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Damien Manning

webpage updated: Tue 26 Sep 2017

Born in Belfast, Damien started playing drums at the age of 11, performing traditional Irish music with local groups.

He studied orchestral percussion at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London from the age of 15. At 18, he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with internationally acclaimed performers, professors and conductors.

Damien began a successful career as a freelance percussionist, playing a diverse range of musical styles with many different ensembles all over the UK and abroad - The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The British Rock Symphony Orchestra with Roger Daltrey (USA Tour), The Young Vic Theatre Company, Riverdance, Desford Colliery Brass Band, Neck-Psycho Ceilidh Band, and many other. Damien is still a much sought after percussionist and for the last four years has regularly played the solo percussion part for Disney’s Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, London.

Damien lives in Bedford and has a busy schedule teaching percussion to mainstream and disabled school children. He is involved with the Wider Opportunities government initiative and teaches African drumming and Samba drumming to primary school pupils all over Bedfordshire.

In 1996 Damien took part in a workshop with Olodum when they came to London. This inspired him to set up his own samba group with other music students (not really knowing much about samba but having a lot of fun making noise!). In 2000, whilst on tour with a show in Rio de Janeiro, Damien made a "life changing" visit to the Salgueiro Quadra. On returning to London he wanted to learn pure Rio samba and, inspired by Joe Hanson, took up the Caixa. In 2002, Damien was invited to become a member of the newly formed Paraiso School of Samba. Since then he has been in numerous gigs and shows and has taken part in carnival every year under the direction of Mestre Esteves. Damien believes Paraiso is the heart of real samba in the UK.

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Paraiso School of Samba is a Registered Charity number 1113593 and a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered in England and Wales number 5676918.
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