Join Batala Lancaster
Who we are
We are Batala Lancaster, Lancaster’s original samba-reggae drumming band, established in 2004. Batala Lancaster is part of the Batala Mundo family of bands, and we have 45 sister bands in 17 countries, comprising over 2000 people. As part of this collective, we’ve won Best Brazilian Band for the last two years running at Notting Hill Carnival, the largest carnival event in Europe. By ourselves, we’ve got repeat bookings from Kendal Calling festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Lancaster Pride, Lancaster Music Festival, and many smaller local and charity events.
What we play
Batala plays samba-reggae music written by Brazilian composer Giba Gonçalves. He teaches the same music to all of his bands around the world, allowing us to perform in unison at huge global events, where he leads the band. It’s loud, intricate, and intense, but it’s also very accessible and fun to play.
Who we’re looking for
We are a band of volunteers, and we’ll take on anyone aged over 18 who wants to play a drum! If you can count to four, this is enough to get started. We don’t expect perfection, but we do expect practice; you’ll need to be able to attend practices and take ownership of improving your skills on your instrument.
Practices take place each Monday at Ellel Village Hall, Galgate, from 6:30 – 9:15pm, and you will need to commit to attending practice regularly.
Once you’re ready to perform, we’ll ask you to play at least ten gigs per year, preferably more, and we’re busiest on weekends in June and July. You’ll be able to play more if you want to – many people do – but we aim to allow you a fair balance between drumming and your regular life.
What we’ll be doing
The beginner sessions focus on a set of seven pieces of music that are central to the Batala repertoire. Each piece has some music and choreography to learn, and we’ll initially always play them in the same order. This is the same set our neighbours in Batala Manchester teach new players, so you’ll already be able to play alongside them.
After the initial seven songs are learned, we’ll offer you a place in the band, provided we have enough to go around. You’ll be the proud caretaker of one of our drums, and once the musical director says you’re ready, you can take it to gigs with us and around the world. Also, we’ll mix up the order of your initial seven pieces, teach you a further 14, and generally welcome you to our international community.
Sounds good! How do I get involved?
Each year we hold a Taster Workshop. Our 2023 workshop on 9 October is currently fully booked. Complete the form below and we will let you know when we have spaces available for a taster session.
What does it cost?
Your first taster workshop costs £10. This covers all tuition and equipment loan.
If you enjoy the taster session and would like to continue, our seven-week new drummers’ course follows straight after the taster workshop and costs £50.
Once you have completed the beginners’ course, if you join the band, you will pay subs of £10 per month. You will also need to purchase your own playing kit once you have committed to the band: drum belt, sticks or beaters, knee pads and ear protection.
What should I bring to the sessions?
You should wear clothing suitable for exercise and bring your own water bottle. We will loan you all the other equipment you will need for the initial sessions.
We supply single-use foam earplugs, but would encourage you to get your own pair of reusable, good-quality musician earplugs as soon as possible if you’re continuing to attend practices. The foam ones will prevent hearing loss, but reusable, comfortable, high-quality earplugs will provide a much better experience.
Join our waiting list