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 are taught by our Musical and Artistic Directors in a welcoming and supportive environment. 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.


Based on availability, Batalá drums will be loaned to all members free of charge. However, members are asked to provide a deposit at the time that they receive their drums. Members will not be charged unless drums are damaged, lost, or not returned.


Batalá costumes (screen printed and sewn in Salvador) are loaned to members free of charge. However, members are asked to provide a deposit at the time that they receive their costumes. Members will not be charged unless costumes are damaged, lost, or not returned. On an occasional basis members are also asked to purchase Batalá rehearsal and performance t-shirts that cost between $15 and $20.


While drums and costumes are provided free of charge to members, the purchase of basic drum equipment is required, 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 if desired.


We ask members to kindly contribute a modest monthly donation of $25. These monies pay for 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.

The contribution is due on the first day of each month whether or not members are in attendance at rehearsals. If a member needs to take a hiatus from Batalá San Francisco, they may hold their costumes and drums while continuing to pay the monthly contribution. If instead they wish to return their drums and costumes, they may join again when circumstances allow.


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 your 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. We attempt to provide one such opportunity per month.

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.

Not all drummers available will be selected, but please know that every effort is made be fair and to give ample opportunity for all members to participate. 

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