Sunday Blazers football club brings the sound of Colombia to Wellington

The Sunday Blazers Football club's team band, Cumbia Blazera, are fundraising to go to Colombia next April on a football ...
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The Sunday Blazers Football club's team band, Cumbia Blazera, are fundraising to go to Colombia next April on a football and cultural exchange. From left: Leandro Patricio Gomez, Jack Shadbolt and Mike Kingston.

A combined love of music and the beautiful game has inspired a Wellington football club to visit Colombia.

The Sunday Blazers Football and Culture Club has played football in the Wellington Sunday League since 2001, but in its spare time it plays cumbia music.

James Coyle, the club president, and member of the club band, Cumbia Blazera, describes cumbia as "fast-paced dance music", popular in South America.

"Cumbia is like the music of the working class, music of the people. It really took South America by storm in the 70s and 80s."

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These combined passions have culminated in a plan for a football and cultural exchange to Colombia in April next year.

To fundraise the club is hosting a Dia de Los Muertos, known in English as Day of the Dead, party and concert at San Fran tomorrow.

This is a traditional Mexican holiday also celebrated in Colombia and other parts of Latin America.

The club has South American members, and a number of others had travelled around the area, Coyle says.

The idea is to establish both football and cultural ties with South America.

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"The central idea is around football. The plan is to play football and to engage the communities that we're playing football against and play a concert with that community."

South America is known for its incredible passion for the sport, he says.

"I think there's an incredible love of football in South America ... Having South American members in our team has really lifted our performance. I think it's about the passion, the absolute love for the game."

Club and band member Michael Kingston says Colombia was a unanimous choice, because it was the home of Cumbia and "seemed like more of an adventure".

The band always fields a team, or is it that the team always fields a band?

Kingston says at least 11 players are involved at a time, with things evolving naturally over the past four years.

"[The team] has always had a lot of musicians in it.

"We picked up more Latinos along the way, so the two things just came together. It all happened quite organically."

Coyle says this marks an exciting new chapter for the club, which still has the majority of its original members.

"It's a club that's become an institution out of a bunch of friends and through football and music, so it's the start of something."

The details:

* The Sunday Blazers Football and Culture Club Day of the Dead fundraiser is on November 4 at San Fran, Cuba St; doors open at 8pm.

* The gig, featuring Bella Cajon, Cumbia Bros and the Blazers team band Cumbia Blazera, starts at 9pm.

* Tickets from undertheradar.co.nz, or $15 on the door.

 - Stuff

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