Batala Philly is part of a larger Batala family, which is an international samba reggae music project based in Salvador de Bahia, in northeastern Brazil.
Batala was created in 1997 by Giba Gonçalves, a Bahian percussionist. Born and raised in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil, Giba was living in Paris when he first had the idea for the band, opened to anyone with an interest in learning the samba-reggae beat.
Composer and musical director, Giba enlisted the help of friends from the bands and from Salvador in order to create the visual identity of the band. The instruments and clothings are all manufactured in Salvador, Bahia, where the band has a social program that gives jobs to many families. From there they are shipped to the bands around the world.
In 2017, that project arrived to Philadelphia, expanding the East Coast bands of Washington DC and New York in the United States. After some restructure and new direction, we reformed as Batala Philly in May 2021 and we are the only Batala approved band in Philadelphia. Today, there are 42 and counting Batala bands around the world, in 15 countries and a worldwide membership of over 1,000 percussionists.
In Batala Philly we have a dynamic and passionate group of community musicians based in Philadelphia but performing all over the world. We are run entirely by volunteers and any proceeds from gigs go back into running the band to pay for things like costumes, drums and rehearsal space.