Batalá San Francisco is a community-based Brazilian drumming group open to all regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Anyone is welcome to join — no previous musical, dance, or performance experience is necessary. We take great pride in being a true community with members of many ages and ethnicities.

Members experience the thrill of drumming and dancing in unison and become part of an international percussion community with opportunities to rehearse and perform with other Batalá groups all over the world.

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Due to the high volume of interest in the band, Batalá San Francisco has put a hold on accepting new members. Currently the wait for an opening can be between one and two years.

Join our waiting list


Batalá San Francisco is a performance group, and as such, membership requires a significant commitment of time and energy. Regular participation in weekly general rehearsals, monthly sectional rehearsals, and regular performances is required.


Batalá drums are loaned to all members free of charge. Members provide a security deposit at the time they receive their drums and are not charged unless drums are damaged, lost, or not returned.


Batalá costumes (screen printed and sewn in Salvador) are loaned to members free of charge. Members provide a deposit at the time they receive their costumes and are not charged unless costumes are damaged, lost, or not returned.


While drums and costumes are provided free of charge, members must purchase basic drumming equipment, including Batalá rehearsal and performance T-shirts, drum straps, and drum sticks and/or mallets. Members also provide their own knee pads, earplugs, and gloves.


Members contribute a monthly donation of $25 to cover the cost of rehearsal space, upkeep of drums and costumes, and storage space rental. This system insures a stable economic base and spreads the responsibility of maintaining the company equitably across the membership base. A limited number of scholarships are available.


All members have the opportunity to play at venues in the San Francisco Bay Area and Batalá events across the world. Participation in performances energizes the band and band members! It is the heart of what we do! We encourage members to gain the drumming, dance, and performance skills to make their performance experience fun and successful.

Readiness to participate in performances is determined for each new member by the Musical Director. Some performances are community based and new members, even with limited experience, are encouraged to participate.

Other performances require a higher level of skill in drumming, dancing, and performing. The musical director and/or conductor selects who performs at a particular gig based on members' availability, the number of drummers needed, the balance of drums required, the experience and performance readiness of the drummers.

Because this is a community band, drummers do not receive payment for performances.