2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Samba Squad. I walked up a snow-covered Queen St West carrying a surdo to our first rehearsal at my studio at 401 Richmond St. Samba Squad began busking on Queen St,W. in the summer of 1999.
In 20 years we released 3 CDs and performed at a myriad of events; From major Jazz and World Music festivals to birthday parties, weddings and even one funeral. An ardent Scottish fan wanted Samba Squad to drum his casket to the hearse instead of the traditional pipers. It was a very emotional moment in time. His wife later told me she lost count of the number of times he made her stand in the cold to hear us play.
In those 20 years the group has continued to grow musically and maintain its freshness and fire. We have a wonderful combination of original members and the constant addition of talented and enthusiastic young players.
In 2010 we had a celebratory 10th year anniversary show at the Phoenix.
Stay tuned for news of our 20th anniversary shows.
SAMBA SQUAD is gearing up for a busy Summer 2017 season with Beaches Jazz Festival, Salsa on St. Clair (dancers’ favourite), Sun Fest in London, ON, and Muhtadi’s International Drum Fest. For information and scheduling of these and many other events, go to our Gigs and Upcoming Events Page on this site.
2015 and 2016 featured the emergence of the Grand Bacteria Express:
Samba Squad had its busiest summer ever! We played a lot of PanAm events, as well as the televised closing ceremony of Parapan at Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall, Toronto. A fantastic time was had by all!