Orixá Bloco (pronounced Orisha Blocko)
was established in May 2017. It was co-founded by the Musical Director Helen Curtis and Lead Artist Mo Lindley. We use amazing traditional rhythms and dances, and re-create them for a large drumming and dance carnival group.
As an organisation we aim to create an environment where musicians and dancers can develop their skills and knowledge in a supportive atmosphere, and through this we can engage with the public with vibrant and energetic performances, workshops and costumes that inspire.
What’s it all about?
Drumming and dance is something that goes deep within the human psyche, humans have evolved as musical beings, humans are intrinsically made of musical elements and particles, we move with rhythm and speak using pitch, it is a primal instinct, and why humans react so strongly to drumming, dance and song… therefore there needs to be an outlet for people to pick up a drum and simply play it, and there needs to be a percussive outlet for people to feel moved to dance!
Possible side effects include- Feelings of positivity, enhanced energy, friendships, outbursts of laughter, trance or meditative like states, enhanced brain activity, feelings of connectivity.
Orixá Bloco is so called because it has the traditional Brazilian heritage of candomblé at its roots and in its heart. Many of the tunes and chorography are based within a symbolic rhythm and dance for a specific Orixá (African deity) and therefore has characteristics of that specific Orixá.
What is an Orixá?
Orixá’s (pronounced Orisha) are African deities- Gods and Goddesses, and are eloquently described by Jon Hardeman as “energetic forces that embody elements of nature, divine light and spirit. These are timeless entities who enter the present through drumming and song, and express themselves through dance. Each Orixá represents different human character types, earth energies and elemental forces and are embodiments of these”
The rhythms and dances are a percussionist’s and dancers dream but also hold within them powerful messages and spiritual connections for dealing with the current time.
This ancient heritage came with the enslaved African people as they were taken from West Africa on their horrific journeys to countries including Brazil. Surviving through incredible and dire circumstances, the music, dance and song was preserved, and also evolved -often in secret or in disguise- through culture and carnival. As ongoing testament to this incredible tradition it has continued its epic developmental journey and found its way to the UK. Drumming, dance and carnival continues to thrive and evolve in surprising places, including the Calder Valley, within Orixá Bloco!