Drumming –  “Bateria”

Bateria is the name given to the drumming section of a samba school. London School of Samba has a long history and tradition of Brazilian drumming techniques. We offer opportunities for people who have never played an instrument to grow and learn to become part of our group. We also find that experienced drummers and musicians really enjoy the atmosphere of the our Bateria as you get all the benefits of being in a band without the responsibility of being the sole drummer. The social atmosphere within the Bateria is legendary and it is why our members stay for so long.

The great benefit of a Samba Bateria is that it is made up of a range of percussion instruments which means there is a place for everyone and it offers a great variety when playing.

The core instruments are:

  • Surdo – (the bass drums)
  • Caixa – (the snare drums)
  • Repenique – (a high pitched drum)
  • Chocalho – (a shaker made of jingles similar to those found on a tambourine, but attached to a frame)
  • Agogo Bells – (bells of different pitch)
  • Tambourim – (a small handheld drum)


Surdo’s are commonly found in a bateria in three different sizes. The largest two hold the beat between them, with the smallest drum playing more intricate patterns. The shell of the surdos in a Brazilian samba school are made of aluminium, most commonly 18″, 20″ and 22″ in diameter and 60cms deep, with the drum skin, made from goat skin. Primeira (“first”) is the largest surdo,


Caixa de Guerra (Lit. Box of War)
The caixa can also be played “Em cima”, at shoulder height, helping to project the sound of the drum further. (sambasupplies.com)
navel level, “em baixo”


(Sometimes known as “repique” or “surdo de repinique”) often used to give “calls” to the rest of the drummers
a high pitched tom-tom


the chocalho will generally play in the first part
of the enredo and is silent in the second part (sambasupplies.com)

Agogo Bells

Traditionally a pair of bells, but some samba schools use a set of four bells (Imperio Serrano were the first to use this).


Reco-Reco (similar to guiro), rarely used in samba schools in favour of chocalho
Frigideira (Frying pan)
Tarol (small snare drum)

To learn more about our Bateria please join us for a class>>>

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.