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Batala Bermo

Behind the Drums

Batala Bermo is a not-for-profit organisation and all proceeds of the band go toward providing instruments and costumes for the members. Joining Batala is open to everyone, regardless of race, religion, income, sexual orientation or musical experience.

Bermo is the local name for Barmouth (our home town) and we are part of the wider group of Batala which has its origins in Brazil.

The music of Batala originates in Salvador de Bahia in North Eastern Brazil. Batala was formed as the European wing of Cortego Afro, (a style of Brazilian Samba) by Giba Goncalves in Paris in 1997.

Giba is the maestro of the Batala sound, which he composed after the style of his home town Salvador, in Brazil. The music has its roots in African traditional music which found its way to Brazil and has been incorporated in to Brazilian culture since.

The name ‘batala’ is a derivation of the French for "hit there", a modern pun. It is also connected to the supreme God of the Yoruba culture Obatala, along with Olodumare is one of the names of the supreme God in that culture. During the slave trade of the 1800s, the bata drum crossed the Atlantic and gradually became a popular playing instrument in America, Cuba and beyond.

There are many Batala groups right across the world. We all share the same rhythms and values, and we often join and collaborate with other Batala groups at events such as Notting Hill Carnival, where over 200 Batala drummers from all corners of the earth come together to form Batala Mundo. 

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