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21 July 2012

One Hackney Festival parade pulsates to the music

THE streets teemed with colour, creativity, rhythm and bass for One Hackney Festival parade on Saturday, 21 July – ahead of the arrival of the Olympic torch.

Carnival groups from the borough and Rio – the next Olympic host city – danced their way along the 2.8 mile route from Shoreditch to Stoke Newington, via Hoxton and Dalston, alongside 15 spectacular floats.

Brazilian batucadas (drums) set the pace for the 1,500 performers taking part in the largest parade the borough has ever seen.

As carnival groups waited in line at the start of the parade, the atmosphere was electric. Ladies with large feather headdresses shimmied to the music, while old and young alike moved their feet to the addictive rhythm.

Arinola Oladejo, a support member for Peter Bedford Housing Association Group, said: “Today is about celebrating Hackney and the Olympics. It’s about getting many different groups involved and supporting diversity.”

Pedro Quental, a singer from Rio, added: “I’m excited to be in Hackney – it’s my first time in England. There’s a lot of culture here and I think this festival will have a very good response.”

The parade created six ‘soundscapes’ to tell the story of Hackney, with music ranging from electro and hip-hop to afrobeat and samba.

Work on the festival started in December with a visit to Rio for the two creative producers, Keith Khan and Kentake Chinyelu-Hope.

Kentake said: “Rio showed us how to engage people in different ways and we tried to mirror that. Hackney now has the model for a sustainable and inclusive event.”

The parade featured some of Hackney’s longest running carnival groups, including Beeraahaar Sweet Combination, while carnival newcomers Bamboch Allstars have only been going for a year and feature professional and amateur dancers of all ages.

Dance teacher, Sheba Montserrat, from Clapton said: “This shows the appeal of Hackney and how we can take things to the next level. There is so much roots, culture and diversity here.”

There was also representation from Hackney’s Vietnamese, Turkish, African and Asian community groups.

Youngsters from across the borough’s primary schools also danced alongside the community float, proudly displaying carnival costumes, which they had designed.

Meanwhile, residents lined the streets to cheer the parade on. Jane King and Tom Carter, from De Beauvoir, said: “We thought it was absolutely amazing and we’re proud to live in Hackney. Events like this bring people together as they celebrate the cultural diversity of this area.”

Shoreditch resident, Neville Ramchaitar, added: “When the parade gets going, it’s like second nature. Give me good rhythmic music, preferably steel band, and it just evokes something in you. It doesn’t matter who is looking at you, you just want to dance.”

View photos from the Parade below:

Local carnival groups worked with artists from Rio for the colourful parade

Local carnival groups worked with artists from Rio for the colourful parade

Local carnival groups worked with artists from Rio for the colourful parade The One Hackney Festival parade headed the arrival of the Olympic torch The parade moved to the soundtrack of the diverse communities in Hackney Revellers get into the spirit of the One Hackney Festival parade

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