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What is Samba?

Samba is a style of music that originated in Brazil. It is also dance, culture, and for many people around the globe it's a way of life. For us, samba is the loud, high-energy percussion-heavy sounds that you would hear on the streets of Rio de Janeiro during the famous carnival.

Samba is played by a bateria (lit. "battery") of percussionists of as few as 3 people up to over 300. There are samba groups of various sizes and styles all around the world. There are over 1000 samba bands in Germany, France and the U.K. alone. Samba is a great way to meet new friends when you're on your travels.

When samba is played well it makes people happy and it makes people dance. It's fun to watch, fun to listen to, fun to dance to, but we feel it's MOST fun to actually play it. There is nothing quite like the energy of a big bateria playing in unison. To share that joy and energy is the icing on the cake.

Of the many styles of samba and percussion, our main focus is the Rio-style "carioca" samba batucada.

 

About Bateria 61

We are a Samba band based in Sydney, Australia. Our main focus is on Samba Batucada, though we also play a bit of Samba Reggae and dabble in other styles too.

Samba Batucada is the sound of the famous carnival of Rio de Janeiro. It's uplifting, high-energy, noisy, seductive and addictive. It has been said that it's impossible to feel unhappy when playing samba.

Our goal is to spread the joy of Samba in Sydney. We do this by performing, and by welcoming and encouraging newcomers to our group wherever possible. You don't need to be a percussionist to join in, all you need is a willingness to learn and have fun!

 

Samba Instruments


SurdoSurdo

The undisputed king of the bateria, the surdo is the biggest and baddest drum of the lot. The surdo is the heartbeat of the samba, laying down the deep, resonant bass notes that are the foundation for the rest of the band to swing, groove and dance upon.

Needless to say, the surdo and its players command respect. It must be played with strength, confidence and at a rock-solid tempo for the rest of the band to function. Experience, stamina and a strong, steady tempo are required in order to play the surdo well.

 

 

 

 

 


CaixaCaixa

Not to be confused with a regular snare drum, the caixa is 12" by 5 - 20cm deep, and has metal strings strung across the top (playing) surface. The caixa is a lightweight drum with a distinctively high and dry sound. It is also very loud!

The caixa can be played slung over the shoulder with a strap, or resting on one arm if you really want to impress the punters.

On its own, the caixa may not sound like much, but as soon as a few play in unison their true power is unleashed. The caixa section maintains the upper end of the samba rhythm (with the surdos at the lower end) while also injecting a healthy dose of the carioca swing. The different patterns played by the caixa section are one of the important aspects that give a bateria their distinctive sound.

As one of the most technical instruments, the caixa is best suited to experienced players and kit drummers.

 


TamborimTamborim

The most portable of all the instruments of the bateria, the tamborim is also one of the loudest. Consisting of a 6" drum frame with a skin stretched tightly on one side, the tamborim delivers a high pitched crack that could probably be heard above the sound of a jumbo jet.

The tamborim is usually held in one hand and struck with a flexible plastic beater held in the other. It can simply be used to play patterns of single notes that accentuate the sound of the batteria, but it's by playing with a technique known as "turning" ("virado") that the tamborim transforms into a powerhouse of swing, dazzling onlookers and delivering beats to the samba as fast as any caixa. The tamborim is a very fun instrument to play as not only are the patterns varied and fun, but you're also free to dance and jump around to the sound of the bateria as the drum is so small.

 

 


RepiniqueRepinique

One of few drums that are played with one bare hand and a stick in the other, the repinique also helps to hold the upper end of the samba with the caixas.

Having a distinctively high, shrill tone the repinique is the instrument of choice for making the calls and patterns that signal breaks and changes to the rest of the bateria. The repinique is also the key instrument that calls the start of the samba, somewhat like a starter motor. As such, it needs to be played with confidence and a good sense of tempo.

Like the caixa, the repinique is best suited to experienced players and kit drummers who want to try something a bit different.

 

 


AgogoAgogo

Delivering a thick layer of melodic icing on top of the complete samba sound is the agogo bell. Played with a stick in one hand and the bell in the other, the agogo bell is a two, three or four-toned bell that creates  percussive melodies that dance over the top of the sound of the drums.

The agogo is one of the less-technical instruments to play, and this makes it the ideal place to start for new players. Being less technical should not be confused with dull or boring though. The agogo can rock as hard as any other instrument in the bateria, and especially with a four-toned agogo, the potential for creating exciting melodic patterns and fills is practically limitless.

 

 


ChocalhoChocalho

Commonly considered to be a shaker on steroids, the chocalho is there to make sure the relentless swing of your shaker skills does not get lost amongst the noise of the band.

Often underrated, the chocalho is one of the most valuable instruments in the bateria. When played well, the chocalho delivers like a freight train of swing injected right into the bateria. As much as any instrument, it delivers the power and the rhythm that sustain the band and makes people dance. It is a very satisfying instrument to play.

The chocalho is not technically difficult, but it does require a good sense of tempo, not to mention stamina to be played well. It can be quite a workout playing the chocalho for an extended period, but the best players use very efficient playing techniques to conserve energy.

 


 

TimbauTimbau

The timbau is Brazil's answer to the African djembe hand drum. Where the djembe has a distinctive "Y" shape and is usually carved out of solid wood, the timbau is more like a straight "V" shape and is usually made from a single piece of plywood, bent into a cone. The timbau also employs a synthetic head of 12" - 14" diameter and uses conventional tuning lugs as opposed to the traditional ropes of the djembe. In effect, it is a completely different instrument with a completely different sound that makes it more suited to being heard above the din of the bateria. It's also very lightweight for its size.

As part of the bateria, the timbau usually plays a set pattern that blends with the sound of the band, using the conventional bass, tone and slap sounds. It is best suited to players with experience in hand drums.

 

 


Cuica

One of the oddballs of the music world, the cuica is an instrument unlike any other. Looking somewhat like a regular small drum, the cuica is played by rubbing a damp cloth against a thin bamboo rod protruding from inside the drum through the centre of the skin. The sound of the cuica can be described as sounding something like a happy monkey, or depending on how it's played, a sad monkey. It is quite unique and a great way to fascinate the onlookers.

 

 

We have rehearsals on two Mondays (6-9pm) and two Saturdays (11am-1pm) in a month.

Contact us on: info(at)bateria61.com for our next rehearsal! 

Stage Door Productions

7/33 Maddox St, Alexandria

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See y'all there!!