Our most recent calculations tell us that the band have a combined musical experience of roughly 300 years! No we’re not kidding, we’ll even throw in the statistic that each player boasts to be able to play at least 2 instruments and have a wide range of different musical backgrounds from World, Rock, Folk, Latin, Jazz, Afro and Blues this combines beautifully to make the sound that you hear today.
Banda Bacana started it’s journey 10 years ago through the local samba band in Bangor, where Kate was a member. Here she met John the bass player who was contributing his talents to Samba Bangor’s album, and Zé, an amazing multi-instrumentalist producer from Recifé that Samba Bangor had the opportunity to work with. Kate was learning bossa nova guitar at the time and they decided it would be fun to get together and play some music. Zé went back to Brazil but John and Kate carried on.
It’s amazing how the past 10 years have seen players come and go and the band has taken on various forms but the current line up has been pretty solid for a good 6 or 7 years with input from a vast array of richly talented musicians.
After making an album in 2009 the band have been constantly busy and in popular demand with at least 1 or 2 gigs a week (not bad going for a band where most of the players have full time jobs!). Nowadays the band comprises between 7-9 players, based on availability as most of them contribute to the North Wales music scene by being part of 1 or even two other bands or ensembles! The band play groove and harmony based music with influences such as Afro, Latin, Reggae, Funk and any other type of Tropical music you can think of! With 3 members having been part of the Samba band at some point, and the rest just being extremely talented musicians, it creates a magic solid groove and beat that is so infectious you would find it hard to keep still.
The band’s CV stretches from pubs, to weddings, to parties, village fetes, festivals and beyond! One of the first gigs to put the band on the map was organised by Byd Mawr local world music promoters who brought bands such as The Mighty Diamonds, Johnny Clarke and Nuru Kane to the area. They have supported and been supported by many local events and have had regular appearances at places such as Conwy Feast, Dragon Theatre in Barmouth, Hendre Hall, Galeri Caernarfon, The Heights Llanberis and Trefriw village Hall.
The band have also had the privilege of playing at some fantastic festivals and sharing the bill with the likes of Maroon Town, Geraint Jarman, Riot Jazz Brass Band and playing the main stages at festivals such as Beatherder, Kaya Festival, Ymuno Festival, Sheep Music and Gwyl Arall. Another amazing experience in July this year was making their way onto the S4C stage at Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod but the highlight so far was Cuban giants Sierra Maestra in 2010 at a home gig put on by local promoters, Pontio.
We look forward to the next chapter in our book, new album and video on the horizon, a decade of fine music to celebrate and many other interesting gigs to be played! Who knows….maybe even Womad?