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What is Samba?


Have you ever been drawn to the rhythms of a Latin American carnival? The traditional Brazilian Rio Carnival encompasses samba drumming schools on an immense scale, and they provide the energetic and lively percussive beat, to which the performers and audience dance along to.

Traditionally samba rhythms evolved from African percussion roots, which over the last century have been transformed into the more recognizable Brazilian percussive style of repetitive and speedy rhythms, (known as Batucada), adopted by most samba percussion groups, (called baterias).

What instruments are available to play in

Old School Samba’s Bateria?


These are the biggest and lowest sounding drums which make up the bass section of the band, and are played with one or two padded beaters. The lowest is the bottom surdo, with the mid surdo being a slightly higher tone: these drums typically set the pulse and tempo of each groove. The top surdo is the highest sounding bass drum and this plays more complex patterns, fills and syncopated rhythms, cutting across the lower pulse beats of the bottom and mid.

Snare / Caixa

This drum has metal wires which give it a bright and crisp sound. Its role in the bateria is to provide cross-rhythms, fullness to the groove and an element of swing. It is played with two wooden sticks.


With drum skins tuned to be ultra tight, this is a very loud drum, played with two plastic or a wooden stick. It is very loud and responsible for call and response phrases, more complex rhythm patterns, elaborating and fills, solos and introducing rhythmic changes to a piece.


A small drum which is held in one hand and hit using a plastic, multi-pronged beater. It gives a very sharp, snappy and high sound, and can be used to play solos and signature phrases that stand out from the rest of the bateria.

Shaker / Chocalho

A very loud metal instrument, which plays an important, repetitive, time-keeping pattern within the ensemble. It keeps and sustains the rhythmic tempo whilst toning the muscles in the upper arms and shoulders!


This usually consists of two differently pitched bells to give variation in tone. The metal bells are struck with a wooden stick and this instrument provides a consistent and distinguishable line amid the groove.

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