Metamorphosis explores the Carnival tradition of whole body painting as an empowering, transformative and life changing experience. This groundbreaking project will provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for women and artists to tell their stories through the unique art form, creating beautiful, thought provoking imagery.

Cabasa will change the lives of peri and post natal women experiencing feelings of anxiety and isolation through this artist led outreach and engagement project. An exciting team of emerging and established artists will be trained by high profile industry leaders, learning the incredible power of art as a catalyst for positive change.

“This project has potential to help women struggling with negative body image. I whole heartedly support the project and would be happy to refer patients who might be interested in taking part” Dr Aisha Malik (MbChb, BSc, MRCGP). Tameside GP.

More about this project soon. If you would like to be involved email: [email protected]



Global Grooves‘s Project Phoenix, a fire recovery project commission after a storage mill burned down containing previous costumes and structures we helped create. We project managed the making of costumes (made with handmade fabrics) and large puppets for Global Grooves over a 2 year period.

Costumes and puppets by Global Grooves and Cabasa Carnival Arts
Lead Costume Artists and Makers – Emily Wood, Iola Weir, Tony Mason, Mel Roberts.


Mark Waugh


  • SOM

    We released Som (the Spirit of Manchester) into the world for Manchester Day 2019 produced by Walk the Plank as the lead image. We worked tirelessly with a team of incredible artists and volunteers to produce this piece of work. Representing the industries of old with modern day Manchester and its beautiful melting pot of cultures and influences, all painted onto flowing 10m pieces of silk, all hand painted, all hand made.


Design & Concept – Cabasa Carnival Arts, Iola Weir & Candida Boyes

Artistic Director – Emily Wood

Head design and sculpture by the queen of faces AKA Melanie Roberts
Mechanics and movement by the genius that is Ian Broscomb
Beautiful face decoration designed by Lizzie Rigby
Silks & Fabric – Emily Wood

Team of Amazing Artists:

Abbie Boughton
Becky Bryson
Dan Jones
Eleanor Kalaher
Ellesse Young
Fiona Bunting
Gordon Banks
Helen Findlay
Jon Mambo
Julia Walker
Lauren Moore
Lucinda Potter
Rachel Elaine

Huge thanks go to Global Grooves – Manchester for The Vale and their additional support on the day.

Photo by Mark Waugh & Christian Dyson


The Tempest (Global Grooves 2016) – in the 400th anniversary year since Shakespeare’s death, this Carnival drew influence from themes of conflict, transformation and harmony from his final play “The Tempest”, retold through global Carnival traditions.

Creating Carnival is an artists development programme for new Carnival practitioners designed to offer a complete pathway into the profession. The 2016 programme identified 6 established Carnival artists on the cusp of regional and national profile, and helped to move them to the next stage in their carnival careers.

Carnival Lead Artists Team:
Adriana Rosso – Guest Jab Choreographer
Bridget Withycombe-Wharton – Lead Choreographer
Emily Wood – Lead Visual Artists
Helen Curtis– Lead Music Artist
Kate Rothery – Producer
Rowan Taylor – Lead Visual Artists

Web links:

Global Grooves –
Creating Carnival –
Future Leaders –

Sponsors and Funders:
Arts Council England
Bangdrum CIC
British Airways
Contemporânea Percussion

Photo credits: Christian Dyson

Desi Carnival



    The Desi Carnival (2017) was produced by Global Grooves, Commissioned by Official Manchester Mega Mela and funded through Grants for the Arts (Arts Council England).




Lead Artists:

Adriana Rosso – Lead Choreographer
Emily Wood – Lead Costume Artist
Hannah Jones – Print Designer
Jack Tinker – Musical Director
Kate Rothery – Elephant Dresser
Leon Patel – Artistic Director
Manuela Benini – Zamana Choreographer
Marium Mohammed – Lead Costume Artist
Melanie Roberts – headdress Designer
Mike Green – Lead Elephant Designer
Natalie Lawson – Lead Costume Designer
Rajeev Gupta – Bhangra Choreographer
Rowan Taylor – Burrokeets Dresser
Vicky Richards– Lead Costume Artist


Creative Partners:

Adriana Rosso Dance – Choreography – Bhangra Dance
Cabasa Carnival Arts – Costume
Dream Engine – Heliosphere
Handmade Samba (Handmade Parade) – Percussion
Mambo Amp – Parade Amplification
Manchester School of Samba – Percussion
Nutkhut – Zamana
Orixa Bloco – Percussion
Sambafriq – Percussion
The Vale – Studio and Rehearsal Venue


Journey of the Orixás

This project was a Cabasa Carnival Arts and Global Grooves collaboration it aditions, values and cultures produced as a result of migrant communities across the world learning to settle together and share their experiences.

‘Journey of the Orixas’ premiered at Manchester Day Parade on Sun 2nd June 2013 and the second performance took place at Big Drum Day, Chorley, on Sun 4th August 2013. Taking its inspiration from the deities of the Candomblé tradition, the project was a celebration of the positive aspects of cultural migration. It paid homage and respect to the ancient and beautiful traditions of our African ancestors and to the many taken from their homelands as slaves to the new world.

Working from this brief, Cabasa created bespoke, individualised, colourful costume and props for 10 dancers representing different Orixas, and over 80 costumes for performers & volunteers including: drummers, singers and large-scale puppet operators.

As the relationship between Cabasa and Global Grooves has developed, new techniques have been employed which include large scale batik work, head dress making and silk creations for the presentation. Also featured were two large scale 20ft puppets representing two particular Orixas which were operated by a team of fantastic volunteers. The team received specialist training on how to operate these large kinetic structures with a view to providing further free training in aerial/back pack operation; ensuring investment in future projects.

Cabasa Carnival Arts worked with over 60 passionate and skilled volunteers from the community and without them, this high-quality presentation would not have been possible.