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Press Releases

For the latest and hottest pictures & video of us playing at gigs, please check out our Facebook & Instagram accounts - @arcoirissambaband

19th October 2017

Samba band drumming up support to keep girls in school and out of child marriage - with UK Government doubling donations

Full press release available here.

Arco Iris supports award winning international charity Camfed by performing in Cambridge city centre to raise funds for this important cause.

Press release archive

UK samba band says “Thank You Drogheda” for an enjoyable festival

(Drogheda Life News, 14 July 2014)

One of the gig managers of the Cambridge Community Samba band Arco Iris, from Cambridge in the UK, Charlie Nurse, has written to Drogheda Life to express their thanks to the people of Drogheda for their warm reception. He writes:

Dear Sir/Madam, At the end of June Arco Iris, the Cambridge samba band, came to Drogheda to take part in the Drogheda Samba Festival. The band first attended the festival in 2003 and we return every year because of the wonderful hospitality and to renew old friendships.

I would like to thank the people of Drogheda for the friendly welcome which they always give us. The festival is a great meeting place, since it attracts hundreds of people from other bands in Ireland and overseas. Some of your readers will have seen the bands busking in the town centre on Saturday and the spectacular parade through the streets on Sunday afternoon.

This year's festival was especially memorable because it nearly didn't happen after the sponsors withdrew. Fortunately Drogheda Borough Council stepped in with financial support.

On behalf of Arco Iris I wish to thank the council for this and to urge continued support for an event which brings large numbers of visitors to Drogheda and which helps put the town on the map. At Arco Iris we already have the 2015 Drogheda Samba Festival in our diary.

Build up to Strawberry Fair begins with host of events

(Cambridge News, 20 May 2014)

This year’s 40th Strawberry Fair extravaganza is taking place on Saturday, June 7 and the theme, you’ll be pleased to hear, is a Ruby Masquerade Ball. On Sunday 25 May 2014, Strawberry Fair, once again, is taking over The Portland Arms with Strawberry Sunday – a family friendly all-dayer (2pm-2am). Designed to get you in the festival mood, there’ll be live musis, acoustic and open mic sets, the Arco Iris samba band marching from the city centre as well as face-painting, crafts, a promise auction (nope, we don’t know what that entails either), dressing up and a barbecue.

Strawberry Sundae…Brazilian-Style

Sunday, May 25th, Cambridge City Centre and the Portland Arms

Cambridge, UK, 21 May 2014 - Cambridge Community Samba Band Arco Iris, well known for playing some of the hottest and loudest samba rhythms around, will be busking for Strawberry Fair this bank holiday Sunday, May 25th.

The popular drummers will start playing in the market square around noon, performing several short sets en route to, and in front of, the Portland Arms at Mitcham’s Corner, where the 12-hour Strawberry Sundae fundraising extravaganza will kick off at 2 PM.

More information about Strawberry Sundae:

All monies raised by Arco Iris will go directly to the Strawberry Fair Organising Committee, a group of dedicated volunteers who run Cambridge’s legendary free annual 1-day music, arts and entertainment festival on Midsummer Common, which is being held on Saturday, June 7th this year.

"Strawberry Fair is always one of the highlights of our busy band’s gigging calendar," says Arco Iris Committee Chair Asnat Doza. "This unique community event has been going since 1974, and Arco has been part of its history for most of our 21-year existence." The band always plays in the festival’s opening parade, as well as performing at the fair itself.

We can’t wait to see all the lovely people of Cambridge dancing along with us to the Portland Arms to enjoy an extraordinary day of music, BBQs, crafts and an open mic, all in support of a truly unique Cambridge institution,” says Arco Iris Publicity Officer.

About Arco Iris

Arco Iris is Cambridge's only community samba band, playing the very hottest (and loudest!) of Brazilian carnival rhythms. Our performances range from glittering carnival parades and storming club appearances to local charity events.  We have a totally open membership drawn from all sections of the community.

Arco Iris means "rainbow" in Portuguese. We began life in 1993 with a one-off performance of Capoeira and Samba at the Mumford theatre in Cambridge. The following autumn the band got back together to learn more Brazilian and Cuban carnival music. We had a small start up grant from Cambridge City Council, but have been completely self supporting since 1994.

At any one time there are about 60 paid up members and nearly 200 on our mailing list. The membership ranges in age from age 9 to 70 and reflects the population of Cambridge: very multicultural, many students, a few unemployed and a smattering of college lecturers. There are semi-professional musicians and people who have never touched an instrument in their lives, and it isn’t always easy to tell who’s who!

We play Brazilian carnival pieces such as Batucada and Samba Reggae, and a wide variety of other styles, many written by band members. We play about 30 gigs a year and we have been regulars at samba festivals and events in Ireland, Wales and Paris. We are known for creating a wild party atmosphere and getting everyone dancing.

Arco Iris is run by an annually elected committee of members who are responsible for finance, costumes, gig bookings, transport, accommodation, looking after the instruments and training new leaders.

Stretham Feast - what a fun weekend it was!

(Ely News, 20 May 2014)

Bright sunshine shone over Stretham as almost 2,000 people turned out to celebrate its annual feast weekend.

Attractions this year included a fun dog show, mini world cup competition, fairground rides, stalls, hog roast, bar, tug-of-war competition, refreshments and performances by the Ely Military Band, Arco Iris Samba Band and the Jigsaw Dance Company.

Rachel Watts, clerk of Stretham Parish Council, said: “We had an absolutely amazing feast weekend.

“The weather was boiling, the atmosphere was fantastic and we had almost 2,000 people celebrating it with us.”

The feast also raised around £600 for BLESMA - a national charity which supports servicemen and women who have lost limbs and the use of limbs or the loss of eyesight.

Read more:

Arco In the News:  Recent Cambridge City Council Publicity for Arco Iris' support of LGBT Month


Band Praises Cambridge Generosity During Pakistan Appeal

Cambridge, UK, 26 August 2010 - Cambridge Community Samba Band Arco Iris, well known for playing some of the hottest and loudest samba rhythms around, today announced that it raised an amazing £685.73 for Oxfam’s Pakistan floods relief programme during a short city centre busk last Sunday. [Full Release - PDF]

Percussion for Pakistan - Live Samba Performance in Cambridge

Cambridge, UK, 19 August 2010 - Cambridge Community Samba Band Arco Iris, well known for playing some of the hottest and loudest samba rhythms around, will be busking for Oxfam’s Pakistan disaster relief programme this Sunday, August 22nd. A big band of brightly-coloured carnival drummers will play at the corner of Market and Sidney Streets (opposite Next and Monsoon in the town centre) starting at around 12:30 PM. The parade will then head to Great St. Mary’s Church, where a second performance will take place. All monies raised will go directly to Oxfam. [Full Release - PDF]

Drumming up Support for South American Disaster Victims

Cambridge, UK, 16 April 2010 - Cambridge Community Samba Band Arco Iris, well known for playing some of the hottest and loudest samba rhythms around, will be busking for Oxfam’s disaster relief programme in Chile and Brazil this Sunday, April 18th, in Cambridge's market square. [Full Release - PDF]

Huge Busk Generates over £1000 for Haiti

Cambridge, UK, 26 January 2010 - Cambridge Community Samba Band Arco Iris, well known for playing some of the hottest and loudest samba rhythms around, was overwhelmed by the generosity of onlookers as the group busked to raise donations for the Earthquake relief funds of Oxfam and Medecins sans Frontieres on Sunday, January 24th, in Cambridge's market square. The band raised £1,006.76, which will be divided equally between the two charities. [Full Release - PDF]

Samba for Haiti

Cambridge, UK, 21 January 2010 - Cambridge Community Samba Band Arco Iris, well know for playing some of the hottest and loudest samba rhythms around, will be busking for the Haiti Earthquake relief funds of Oxfam and Médecins Sans Frontières this Sunday, January 24th, in Cambridge's market square. [Full Release - PDF]