Novi Sad's Sambansa band rehearsing
By Paul Weston and Marcus Patterson
The discovery that Norwich's twin-town of Novi Sad has the only samba band in the Balkans prompted the co-leaders of the Norwich Samba band to take a trip to Serbia. They're now hoping to bring Sambansa to Norwich in a twinning exchange.
Paul Weston and Marcus Patterson are the co-leaders of Norwich Samba, a vibrant samba band that is seen performing regularly at carnivals, events and street festival throughout Norfolk.
In August 2007, Paul and Marcus went to Norwich's Serbian twin-town of Novi Sad to meet Sambansa, the first and only Samba band in the whole of the Balkan region.
"Novi Sad and Norwich are twin cities. They haven't met any other Samba bands so we've come over here to make contact, to talk about Samba and to talk about hopefully doing an exchange visit," said Paul.
Why an exchange?
"I wanted to set up a twin town exchange because I was aware of the differences between Eastern Europe and England and the perceptions they have of each other," he said.
"But what's actually changed while I'm here - what I've realised - is how much we have in common, and how similar Norwich and Novi Sad are.
"[Like Novi Sad] Norwich has got big paved area with shops in, it's got a river, it's got a cathedral, it's got a town hall with a square outside.
"It's got the same suburbs, it's got a vibrant arts scene, and it's got a bigger festival than Norwich. And everyone's really, really friendly.
The leader of the Sambansa band also welcomed the twinning opportunity.
"We are having a good time with our friends from Norwich Samba. The guys came to visit us and to give us support, so we appreciate it," said Istvan Cik.
last updated: 19/09/07
Have Your Say
Do you think the Samba band exchange would be a good idea for Norwich? For both towns?
Andy Lane, from Norwich living in Novi Sad