The Escola de Samba de Toronto, Canada’s premiere Brazilian Bateria ensemble, is a group of drummers, instrumentalists, singers and dancers, who share a passion for Brazilian music, Samba Enredo from Carnaval, above all!
As pioneers of the tradition in Canada, in residence at the Royal Conservatory’s World Music Centre since 2005, the Escola de Samba de Toronto is widely recognized as one of the more important cultural links between Toronto and Brazil. It is a forum for the study, practice, and performance of one of Brazil's most creative art forms: the Samba Enredo. The Escola has performed at every major summer outdoor festival in the Greater Toronto Area and has performed in Montreal, Kingston, Ottawa, and in 2008 and 2011 toured São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to great acclaim. They are planning a return visit to Brazil for the end of 2012.
Their strong cultural connections to Brazil are the subject of filmmaker Avi Lev’s documentary film, We Are Samba. and they have been featured on Sambacana’s most recent CD: Nós.
The leader and musical director of the Escola de Samba de Toronto is percussionist and musical all-rounder Alan “Canadense” Hetherington, a devotee of the Samba Enredo tradition of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo since 1989. At the receiving end of Hetherington’s knowledge is the Escola de Samba’s core, a percussion bateria consisting of over 30 people who have all been transformed by the power and beauty of samba.
Their roots and influences stem from some of the highly revered proponents of the tradition including Mestre Serjão from the Escola de Samba Arco Iris and Leões da Hortolândia in Jundiaí, São Paulo; Mestre Sombra of Mocidade Alegre (São Paulo); Mestre Odilon (Acadêmicos da Grande Rio ); Mestre Celinho (Unidos da Tijuca); Mestre Beto (Imperatriz Leopoldinense), and Mestre Paulão (Beija Flor). Each of these escolas embodies the spirit that drives the Escola de Samba de Toronto today.
Members come from all walks of Canadian life; Brazilians, Canadians and immigrants alike, all with Brazilian spirit in their hearts.
In a world today where humankind is often challenged by great conflict, escolas de samba — now in existence the world over — promote some of our greatest qualities: fellowship and goodwill focused on creating good works. This is the Brazilian model that has been embraced by The Escola de Samba de Toronto. They are devoted to the creative process where individuals from all walks of life come together to develop their talents that often reach remarkable heights. The result is a model for harmonious existence in today's world.
The Escola de Samba de Toronto has been devoted to these goals since its inception. The artists of The Escola de Samba de Toronto are excited to be a dynamic and flourishing element of Brazilian-Canadian culture, connected to the roots of the great Brazilian sambistas while carrying the samba tradition forward in the northern hemisphere today.
Percussive revelry at its finest; the spirit of Brazilian Carnaval live:
The Escola de Samba de Toronto!