About

About Us

About Ministry of Samba and what we do best


Ministry of Samba began their journey as Swindon Samba thanks to a lottery grant received in 2009, when we became Swindon’s first Batteria!

Musical Director Luke Winton stepped forward to be the Mestre for the group and along with the passion, talent and commitment of the members in our band, we have grown into a rhythmical family.

Ministry of Samba has had the opportunity and pleasure of playing an incredible variety of performances over the years, like playing in the middle of Swindon FC county ground stadium at half time in 2010, starting a flash mob dance for the Swindon Big Arts day in 2011, leading a parade of thousands through the streets of Swindon for the Olympic torch in 2012, being the resident Batteria at Fieldview festival for several years, supporting BBC Wiltshire in their Pedal for Pudsey quest in 2017 and playing at the BBC Wiltshire Studios.

Our vision is to bring the infectious rhythm from Brazil right up to the audience to taste it.


We have also had the honour to support a range of local charities such as The Samaritans, The Harbour Project and our current ‘chosen charity’ Brighter Futures.

Within our group we are always looking forward to welcoming new members, with or without any level of experience and are always keen for new performance experiences.

Who we are

Meet a small handful of our members


Luke Winton
Luke Winton
The Musical Director and Mestre for Ministry of Samba Luke has been a percussionist for over 20 years. Originally starting as a kit player he got the ‘bug for rhythm’ very quickly and was soon playing hand percussion as well as kit whenever he got the chance. He was asked to be the Mestre for Ministry at the bands beginning in 2009.
Kev Hallett
Kev Hallett
In 2010 I was at the Big Arts Day in Lydiard park & came across a semi-circle of drummers. I didn’t realise it was Samba music but thought – wow I’d love to do that. I was never a drummer but was always trying to tap out a rhythm on something from as long as I can remember so I went along. I have learnt so much & hopefully no longer sound like I’m putting up a shed!
Moni Lopez
Moni Lopez
I’m from Costa Rica and when I moved to Swindon I was looking to meet new people and make new friends. I knew Luke through his wife who’s also Costa Rican, and she invited me to come along to a practice. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly that made me keep coming back until I formally joined in mid-2016.
Scott Menham
Scott Menham
After playing the drums for over 7 years my drum teacher told me that he was the leader of a samba band called Swindon samba! I thought I would give it a go so turned up to 1 practice and I never looked back.
Alex Wareing
Alex Wareing
I joined Ministry of Samba around Feb 16 as I'd moved to Swindon, not knowing anyone and was looking for a new hobby that didn't involve high levels of commitment. I have played Chocolacao/Ganza and now Surdo Segunda. It is my favourite 2 hours of the week - I love the mix of people, the escape-ism and the amount of fun we have
Kevin Menham
Kevin Menham
After playing in their Samba workshop at Fieldview Festival, I first got the bug and decided to take the plunge & I haven’t looked back since. I love being in a great team, it’s lots of fun. I really enjoy playing at festivals, making the hours of practice worthwhile. The special connection shared between all the band members when we play is amazing.
Lynne Clarke
Lynne Clarke
I heard of the band through a friend and was invited to a "bring your friends along to a practice" evening with my daughter Laura. I Started going to practice soon after and we both loved it . What I love is just being a part of the band - a great group of people who all love samba .
Alex Giles
Alex Giles
I came across them as a friend had invited me to watch them play 4 years ago and I have to say I was immediately hooked! Even when your energy levels have waned the music just lifts you, it’s impossible to not enjoy its infectious rhythms of toe tapping entertainment! We have been very fortunate to have our illustrious Mestre Luke who really has an abundance of patience, but has a progressive vision that makes us that little more special.

Instruments

What we play


Repinique

Repinique or Repique (pronounced with a “H”) is a medium size drum, usually played by the head of the batucada (“mestre de bateria”). This is traditionally the one who plays starting and stopping figures (“calls”) and converses with the whole band in unison during the breaks (“paradinhas”) and performs improvised solos. The Repique can be played either with 2 “whippy sticks” that are used in more traditional North-Eastern Brazilian Rhythms such as ‘Samba Reggae’, or the more traditional ‘Rio style’ of one hand and one wooden stick. They often complement the tamborims and surdos within the groove.

Caixa

The Caixa (or “caixa de Guerra”) are played with a slightly smaller than standard pair of drumsticks and are different from the European snare drum because of their smaller diameter and lighter shell with tension rods going from one hoop to the other and wires across the batter head. This gives a clear, dry, high pitched and precise tone. Our Sambistas mainly play 12” Caixa and their role is to control the feel and groove of the music and determine our rhythmic identity. We play patterns such as Salgueiro, Bossa, Funk Ciranda and Maculele.

Tambourims, Agogo Bells, Chocalho and Ganza

The frame of a Tambourim is 6″ in width and is most commonly made of metal. The head is typically made of nylon and is normally very tightly tuned in order to ensure a high, sharp timbre and a minimum of sustain. They have no bells and are frequently confused with the more common tambourine.

The Agogo Bells (from African origin) are made of metal and have two different sized bells to create a high and low pitch . They are held in one hand and are played with a wooden stick. The Chocalho is a very large and powerful shaker made of metal with a number of steel jingles and is played by shaking it back and forth and pumping the arms up and down. It is a very loud instrument and they are typically used as a support instrument to provide back-up to the Caixas and help sustain the rhythm within the Bloco. The Ganza is used in the same way as Chocalho but is a much lighter instrument in feel and sound. It is a metallic container with small beads inside and is used for different rhythms such as ‘Reggae’ or Ciranda.

Wanna get involved?

Join in!