The Kinetika Bloco is a marching band with cheerful young brass and woodwind players, drummers, steel pan and dancers all wearing costume. We play music from the UK, Caribbean, Brazil, Africa and New Orleans. Each year, Kinetika Bloco hold two summer schools, you could say it’s almost a summer camp if you must. One of them is junior summer school which is for children aged 8-13. And the other one is senior summer school which is for young adults aged 14-25.  

Check this out, I’ve been jamming with music since I was a little 7-year-old. Started off with percussion, rocking the drum kit, djembe, and vibraphone. Then I hopped on the steel pans in Year 4, with Kishan Shorter as my wicked teacher. Ended up joining Kinetika, where I started in the drum squad at 10, but then moved on to the Steel pan section not too long after. It was also about improving my performance and social skills, you know? At 11, I joined the Guildhall Young Artists and tried my hand at piano, but it didn’t click with my tutor, so I dropped it. Then I decided to go brass and picked up the euphonium. And guess what? Been playing ever since. You wouldn’t believe that when I went to secondary school Kishan was the teacher there too, so I kept rocking the pans at Kinetika Bloco and school.

This summer, I got the incredible chance and was truly honoured to be given this opportunity by Kishan to play with Mangrove Steel orchestra! We practiced like crazy, six nights a week 6pm to the likes of sometimes early hours for example 1 AM/2 AM, from July 24th to August 25th, for the big panorama on August 26th. It was mind-blowing! 

Where do I even begin? Summer school was absolutely mind-blowing! Being a leader in it was a good experience for me. From day one the atmosphere was vibrant and I could feel the energy running through my body. 

The days were packed with non-stop fun and creativity. We danced, we played music and we had a blast. The drive of Drum Squad, the potency of the brass section and the oh so sweet sound of the steel pan had everyone grooving.  

But it wasn’t just about the music and dance. It was about the connections we made. We are like a big, diverse family, each bringing their unique talents and personalities to the mix. We laughed and supported each other. It was truly great to see the growth and development of everyone involved. 

As a leader, I felt a sense of responsibility and someone to who the rest of the participants could come and speak to freely. Guiding and inspiring others to discover their own creative potential was great. Watching their faces light up with excitement and seeing their confidence increase was the most rewarding feeling. It was a reminder about how music and dance can bring people together as uplift spirits.  

The memories created, the friendships forged, skills sharpened and the pure joy experienced will stay with me for a lifetime. Can’t wait for next year’s summer school!!! 

Oliver, Bloco Young Leader