Over the physical distancing period, Xi Mali and Pinguim ensured a safe summer link up was able to happen in Finsbury park. After sharing experiences at the We Love Wood Green event, their artforms tied beautifully together.- Historically, Samba and Capoeira formed through related socio-cultural periods of oppression, these artforms also aim to free people- for similar reasons and in similar ways…
Leo Franelli AKA Pinguim
Leonardo is his first name, however- in capoeira Leo is known as Pinguim! He’s Italian but has been living in the UK since 2005. He found capoeira in 2006 in Exeter, where he started training with Angoleiros do Mar. There, he met his master (teacher) and great friend Marcelo Angola. From 2009 Pinguim, began helping Marcelo teach classes.
From 2010 Pinguim then began teaching his own group in Oxford and London. He has since; been running classes at events and free standing workshops- both in UK and Europe. In 2019 he took part to the ‘WeLoveWoodGreen’ project, bringing capoeira music and movements in a three part, movement, sound and history of capoeira workshop at the Goodness brewery.
Here Leo (aka Pinguim) met Xi-Mali, leader of the samba band Pumpkin Jigsaw, together with two other brilliant Samba Dancers, they launched a project called ‘Amigos do Verão’. It aims to bring Capoeira and Samba to outdoor or unconventional spaces, with workshops and performances open for all ages and abilities.
The main objective of Pinguims’ work with Capoeira, is to bring people together, make friends and ultimately create a strong community of creative people.
Carnival uses a notion of shared lived experience towards a positive end goal. What happens when instead of frustration, you apply a combination of: music, dance, beauty, friends, community? There is a personal sense of new appreciation toward our environments and an exhilarating experience of joy. While there are some people who find the number of sensations overwhelming, many who experience carnival become hooked. This is not just from experiencing it themselves but by feeling that this collective sharing should be had with everyone allowing all to feel artistic magic.
aNOLERIOS dO Mar Collaborate with Pumpkin Jigsaw
We made our way to weekly rehearsals outside. Much to the excitement of the children and families habituating around Finsbury Park.
We managed one parade this year for the Kingswood Estate, it was great to see people on the parade route again, with families appearing from houses to peer ecstatically through windows. We teamed up twice with samba and Carnival group ‘Pumpkin Jigsaw’, collaborating with dancers Mel Adams and Naira. This ensured we built a fun day of Brazilian themed events called ‘Amigos Do Verão’.
Impact of 2020….
The uncertainty generated by last year has made it incredibly difficult to plan events. To bring this sense of magic in the way we envisage has become ever-more complexed. It is important to consider and engage with shared artistic experiences in any safe capacity. Collectivity reminds us of the attainable sense of joy and community, more intensely than ever before.
2020 has taken a toll on everyone. ‘Pumpkin Jigsaw’ attempted to survive by maintaining their delivery of samba inspired “magic”. Through colour, sound and localised collaboration, at the same time as negotiating movements within the public health crisis. The first ‘lockdown’ favoured us with two new projects.
Firstly, Homebeats, a four-part video series aimed at exploring and having carnival fun at home alone or with other people. I believe when you are home alone it is hard to find ways to see objects and day to day life in another light. With help provided by ‘Sound Connections’ we formed a video series- aimed at delivering carnival magic without requiring things people did not already own. By asking participants “How could you bring carnival magic into your home and bring experiences of carnival through household object?” & “Who is your community when you’re indoors?” ‘Pumpkin Jigsaws’ work as a band, still desires to deliver an album, in the mean-time, our evenings are spent learning musical skills, making music on our computers at home and developing individual skills.
Although it is a struggle to know whether music, performance arts and touring will survive in the same capacity from the knockout of both Covid-19 and new Brexit regulations. It is also important to consider and engage with shared artistic experiences in any safe capacity. Collectivity reminds us of the attainable sense of joy and community, more intensely than ever before.
In the WLWG Feature we asked Pinguim ‘What would their ideal outcome be for community artists in light of the public health crisis impact on the arts?’. Below were his suggestions, hopes and visions moving forward into the new year:
- Find a collectively invested space to work and provide workshops to our communities
- Classes still going so we can keep still going!
Bios and Bibliography:
- Pumpkin Jigsaw (2021) https://pumpkinjigsaw.com/
Contact Xi-Mali via the ‘Contact us :] ‘ section in our menu
- Contact Pinguim here (2021) ‘Angolerios Dol Mar London’ https://www.facebook.com/LondonADM/
Boothby J. (et al.) (2014) “Shared Experiences Are Amplified in Psychological Science” 14, Vol. 25 (12) 2209–2216. Sage.