Batalá Houston is a local community-based percussion group that is part of a worldwide percussive movement called Batalá Mundo. Batalá plays the energetic and contagious Afro-Brasilian genre of Samba Reggae, which comes from Bahia, a state in northeastern Brasil.
The Houston group is made up of people of all walks of life from diverse backgrounds who come together to respectfully learn about and engage with Samba Reggae and its existence as a cultural legacy of Afro-Brasilian people from Bahia, Brasil. Band members do so by individually and collectively committing to developing their craft as Batalá drummers and sharing it with others in the community with enthusiasm and humility. The vision is to cultivate vibrancy and inclusion through cultural exchange and enrichment via community, culture and music.
As a community-based Samba Reggae percussion band, our membership is open to people of all cultural backgrounds, including racial and ethnic cultural identities, gender and sexual identities and expressions, faith and spiritual identities, disabilities, immigration status, and beyond. Anyone is welcome to join!
No previous musical, dance, or performance experience is necessary, so beginners are encouraged to join. Likewise, experienced and proficient drummers/percussionists and dancers are also encouraged to join. Batalá is a mixed-level group composed of a continuum of drummers from true novices to proficient and professional ones - there is room for everyone!
You will be challenged by learning in a welcoming and supportive environment, experience the thrill of drumming and dancing in unison with fellow drummers, and become a part of an international percussion group with opportunities to rehearse and perform with other Batalá groups all over the world.
Come drum with us!
Luana Da Silva is a mixed-lineage Brasilian multidisciplinary artist and performer, social worker and consultant, cultural worker, and birth worker based in Houston. They have been involved in Batalá since 2007 when living in Washington DC, and founded the Houston band in January 2013 after moving to Texas in the fall of 2010.
Since being in Houston, Luana has been continuously involved in performing, teaching, and organising cultural events, such as the Houston Brasilian Festival (2011/12/13/14), Houston Afro-Latin Dance Fest (2016/17/19), Houston AfriFEST (2017/18/19/22), KUUMBA (2019), Bumba Meu Boi (2020) and more.
While Luana has sung, danced, and written and directed theatrical performances in Houston, her most significant and longstanding contribution to the artistic fabric of the community has been through Batalá.
As Diretora (which implies both executive and artistic directorship), Luana has dedicated 10 years of their life, on a volunteer basis, to teaching and sharing about Samba Reggae and Bahian culture more broadly, with the blessing and guidance of her elder, Batalá creator Mestre Giba Goncalves. Luana’s role in the band is of visioning, strategizing, mobilising and operationalizing the continued growth of the group both internally and externally as it engages in the community via performances and workshops that are culturally-rooted and attuned.
Luana Da Silva [they/she]
Founder, Artistic Director and Conductor of Batalá Houston
Regência Team | Musical Leadership
Assistant Director of Instruments and Conductor
Luana Da Silva
Founder, Artistic Executive Director and Conductor
Assistant Musical Director
Monique Hanako Rose
Assistant Director of Choreography and Conductor
Batalá Mundo | Encontro
Batalá Mundo is the name used to refer to the global community of Batalá groups across continents: North and South America, The Caribbean, Africa, Australia, and Europe. It is not a formal organization, such as a franchise, but instead a collective of independently-operated and uniquely-structured community-based percussion bands in different cities, countries, and continents.
Yearly, the Batalá Mundo community comes together in several encontros (the Portuguese word for “gathering”) to attend percussion and movement workshops hosted by the host band, and participate in public events in that community. In the Batalá world, encontros are conferences that bring an opportunity to gather cross-culturally and participate in events that grow musicality for each band member and provide opportunities for the public to experience the vibrance of Samba Reggae through large performances.
Giba Gonçalves was born in Salvador da Bahia, Brasil, and began his career as a dancer and percussionist in several groups, such as Ilê Aiyê, Olodum, Muzenza and Tupi Nagô. He joined the band KAOMA and toured the world for two years before performing at concerts around Europe with a variety of other bands.
In 1997, Giba moved to Paris where he became leader of Tambourlode, and also founded Batalá, a batucada style band playing samba-reggae with more than 80 percussionists. Giba composes all the music for Batalá, which has since grown around the world to almost 47 bands and over 1500 drummers worldwide.
Giba and Luana have a 14-year relationship through Batalá, in which he has shared significant cultural and life teachings with her as her Mestre, elder and friend.