Our History


Our first Carnival parade in Notting Hill was in honour of Mocidade our godmother school.  They were also guests of honour when we played with them at the 3rd European Samba Encontro in London in 1989, and again for our 25th anniversary at Notting Hill Carnival in 2009.

Of the drummers who were founding or early members of our School a remarkable number were amongst the best Samba, Salsa or Jazz musicians in this country at the time – notably João Bosco de Oliveira (Mestre de batería), Robin Jones (who went on to form King Salsa), Roberta Pla (who formed Valdez, the first Salsa band in London), Alan Hayman, Gerry Hunt, Carlos & Pato Fuentes, Dave Patman, Liliana Chachian, German Santana, Hamish Orr, Dawson Miller and Dave Bitelli amongst others.

LSS played its first official gig at Covent Garden Piazza on April 1st 1984. In August 1984, we were the first Samba School to play at the Notting Hill Carnival and introduced Brazilian Carnival to the parade. Since then, we have achieved the best results so far for any non-Caribbean band in the Notting Hill Carnival (first place in the Samba category in 2009 and 2006 as well as third place over all). For the last five years, we have consistently been in the top ten of all the parading bands in the Notting Hill Carnival.

Our other major performances over the last 30 years include concerts throughout the UK and Europe. We welcome new members to our ranks – join LSS for open access dance and percussion classes in Waterloo every Sunday.

Carnival History 

We have been parading in the Notting Hill Carnival and other parade since 1984. Please find below a full list of our carnival themes. Follow the links for more information, photos and overview of that year’s theme.

2018 – Yemanja – Para As Belezas De Mar
2017 – Sambafari – The Last Safari
2016 – Somewhere Under The Rainbow
2015 – Voodoo Samba: The Dark Cabaret
2014 – Celebrating 30 years of LSS, Ambassadors of Samba…
2013 – Children of the Sun: The Quest for El Dorado
2012 – Passing the Flame
2011 – Zé Malandro and the Forty Thieves
2010 – Gods, Myths and Monsters
2009 – A History of Samba
2008 – The Green Man
2007 – 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade
2006 – All aboard the LSS: Uma Viagem Através do Mar de Londres a Brasil
2005 – United in Green & White on the Road for Peace & Hope
2004 – Feliz Aniversário Unidos de Londres é Carnaval de Notting Hill
2003 – Black Orpheus in Notting Hill
2002 – A World in the Balance
2001 – The Future is Here: Let’s shake it up!
2000 – 500 Years, Happy Birthday Brazil!
1999 – Flying Down to Rio
1998 – Burning Up!
1997 – Colours of Brazil
1996 – Sambaquarius
1995 – Star Trek – Human Aspiration & Exploration
1994 – Carnival: Passion of the World
1993 – Riches of the Amazon
1992 – LSS performed at Edinburgh Festival instead of Notting Hill Carnival
1991 – Behind the Mask
1990 – Africa, Brazil, London
1989 – Fire in the Forest
1988 – Gods of Freedom
1987 – Black Brazil – The Culture and the Liberty
1986 – Alice in Sambaland
1985 – If you’ve never heard Samba, Listen!
1984 – Homage to Mocidade and Padre Miguel

Rainhas da Bateria

We had our first queen in 1994 and there has now been 20 different Rainhas Da Bateria. To see the full list please visit the archive page here>>>

2018 – 2019 Nina Appio

(Photo: haridas_dop )

2017 – 2018 Lucy Laetitia

(Photo: Brian Guttridge)

2016 – 2017 Hannah Acido

(Photo: Wayne Campbell)

The Performance Bateria are the group of drummers who are chosen (by invite only) to perform at most of live audience events our organisation encounters as the London School of Samba (LSS).

This group is an invite only group. At the LSS we generally look towards recruiting from developing guests and members attending our open workshops on Sundays at Waterloo Action Centre (WAC) or people we've encountered elsewhere in the world playing samba and have relocated to London. But if you are new to the LSS but have some previous samba experience you'd like to join the gigging bateria, simply come and meet us at WAC on a Sunday and either let a bateria director or the mestre de bateria know you're interested and we'll have a look at your skills there and your community spirit and let you know when we reach a decision.

Either before or after you see us at WAC, email us you intention at lssbateria@gmail.com

In the performance bateria known as the 'gigging bateria' you will be expected to learn more about swing, groove,bossas (breaks) and their relation to various LSS acoustic sets, to learn sambas from the school of past and present as well as some chosen samba from schools from Brazil (in Portuguese) and choreography to aid the performance (something we pride ourselves on). In addition to this we encourage you to increase you general samba knowledge, keep up to date with current samba news and learn about samba's history (although that will be taught school wide) and learn portuguese (even if it's only a little bit).

If you're not initially selected it generally because we feel you have to work on technique, memory or something else there are still opportunities to perform with the samba school in front of a live audience. We hold 3 or 4 performances a year where we invite any member of the samba school to join us for these public performances at events such as the 'London Marathon' or the 'Vitality 10k' and is a great way to bring everyone in the school and other samba friends together. The aim is for each individual to be able to handle the pace of gigging bateria rehearsals and not feel overwhelmed or muddy the collective sound of the bateria. 

From no samba experience to fully fledged gigging bateria percussionist may take time, it may not, so a 'no' from entry to the group from us is not personal or a complete rejection, it's simply stating that for some reason at this time either from us, yourself or circumstances like covid numbers, that it's just not possible at this moment in time.

But don't give up, keep trying. You'll still get to play at school wide gigs and we'll eagerly await the time when the circumstances are right to welcome you in our gigging crew.