When I first heard we were going to be playing with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), I was esctatic! It has always been a dream of mine to perform on the MPO stage and I got to do it with my fellow capoeristas of Bantus Capoeira Malaysia, under the tutelage of Professor Rafael.

Even though it’s been 3 months since One Night in Brasil, one of MPOs Happy Hour shows; I remember the day as clearly as ever. Bright and early, we were on call for a full day of sound check and rehearsals. The MPO sessionists were a friendly bunch and so chilled out during sound check. As we were only performing two songs with the MPO sessionist, in between sound checks we watched them go through their songs. They had a Japanese singer for a few songs and she sung beautifully. Including a duet with one of our singers. Listening to them really gets you into the smooth samba bossa nova feel. So relaxed and carefree! Knowing I wouldn’t be able to watch them during actual show time, I was glad I got to watch them then.

An hour before showtime, we’re all ready backstage. Stringing up and tuning the berimbaus. Make up for the makulele dancers. Warm up for the capoeira performers. Dressing up for the samba dancers. And butterflies of excitement for me!

Terca e Quinta opened the show with Professor Rafael from Bantus Capoeira Malaysia, Professor Pimbal from EBC Malaysia and Instrutor Iaco from Zungu Capoeira Malaysia (our 3 localized Brazilian instructors) playing the berimbaus. Then the batucada band joined in for Sao Bento, an originally composed piece by Professor Fantasma from EBC Philippines. The song broke in to a capoeira rhythm and an awesome showmanship of capoeira. After a few songs by the MPO, we came back on stage to play Maculele, accompanied by our fierce dancers performing a traditional Brazilian tribal dance, done with machetes.

It was more songs by the MPO. For Assanhado, our three local Brazilians accompanied the sessionists in this happy go lucky tune, which would get you bobbing your head along with the music. This was followed by Samba do Avaio, featuring Darcy Timmerman, the leader of tonight’s show. One of my favourites of was Ela e Carioca, and always ever a crowd pleaser, Mas Que Nada, was delivered in a duet performance by both singers. We watched from backstage on the sound guy’s monitor, wildly and quietly clapping and cheering.
We finally go on again for the final two songs, starting with Festo do Interior, which was a very up tempo piece. For both songs we had two of our best dancers, Rodrigo Milagres who also hails from Brazil, but lives in Malaysia and Farah Bee Dawood from Bantus Capoeira Singapore. With the dancers pumping up the crowd, and us feeding off the energy, we were energized and hyped up. We played our hearts out! Then it was the closing song, Batucada Surgio starting out with the lone atabaque, then the other instruments came in one by one, till Terca e Quinta and the MPO percussionists were swinging together. We ended to a standing ovation!
It was a thrilling experience for me, the whole full day of being backstage, rehearsing with the MPO percussionist, sound check session and finally playing on stage. I absolutely loved it! And I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with anyone but Terca e Quinta.