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 the bateria, please contact samba school director, Lee Clippard.

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 Boot Camp

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, though some experience with drumming is preferred. We provide drums. All new players start on caixa (snare) or surdo (bass drum).

After the classes, all newbies are encouraged to begin attending regular rehearsals. See below for information about "leveling up" into the performance groups.

Joining the Bateria “Out of Season”

If you are interested in joining the 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 Lee Clippard.

Part of the Austin Samba bateria in costumes for "Orfeu."

Part of the Austin Samba bateria in costumes for "Orfeu."

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 people that have completed the new member samba boot camp or have had an intake evaluation (see above). 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 major gigs including Brazil Day, Mardi Gras, HONK!TX, Zilker Hillside Theatre and more. Section leaders and directors determine who becomes part of the Performance Bateria based on three main criteria: skill level, knowledge of the material, and commitment to the school (regular attendance, etc.).

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

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CRiteria for joining Performance Bateria

Beginner boot camps prepare students to become a member of the bateria. Anytime after the beginner classes, new students of samba interesting in joining the Performance Bateria must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the following:

  • The basic samba ride 
  • 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)