In February 2018, Èkó Samba were delighted to host UK samba legend, Joe Hanson for 10 days. This was an incredible experience for everybody involved, and has had a profound lasting impact on the children and young people of Èkó Samba Community.

Watch our 30 minute documentary on Joe’s visit to Lagos!

Joe Hanson has been playing, teaching, directing and performing samba across the UK, Europe and around the world for almost 30 years. Joe is also one of the founders of Bloco X  – a super samba bateria comprising of some of the best players throughout Europe, that means annually.

Èkó Samba is especially connected to Joe, as he is our founding father and Musical Director, Seyi Ajeigbe’s samba mentor. As such, it was a huge priveledge to have Joe join us in Lagos for 10 days, to impart wisdom, improve skills and even more significantly, to bond with our young aspiring musicians.

During his visit, Joe spent time with different section of our bateria, assessing them and then working closely with them to improve their technique. He worked with the beginners group, as well as the tamborim section, the repique section, the agogos (bells) and the caixas. Joe also taught the main bateria some new drum calls and breaks, some which he has developed himself. Joe’s unique insight into the more intricate layers of Brazilian samba and his ability to communicate this to our young musicians was invaluable.

If that wasn’t enough, Joe also has a knack for fixing and building things and so he worked closely with our instrument team, headed up by one of our Assistant Musical Directors, Emmanuel. Joe taught Emmanuel and his team some new ways to repair the drums as well as opened up their minds to new ways of building drums from scratch.

Joe blended with such ease into Lagos life and we had him hopping on and off motorbike taxis and pounding yam in no time. It was also incredibly important for our young drummers to connect with such a prominent sambista on a personal level. They grew leaps and bounds. We have noticed an increase in confidence and self esteem in a number of our young members following their time conversing with and learning from Joe. The legacy of Joe’s visit is very much visible in our day-to-day activities and exchanges and we are sure the impact will be long lasting.

To view the full collection of photos from Joe’s visit to Lagos please click here.

Joe shared his thoughts and impressions of Èkó Samba Community:

My first encounter with Èkó Samba… wow! It took me straight back to the first time I ever saw a Samba Bateria playing in Rio de Janeiro.

Since then I’ve played in many different baterias in Rio Carnival and in many different countries but nothing had taken me back to that first magical experience until I walked into my first Èkó Samba rehearsal. The kids were just so in it, so fluid, fluent, engaged, natural, physical, raw, pure.

And yet they haven’t grown up listening to, seeing, witnessing this music. It surprised me so much to see just how strong a connection exists between these two cultures separated by so many influences, miles and years of history; but seeing Èkó Samba playing was like seeing samba coming home. I saw two boys aged about 9 or 10 playing repique and improvising like nothing I can compare to except the best of the best from Rio – and even then they make the Brazilians look like they’re taking it far too seriously. And these boys have only been playing for a few years!

I feel so proud that my samba journey has had some influence on this project and I wish that it may flourish for many, many years to come.”


Joe pictured with the bateria after a great rehearsal.