Bateria (Samba Band)

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The bateria (percussion group or samba band) of Unidos do Ritmo is focused on playing samba batucada, the thundering backbone of Brazilian carnival & a global musical phenomenon.  There are many musical influences in the bateria show ranging from samba’s roots to funk, hip-hop, reggae, taiko and drum ‘n bass. However – the loud, powerful sound of modern urban samba is our core and driving force.

Playing in a bateria section is about individual and collective effort and achievement.  Each instrument brings musical context, support and inspiration to the others, and all are essential to create that big, full-range bateria sound. Relying on each other and becoming a cohesive whole, drummers and dancers are Unidos em Ritmo

Does your madrinha play the tam? Ben Farman Photography all rights reserved

The world’s many kinds of distinct baterias and samba bands are part of a creative living tradition which changes and evolves. They have many ancestors and close cousins in Brazil and around the globe, but contemporary Brazilian instruments have evolved differently. The Alfaia bass drums of a Maracatu group (see below) are similar to African and European drums of the distant past, rope-tuned with calfskin heads and almost identical to the drums of Portugal and West Africa. These are also the roots of the Surdos of samba reggae groups, which are a similar size but have metal shells & rod tuning for more sustain and volume. The typical escola de samba surdo is different again – deeper and often wider for more presence and volume among hundreds of other instruments.

Maracatu Estrela de Norte bateria blessing the drums at Notting Hill Carnival 2015
The bateria of Maracatu Estrela de Norte ‘bless the drums’ before Notting Hill Carnival 2015

Like most ‘Rio style’ groups, Unidos do Ritmo has surdo, caixa, tamborim, repique, chocalho and agogo sections. Available to use at our regular samba workshops in Leeds, all offer a player years of exploration, and some have a gentler learning curve. Click the instrument links above to find out more.

Other bateria instruments include the cuica, pandeiro, atabaque, reco-reco, timbal, and frigideira… and while they are not percussion instruments, the Cavaquinho, guitar etc can provide the chords for the songs or sambas de enredo.If you like to sing samba or play other instruments, get in touch or come and say hello – we’d love to have you along for the ride or just the occasional show.


London based bateria b-loco playing samba in 2005
b-loco rehearse on Clapham Common, london 2005

Contact Leeds Samba here