Founded in 2001 by Paulo Garcia, a visiting Brazilian student, Batala Portsmouth has entertained many events over twenty years all over the south of England and currently has a membership of 80 dedicated and talented drummers.
Rehearsing in our home city of Portsmouth, we have performed in a wide range of events, such as: Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant, the Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival, Victorious Festival, Goodwood Members' Meetings, Boomtown Festival, The Great South Run and many, many more!
The drums, costumes and equipment we used are all made in Salvador, Brazil. Each drum has a unique function that makes up the unique samba-reggae sound.
Batala is a form of Samba drum music which originates in Salvador de Bahia in North Eastern Brazil. Batala was formed by Giba Gonçalves in Paris in 1997.
Giba is the maestro of the Batala sound, which he composed after the style of his home town Salvador, in Brazil. The music has its roots in African traditional music which found its way to Brazil and has been incorporated in to Brazilian culture since.
Using this influence, Giba formed a 60-piece drumming band, called it Batala, and encouraged anyone with an interest in his music to form their own Batala group under his name. There are now at least twenty six groups across Europe alone playing the same funky rhythms. Samba-reggae compositions with noted African influences beaten out on four different types of drum. The result is a raw, hypnotic combination of emotion, beats and rhythm.
Batala Portsmouth are part of a Grupo Batala, a global drumming family that has 45 bands in 16 countries and has over 1200 members worldwide.
Starting in Paris, Batala quickly spread to other cities throughout Europe and the UK. Batala Portsmouth was the first band to be created outside of France.
Now, there are bands in every corner of the globe from London and Bristol to Mexico City and Badajoz.
Click any of their logos below to explore our sister band's sites:
“...local samba/reggae band Batala Portsmouth got the party going at the back of the Common Stage ground, with the most incredible choreographed drumming which really had to be seen, and heard, to be believed. They were at the festival all weekend, so the crowd had plenty of time to catch them and their infectious rhythms which were impossible not to move to.” - Victorious Festival 2022 review - In Common
"Outstanding drum band down at the harbour this afternoon."
"It was great to see you on Saturday in Folkestone, you were fantastic as you always are. The drums really give the children a good rhythm to walk and jig along the road to and local people love the carnival." - Lucinda
"I saw you yesterday at the Folkestone Charivari and was blown away. Amazing drumming, fantastic rhythms, tremendous verve and an all-round great vibe - I defy anyone to stand still." - Bob
"May I just congratulate the Batala Band who performed on The Leas at Folkestone today. We thought they were absolutely brilliant. Please come to Folkestone again!" - Sarah
"I have never heard anything so captivating, it was brilliant, I loved the beat, rhythm, and atmosphere, the volume was fantastic and I was drumming with you to the beat in my mind and still have it in my head!!!" - Paul
"Just watched most of your performance leading the Carnival Procession at Southsea today - fabulous! Love the music, and the costumes, and *well* impressed with the stamina! You must have been playing for nearly two hours today, with only a 10-minute break in the middle - stunning stuff." - Nigel
"All in all it was a fantastic day and many people commented on how amazing you guys are." - James
"Batala, are not only brilliant, but so so talented as well. From the first moment they played, there was an incredible high from everyone that was at the event. People started to come from the beach, just to see what was going on... that moment for us at the Alverbank House Hotel, was a moment to relish."
"I watched your gig in Eastleigh at the weekend and thought it was awesome– absolutely fantastic." - Alexander
"I had many complimentary comments about your performance, everyone seemed to really enjoy Batala." - Hedge End Carnival Committee
"Your support at the Southampton Mile was invaluable and greatly appreciated. The atmosphere on the day was amazing and we couldn’t have done it without you!" - Sport Relief.
"A fantastic session. The band was well received by all and the public impressed. Thankyou." - Winchester District Scout Chairman.
"If I had dropped dead and died in Fareham High St infront of you I would have been a happy man.!!" - OGV
Since the creation of Batala, Giba has recorded seven studio albums. Some are available to stream and download.
Recorded in 2001 at IRCAM studios in Paris. This was Batala's first album, accompanied, in some tracks, by Bagad Melinerion bagpipes.
Recorded in 2008 in Salvador de Bahia.
This album featured arrangements with the Brazillian composer, Geronimo Santana .
Raça Humana (2010)
Recorded in 2010 in Salvador de Bahia.
This albums was dedicated to Neguinho do Samba, the creator of Samba Reggae.
15 Years (2012)
Recorded in 2012 in Salvador de Bahia.
Recorded in 2014 in Salvador de Bahia.
This album was dedicated to the memory of Angus Sutherland.
This album also featured musical arrangements by Geronimo Santana and Ito Bispo.
Feito em Casa (2015)
Recorded in 2015 in Salvador de Bahia.
Os Guris (2018)
Recorded in 2018 in Salvador de Bahia.