape Warehouse on the evening of July 9 as the percussion band Sambiesta held its first-ever indoor ticketed performance titled “Overdrive”.
The band was formed three years ago through a partnership between students from the Singapore Management University and several of its alumni. The 25-member band showcased an array of Afro-Brazilian percussion instruments including Brazilian drums, played to the arrangements of samba rhythms. Formed to popularize Brazilian samba music among the public by repackaging it to suit a younger crowd, Sambiesta’s mission is to make samba music a mainstream genre.
There was no “easing in”. The evening’s performance kicked off in high gear with infectious beats that got the crowd grooving along in no time. The enthusiastic showmanship from the performers was equally infectious, compelling the crowd to cheer and clap raucously.
The band then sprung a surprise on the audience when it infused a samba number with light Chinese opera elements; yet another song, “Forget You”, contained a rap segment by local band Fungki Munkees, creating a remix of Cee Lo Green’s R&B single. As the night’s guest performers, the Fungki Munkees also spiced up the interval with catchy vocal displays.
“The crowd was bigger than what we see when we do our outdoor busking (at Orchard Road), and because it was a ticketed event, the audience was more focused than passers-by. So there was a bit more pressure, but it was an awesome experience, both individually and as a group,” said Jeremy Shing, 24, one of the band members.
The band wrapped up their show by descending from the stage and weaving in and out of the crowd, ending the night on a memorable note.
Said executive Tony Vangelder, 27, “I like that different cultures were incorporated into the music; it was a good show, both sound- and energy-wise.” Grace Ho, 24, a teacher, called it “a funky performance with lots of groovy moments!” The event drew about 100 young people, mostly students from SMU and parents of the performers who were there to show support.