Coming up from the L’enfant Plaza metro, the 80 member female drum corp Batala can be heard long before they can be seen. Their signature Afro-Brazilian rhythms pulse through the early Saturday morning air outside Hancock Park in SW DC as passerbys and tourists gather sporadically to watch, take a photo, and tap their feet to the beats.
Batala Washington DC is just one sister band of the International Batala Organization with bands in France, San Francisco, New York, Belgium, and of course, Brazil! Founded in 2007 by 15 members, the band continues to grow their roots in the District and is open to any female interested, regardless of previous musical experience.
Batala is as much a community organization as an international one. They have performed at local universities (including annually at AU), the 9:30 club, the White House, and local festivals and parades. They’ve been invited to play at the Marine Corps Marathon, national Puerto Rico Day, and even at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.