THE Cowley Road Carnival might still be a few months away, but the samba beat is already starting to pulse through East Oxford.

The Illustrious Sambistas were one of the acts performing at a fundraiser for the carnival at the Ultimate Picture Palace in Jeune Street.

It was followed by a screening of the 1958 Rio Carnival classic, Black Orpheus, on a 35mm projector.

South Oxford resident Peter Williams, a singer in The Illustrious Sambistas, said: “We just happen to be a band which plays Brazilian carnival music so when they were trying to do something for the carnival we were the obvious band.

“The carnival is tremendously important. It is the focus for so much creativity.”

This year, bands will be taking over the city street on July 6.