Batalá
Philadelphia

Batalá Philadelphia is a non-profit Samba Reggae percussion band founded in 2017. We are part of the Batalá Mundo global arts project. Our mission is to enrich and inspire our communities by providing an Afro-Brazillian musical and cultural experience through arts education and live performances. Our distinct form of musical expression and cultural heritage from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, is open to all individuals regardless of race, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or background.

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About

Batalá Philadelphia is an all-percussive, community band that plays Samba Reggae music from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. We perform at local events like parades, festivals, and parties; spreading joy through the exuberant celebration of cultural diversity and the unifying power of music. As part of the larger Batalá Mundo global arts project, we also play with other Batalá bands in the U.S. and around the world. Our distinctive sound provides energy and the urge to dance like nothing else. Open to all who would like to join, being a member of Batalá means exposure to unique opportunities to learn how to drum, perform, travel locally and internationally, experience other cultures, and collaborate with others. The distinctive drums, costumes, and music that all the Batalá bands share come directly from Salvador da Bahia.

SURDO 1 (aka FUNDO 1) One of two bass drums in the band, the Surdo 1 is the largest and deepest drum Batalá plays. Together with the Surdo 2, the Surdo 1 plays the heartbeat rhythm within the Samba Reggae we play. The Surdo 1 helps set the pace for the band, and maintains a clear and constant rhythm.
SURDO 2 (aka FUNDO 2) The second of Batala’s two bass drums, the Surdo 2 is slightly smaller than the Surdo 1 and is pitched higher. It also plays the heartbeat rhythm within Samba Reggae, alternating beats with the Surdo 1. The Surdo 2 helps set the pace for the band, and maintains a clear and constant rhythm.
DOBRA (aka FUNDO 3) The Dobra is smaller in diameter than either of the surdos. It plays a mid-range tone and hits on the syncopated rhythm. The Dobra interacts with the Surdos and Repis to create some of Batala’s signature rhythms. These drums often lead the band's choreography.
REPI (aka REPINIQUE) The Repi is a small, high-pitched drum played with flexible plastic sticks. The repi is responsible for Batala’s fastest and most complex rhythms.
CAIXA (aka SNARE) The Caixa is a traditinal snare drum worn low around the waist. Referred to as the engine of the band, the Caixa line maintains a constant rhythm beneath all of the other drums, driving the band's energy.

Batalá Mundo was founded in 1997 by Mestre Giba Gonçalves, a revered musician and artist from Bahia, while living in Paris. The second Batalá band opened shortly after and the phenomenon has since spread to include over 40 bands in 15+ countries, with a worldwide membership of over 1,200 drummers. Most of the bands are co-ed while four of them have a membership base of women-only; New York, Washington D.C., Brasilia, and Mendoza. Please visit the Batalá music wiki page to learn more!

Batalá groups around the world: Image source: Batalá Durham

"Batalá Philadelphia’s mission is to enrich and inspire our communities by providing an Afro-Brazillian musical and cultural experience. We accomplish this goal through arts education and live performances. Our distinct form of musical expression and cultural heritage from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil is open to all individuals regardless of experience or background."

Batalá Mundo was founded to spread Afro-Brazilian culture and music to communities across the world. Central to Batalá Mundo’s core is the belief that music is universal and that anyone can learn to play, given the chance. As part of Batalá Mundo, Batalá Philadelphia strives to carry out the goals of our global organization and sister bands. We believe that music is inspirational. It enriches our lives and communities through arts education, performance, inclusiveness, and excitement.

Batalá Philadelphia is part of a rich, collaborative, and diverse international musical collective. Through accepting and celebrating the differences and diversity within our Mundo community, we truly embody the spirit and intention of Batala.

Batalá Philadelphia recognizes that we are based in one of the most historic cities in the United States. By accepting and celebrating the character and history of Philadelphia, we aim to create an open community in which cultural exchange, ongoing learning, and diversity are valued as core principles.

To this end, Batalá Philadelphia borrows heavily from Philadelphia’s strong Quaker tradition in adopting a set of band and community standards based on trust, concern, respect, and personal accountability.

For our diverse community to prosper, we embrace our differences and are mindful of our varied perspectives and backgrounds. Members strive to seek mutual understanding by means of respectful communication.

We uphold the Batalá Philadelphia community standards by engaging with values upon which our community depends: mutual trust, concern, and respect for oneself, one another and the community. We are one band, one community, one family, and we are responsible to ourselves and to each other. We teach and learn from one another, we are not afraid to ask for or offer help, and we value inclusion and kindness.

Sustain our mission

Book us for your next event! Batala's infectious beats bring incredible energy and the urge to dance to community gatherings, night clubs, student events, corporate meetings, parades, marathons and private parties.

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