Macumba in Bute FolkWorld article by Christian Moll:

Brazilian Bagpipe Samba Rumba

Macumba - the unusual pipes and drums.

Macumba - their music might be described simply as 'pipes and drums', and it would not be wrong - but without doubt it is not enough to do justice with this Scottish experience.

The band themselves would describe their music like this: "It is - em - Brazilian Bagpipe Samba Rumba - em - fusing two or more music cultures together. Like for instance Scottish music on the bagpipes - we are fusing that with drum rhythms of the cultures from Brazil, Cuba and Latin America in general."

So is it for them 'Pipes and Drums'? -"Yeah - you see it yourself, we have pipes and drums. But at the same time you have pipe bands which you should not directly confuse with pipes and drums - most people know pipebands as Pipes and Drums."
The band has connections into the pipe band scene, not as band though: The pipers do play also in the 'traditional' pipe band scene, but that is a totally different scene.

The main link between the different music styles is that pipes and Southern drums work very well together. "There are a lot of reels - Scottish reels tend to go quite well with samba, for some reason. It has probably something to do with the swing - even Scottish pipe band drummers play with a swing. The swing was kind of developed in America, but a lot of it came from folk music, from Celtic people. And there is a lot of swing also in Samba, so that may be why the two go together so well."

The band has often members of different cultural backgrounds, there are some Scots (obviously), one is from Argentinia, Tina is "from down south, from London - but her parents are from Jamaica, I think. We used to have a lass from Chile, and a lass from France. So it is quite a lot of nationalities that have played with us."

Macumba in ButeMacumba have toured all over the world. In 1998 they have done tours with the British Council to Cuba and Venezuela, then they have played at the World Cup in Paris. In 1999 they have brought out their second album on Greentrax label called "Bruhuháhó", and because of this they have spent their most time on Scottish folk festivals to promote the album. "You know, the last couple of years we have toured extensively abroad, through America and Europe and Asia as well, Japan. This year (1999) came the new album out, and we promoted it first and foremost in Scotland. And to do this, it is the festival scene to be involved in. Every time you bring out a new album you have to keep your reputation, pop your reputation back up. So you do the folk festivals, and they are always great anyway."

Abroad they get both Scottish and Brazilian audiences, as well as of course the "locals" of the country. Main aim of Macumba is to promote the two countries with their music.

In life Macumba is a special experience - it is loud, powerful and new, an excellent fitting combination of exciting music. Their performance is wild, it is great for a late night gig, where you have the chance to dance till you drop. But also their street performance is special, all the passers by will directly stop and gathers around them, as both for ears and eyes it is worthwhile to stay and watch the show...

It is the most special party band that has come out of Scotland, so if you have the chance to catch this inter-cultural experience, go out and party on with them.

Latest published CD: "Bruhuháhó", on Greentrax
Further infos/contact: on the homepage

Photo Credit: Macumba on the Isle of Bute folk festival 1999, all photos by the Mollis

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