Batala Bermo was founded in 2003 by members of the local community and was initially funded by Communities First, Mantell Gwynedd, Voluntary Arts Wales and the Lottery Fund. None of the founder members were musicians nor did they have any previous experience of percussion or Samba.
We originate from a wider group called the Mundo Batala Project which is the creation of legendary Giba Goncalves, a well known musician and candomble master from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Giba started his first Batala band in Paris in 1997. It has since spread to other cities in France, the United Kingdom and many other areas around the world such as America, Spain, Austria and more. To be precise, there are over 30 bands in 15 countries with an overall capacity of over 1000 percussionists. The largest band is in Brasilia with over 180 female players, although players can be male or female.
As well as the Carnival in Salvador, Brazil, there are many other large carnivals where the Batala family unite and play, such as Notting Hill Carnival in London, La Fete de la Musique in Paris and the unforgettable Batala Encontro Event which is held in a different location and country each year. The Notting Hill Carnival and Batala Encontro events attract a minimum of 200 players from the worldwide Batala family. Workshops are also held by Giba himself in each band's locality at least once a year per band.
This fast spreading global phenomenon has captured the lives of many people and continues to provide individuals with a sense of belonging, happiness, vitality, joy and fun across the globe.
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In 1998, the Cortejo Afro Project was officially launched. This project as well as others was started by Alberto Pitta, a good friend of Giba's. The Batala family are in collaboration with this project and the music produced by the two projects are very similar and originate from the same village. Batala bands have the opportunity to visit, learn and perform music with musicians from this community in Piraja, Brazil, at the Salvador Carnival each year. Batala bands also purchase costumes and instrumental equipment from Piraja which then ploughs money in to the community and helps its people a great deal.