Batalá Houston is a local percussion group that is part of a worldwide movement that plays the energetic and contagious rhythms of Samba Reggae and Samba Afro, which come from Bahia, a state in northeastern Brasil. Batalá Mundo owes its existence to Giba Gonçalves, a percussionist, composer and choreographer from Salvador. Giba was living in Paris when he first had the idea for the band. Batalá is open to anyone with an interest in learning samba-reggae rhythms. Batalá Houston was founded in 2013.

The Houston group is made up of people of all walks of life who share a deep respect and passion for Brazil and its people, especially Afro Brazilian and Native Brazilian cultural and artistic expressions. We love the music we play and desire to cultivate positivity and inclusion through vibrant culture and music.

Our instruments and costumes are all made in Salvador, Bahia, where the band has a social program that gives jobs to many families.

Surdo 1 & 2

Surdo 1 & 2 are the heartbeat of the band. Surdo 1 has a lower sound and is played on the first beat, Surdo 2 is pitched higher and replies with the second beat. Together, the surdos mark the beat. With their energy and insistent driving rhythm,  they push the beat forward and provide a solid base for other patterns.


The Repique is the highest pitch drum in the band. It helps call in the breaks and engages in frequent call-and-response “dialogues.” with the dobra. 


The Dobra is a mid-range sound, the melody drum. This smaller version of the Surdo is unique to samba reggae. The dobra plays the off-beat pattern and other syncopated rhythms, cutting between the beats of the two larger bass drums with more complex rhythms and driving the band choreography.


The most familiar instrument to non-Brazilian audiences, this snare drum is the engine of the band, providing the “white noise” that fills in the spaces left by the other instruments.