Batala Los Angeles is a samba reggae music and dance ensemble. Led by Musical director Mario Pallais.
DescriptionBatala—an international samba reggae performance group—was founded in Paris in 1997 by Giba Goncalves, a Bahian percussionist (Ilê Aiyê, Olodum, Muzenza, Male Debale, Jimmy Cliff, Tupi Nago, and Kaoma). One of the founders of the Afro Bloco Cortejo Afro, an arts education project to help underserved young people living in poor communities, Goncalves moved to Paris in 1997 and founded Batalá as the European wing of the project. Today, Batala Paris is the oldest of all the international Batala contingents.
Cortejo Afro and Batala share much of the same repertoire and since 1999, Batala groups have performed every year at the Salvador’s carnaval as part of Cortejo Afro. From its inception in Paris, individual Batala organizations have sprung up all over the globe in countries as diverse as Brazil, England, Spain, Wales, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Angola, South Africa, and The Netherlands. In the United States, Batala Washington DC was founded in 2007 and Batala New York City was established in 2011. Batala Houston and Batala San Francisco and Los Angeles are currently being formed.
The international movement shares the samba reggae musical arrangements and percussion breaks composed by Goncalves, graphics, costumes, and dance movements. With a worldwide membership of over 800 drummers, the shared musical and artistic models facilitates the various groups to travel from country to country and participate in events together. Batala drums, sticks and mallets, drum straps, and costumes are produced in Salvador at Instituto Oya and Fabrica Batala under a fair trade agreement.
The name Batalá carries a double reference to the phrase “bateu lá,” meaning “hit there” in Portuguese and to Obatalá (Oxalá), the Candomblé diety who is the father of the Orixas and of all humanity. Draped in the purity of white, Obatalá is the source of all that is peaceful and compassionate
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