n any busy weekend event in Whitstable, you will catch the sound of drums floating across the rooftops. It isn’t an invasion; it is the sound of Samba Pelo Mar, Whitstable’s Community samba band.
Formed by Ann Day in 2007, Whitstable’s seaside samba band contains an eclectic and colourful mix of skills and talents. The 60+ members who practice and perform with Samba Pelo Mar stretch across all ages and skills, and with regular free sessions and outreach work, the group looks to have an extremely healthy future.
Whether leading thousand strong zombie crawls or the traditional Whitstable Oyster Festival Parade, the percussion group’s signature mix of music, adapted and fused with world rhythms, and composed by their musical director, Ann Day, is unmistakable.
Before moving to Whitstable 15 years ago, Ann was a peripatetic music teacher, teaching samba. Her time working at the London School of Samba enabled Ann to work with samba musicians of all abilities, beating a path to the ethos behind Samba Pelo Mar. The London School of Samba perform every year at the Notting Hill Carnival and their performance groups travel and perform across the UK. These influences are reflected in the marching style of Samba Pelo Mar, who create a vibrant addition to Whitstable’s street parades.
Drawing her inspiration from her eclectic love of Brazilian, soul, funk reggae and zydeco, Ann has toured and recorded with a number of artists; some of her collaborations have included working with composer and violinist Sianed Jones, The Daffs and US country singer Heather Myles. Her interest in such a wide range of genres allows Ann to also play with bands such as the Electric/Acoustic Landladies, Lund Trio and Annie Whitehead’s Big Sky Trio. Upon listening to any of these acts, one instantly recognises Ann’s percussion in the background.
Samba Pelo Mar are an inclusive community band who are always on the look out for new members. If you fancy drumming to a beat as you parade down the High Street, pop along to one of their practices, at Whitstable Junior School, Tuesdays from 7-9, or visit them on one of their free taster workshops.