The scene from the stage at Block Party 2012

The scene from the stage at Block Party 2012 at PS Kensington

Summer heats up in Toronto and it seems every performer we know, and that includes the large percussion groups, becomes busy busy during the few hot weather months we get here.

One of those groups keeping active is Maracatu Mar Aberto, whose summer program is an ambitious one that aims to build on the educational pieces of not only the drumming style of (northeastern Brazilian) Maracatu de Baque Virado (literally maracatu of the turned-around beat), but also this year, dance workshops, instrument and prop-building workshops are on offer.

Maracatu Mar Aberto at Cabbagetown Festival in 2012.

Maracatu Mar Aberto at Cabbagetown Festival in 2012.

By adding a number of non-musical artistic elements, Maracatu Mar Aberto is attempting to teach about, and create the experience of, a maracatu production. In the neighbourhoods of Recife, Pernambuco, where the cultural manifestation came to life and where it remains most practiced, neighbourhood and community have everything to do with getting ready for the big parade — everyone helps out.

This year’s parade production promises even more colour and shine, than last year’s, not to mention the musical advancement. The baque (the Brazilian Portuguese name for a maracatu drum corps) of Mar Aberto is also part of the summer program, with not only beginner classes to bring along new members, but also more focused intermediate and advanced classes for the existing members (some of whom joined via the summer program last year). Be ready for the sounds, the sights and the spectacle to bust out!

Block Party 2012 at PS Kensington

Amazing energy at the Block Party at PS Kensington.

And while we wait, there’s still plenty to celebrate — the summer solstice, the end of Mar Aberto’s winter schedule and the work spent developing the performance troupe — and of course joining in with other bands, friends, dancers, performers, Capoeiristas and artists in the local scene. All that takes place at this year’s Block Party, another day-long affair with food and drink, arts and dance and all manner of fun, hosted by Maracatu Mar Aberto and Clay and Paper Theatre and co-presented by Uma Nota Culture. It will take place Sunday, June 23 at 35 Strachan Ave. in Toronto.

Map from Trinity Bellwoods park to Block Party 2013 location

Map from Trinity Bellwoods park to Block Party 2013 location. Thanks to Kristyn Gelfand for this.

For more on the Block Party, check out this post on the Maracatu Mar Aberto website or take a look at the Facebook event page.

Here’s a video from last year’s Block Party, too: