Drummer Blog: Julia Johnson
3 shows and a sponsored bike ride in 2 days – just another regular weekend for Katumba!
Drummer Julia, who plays repinique in the band, tells us all about the performances, her first Brazilica carnival drumming experience, and why she loves being part of our tribe.
Performing with Katumba is one of my favourite things to be able to do. The weekend of 14th-15th July, though, was intense even by Katumba standards. We’re used to doing long parades, maybe 2 gigs in a weekend – but 3 separate shows in 2 days was, for me at least, a new level of intense. What kept me going was the thing that makes parading with Katumba so special – the buzz from the crowds. Knowing that people are enjoying what it is we do keeps me going, renews my energy and keeps me focus on putting as much as I can into every performance.
First stop the LOVE New Brighton parade. The sun being out made perfect conditions for spectators, but hot for performing in. To be blunt, the road from Marine Point to Vale Park was sweaty. But we all agreed what a lovely place New Brighton was to perform – it’s my local area and not somewhere I’ve visited with Katumba before, so it was great to be able to bring the party closer to home.
Just enough time for a quick rest and refresh, and it was time to head over to Liverpool for Brazilica. This was my first Brazilica carnival and I’d been excited to finally experience being part of what everyone in the band considers the best parade of the year. It’s certainly the biggest in terms of how many fellow bands and dancers we get to parade with. And running at over 2 hours of non-stop playing, it’s also long! Thanks to the enthusiasm of the hundreds out on the streets and the buzz they created, though, keeping the energy up wasn’t a problem. My feet may have been tired by the time we arrived in Williamson Square, but this was nothing compared to the elation of being part of something with this much energy.
This feeling is also what got us out of bed the next morning and over to Disability Awareness Day in Warrington. This meeting of agencies and individuals proving that disability does not have to be a barrier to participation is the kind of cause Katumba loves to support. Once we were in the performance ring and starting our first set of three, it was easy to brush off any exhaustion from the day before and be in the moment of the performance right now.
Three shows in two days was certainly tiring, but at no point was it a chore. We really do enjoy it as much as we hope you do.
See a full list of Katumba’s upcoming performances here.