About the Drum Section (Bateria)

The samba school’s drum section, or bateria, is composed of more than 40 drummers and is modeled after the samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. We primarily play samba, but the rhythms we play are not exclusive to Rio. We also play samba reggae (from Bahia), and throw in our own spice, often playing adaptations of various African, Cuban, New Orleans, funk and Puerto Rican rhythms.

The bateria consists of caixas, surdos, chocalhos, timbals, repeniques, tamborims, and agogôs, and is directed by Tio Jacaré.

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Joining the Bateria

For any questions about joining, please contact samba school director, Tio Jacaré.

Everyone is welcome at the school and we encourage folks to drop by open rehearsals and observe. That said there are particular ways to join the drum section.

New Member Classes

Every spring after the traditional Carnaval season, we offer classes to introduce new players to the basic rhythms and techniques of samba drumming. All skill levels are welcome. We provide drums. All new players start on caixa (snare) or surdo (bass drum).

After the classes, newbies are encouraged to begin attending Parade Bateria rehearsals (see below). Also at this time, interested members may try out for the Show Bateria.

Classes are currently taught by Lee Clippard, assistant director.

Joining the Bateria “Out of Season”

If you are interested in joining the parade bateria “out of season,” i.e., a time other than during the spring beginner classes, you will need to have an intake evaluation before playing with the school.

To schedule an intake evaluation, contact Tio Jacaré. Out-of-season players will still need to try out separately for the Show Bateria.

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bateria levels

The Austin Samba bateria is broken down into three groups: the Parade Bateria, the Performance Bateria and the Grupo Especial.

Parade Bateria
This bateria group is composed of all members of the Austin Samba bateria, and rehearses every Wednesday, generally from 7:30-9:30. Parade Bateria is open to anyone, but members must complete either the new member samba boot camp or have an intake evaluation. Variations in schedule are sometimes necessary.

Performance Bateria 
Members of the Performance Bateria have met certain criteria to become part of that group. The Performance Bateria is composed of more than 40 drummers and performs at gigs such as Brazil Day Austin, World Carnaval and Carnaval Brasileiro. Those interested can become part of the Performance Bateria at any time by going through the evaluation process.

Grupo Especial
This bateria is a much smaller group of the most advanced players that get together to play at events such as corporate parties and weddings, where a much smaller group of drummers is required. Grupo Especial has no set membership, but is pulled together based on skill level, availability and need.

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CRiteria for joining Performance Bateria

Anytime after the beginner classes, new students of samba interesting in joining the Performance Bateria must go through an evaluation process. Players interested in joining the Performance Bateria will need to show proficiency in the following:

  • The samba ride (two handed for caixas)
  • The “two” in/out break
  • Response to the repenique chamada
  • Slow samba: response to the call and play the ride
  • Samba reggae ride
  • Samba afro ride
  • Appropriate choreography (moving in time with your feet while playing)