Brazil Trip1
27 April 2023

Students take part in one of Brazil’s biggest carnivals in ‘life-changing experience’

From rehearsing with local samba groups, to performing at one of South America’s biggest carnivals, a group of Edinburgh College Music students had an experience of a lifetime as they recently got a taste for life in Brazil’s vibrant Salvador city. 

The students travelled across the world to join a female-only group at the carnival in Salvador de Bahia, after being invited as part of a delegation organised by the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival’s Edinburgh Festival Carnival programme and fully-funded through the UK Government’s Turing Scheme.

The group of nine HND Music students spent a total of ten days in Brazil, where they underwent a series of intense rehearsals with partners from Dida, the all-female Blocos samba school group, before joining them for two three-hour parades through the town for the Salvador Carnival.

HND Music student Gabriella Roberts said: “For myself, it’s really allowed me to come out of my comfort zone, open up and be free with my movement compared to just following certain counts and going by a choreographed dance. Just allowing to be free in the movement, feeling the rhythm and the beat, and when it all just comes together it’s amazing!”

HND Music student Eva MacFarlane said: “It’s been so empowering, I don’t know how to explain it but you just get this overwhelming feeling and it’s great to be surrounded by so many women and such positive energy. It’s been amazing!”.

Broadcast Media student Olga Michalik also travelled with the group to capture their experience and create a documentary of the trip, which she is putting towards a unit as part of her course.

The group, accompanied by Music and Sound Production lecturer Rocio Banyuls-Bertomeu also got to enjoy some downtime where they took day trips to some of the region’s top attractions, including the islands of Ilha dos Frades and Itaparica, and a tour around the historic centre of Pelourinho, where Michael Jackson recorded his song ‘They Don’t Care About Us’.

Music and Sound Production lecturer Rocio Banyuls-Bertomeu said: “The project in Brazil has been a unique and life-changing experience for our students. Travelling with a group of other students to a faraway country with a different language and culture makes the trip and project invaluable for any young person.

“I can say, without any doubt, that this project has been invaluable for the lives of these students in many different levels, for their own lives, but also for the society, when the students change their attitude and make a difference in the creative industries here in Scotland.” 

Find out more about Edinburgh Festival Carnival.