Carnaval San Francisco 2018

In response to Carnaval San Francisco’s 40th anniversary theme, “Roots of Carnaval / Raíces del Carnaval,” Batalá San Francisco commemorates the Afro-Brazilian roots of samba reggae. As the Bay Area’s contingent of the international drumming organization with over thirty sister groups scattered over the world, we honor the cultural legacy that grounds us in the Afro-Brazilian heritage of Salvador, Bahia. We take pride in the hands of diverse colors that activate our drums and fill the air with vibrating rhythms. And we celebrate our red hearts that beat in global unison.

2018 Women's March Oakland

Batalá San Francisco was proud to participate in the Second Annual Women's March in Oakland on January 20, 2018. Twenty-five drummers joined the thousands who marched in solidarity.

Batalá San Francisco's Fifth Anniversary

October 5, 2017 was Batalá San Francisco's fifth anniversary. We were grateful and excited to reach this amazing milestone. FIVE YEARS! It almost seemed like yesterday when we began our fledgling band. We've been through many wonderful times together--playing music together in so many wonderful venues. We've played together in burning heat and near darkness, traveled to play with our sister bands' together, climbed mountains together and walked the Golden Gate Bridge together; hosted nearly a hundred drummers from all over the world together; cried, and laughed, and danced, and sweated together; supported each other through hard times together; been slapped in the face with our friends, the samba dancers' feathers; been uplifted together by responsive audiences and fended off drunk partiers together; spent our holidays together; and most importantly, made lasting friendships with wonderful people from all over the globe. WE ARE GRATEFUL to master Giba Gonçalves for his inspiration and leadership, to our sister bands for their support and guidance, and to all our members past and present who have devoted their time and talent and hard work to building and caring for our Batalá SF community.

39th Annual Carnaval San Francisco Parade

Following Carnaval San Francisco’s overarching theme “El Corazón de San Pancho / The Heart of San Francisco” Batalá SF's 2017 carnaval theme w: “Our Hearts Beat in Unity / Nossos Corações Batem em Unidade.”

This theme sums up our mission to build community and breach difference through music and dance. It speaks both to the activist tradition of the Bay Area (Free Speech Movement, Anti-War Movement, Black Panthers, United Farm Workers, etc.) and to its current role as a stalwart community of compassion and justice within an increasingly contentious political terrain.

Carnaval SF 2017, photograph by Stephanie Barajas


Batalá San Francisco is a community band that plays samba reggae, an Afro-Brazilian genre of music developed in Bahia, Brazil. Founded in 2012, Batalá San Francisco is comprised of approximately forty drummers and has fast developed a reputation for excellence. Led by Musical Director Sonia Pina and Artistic Director Deborah Valoma, Batalá San Francisco is the Bay Area contingent of Batalá Mundo—the international drumming organization founded by Giba Goncalves in 1997. 


  • community events, street festivals, and parades
  • fundraisers and charity walks
  • educational institutions and corporate venues
  • concerts and sporting events
  • night clubs and private parties

Please contact our Booking Coordinator at

Download a Batalá San Francisco four-page brochure (PDF) HERE.

Batalá Hey!

Introduction to Batalá San Francisco

Batala SF


  • Dec 16
    Festa de Fim de Ano!,  Oakland
  • Jan 19
    Women's March 2019, 
  • Feb 24
    2nd Annual Black Joy Parade and Celebration,  Oakland

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Carnaval SF 2018


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