Women Drummers Batala New York is now FogoAzul NYC Brazilian Womens Drumline, Samba Band, Marching Band. 

After 5 years in New York, Batala as you knew it ceased to exist.  Due to an undermining by a small group of women in the band, they wanted “shared leadership”. This consisted of adult women going behind the back of their Director, Stacy Kovacs to the man who runs Batala, Giba. They lied, made up stories, exaggerated the truth, and generally brought Stacy down from the pedestal they put her on once she became “human” when she went through some personal life crises. They couldn’t deal with seeing a woman succeed, nor this woman having a personal issue that made her vulnerable. The pounced on her, accusing her of acting like “their drunk uncle”, accusing her rehearsals of being like “rape culture”, and accused her of being a dictator, even calling her “BataTrump.” They did not comprehend that Batala was a business owned by Stacy Kovacs. They refused to return the drums that did not belong to them. Stacy had to hire a lawyer to legally get her property back. It took 6 weeks. The new group of women didn’t believe her lawyer was “real” and accused Stacy of hacking into the lawyers email account and pretending to be her and send fake emails. They accused Stacy of hacking into other peoples email accounts. They wanted shared power. What ensued was a giant month long cat fight, name calling, false accusations, meetings with “safe rooms”, crying, anger, broken friendships and trust, and in the end, Stacy Kovacs stepped down from her leadership position and left Batala.
The lawyer wrote a letter to Giba stating this:
1. Stacy will step down.
2. Batala NYC will be handed over to the new group–the website, the social media, the name, the 45 drums that Stacy had not yet paid for and all the costumes.
3. Stacy would remain on the website as the founder and Director of Batala from 2011-2016.
What happened? Giba never told the group that he agreed to these terms. Instead, the new group wanted to completely erase Stacy from the history of Batala by making a new group with a new name (Batala New York), new leadership, and returned ALL of the drums (100) and costumes (300) to Stacy. They stated in their meetings they wanted to completely remove Stacy Kovacs from the history of Batala in New York City. If you look at their new website, there is no mention of the 5 years of hard work, love, blood, sweat and tears she put into Batala. The numerous trips to Brazil, the money she invested, the people she helped in the group in their personal lives. Stacy works in a hospital and she routinely went to bat for her band members. She assisted one particular member twice in the emergency room while she was hit by a car, and also having an abortion. This same woman later accused Stacy of her rehearsals being like rape culture. Stacy helped people like a therapist, Stacy helped people with their illness. She dropped what she was doing often to run to the side of her band members in distress from family issues, breakups, etc. She was more than a band director–she was a friend, a doctor, a caregiver, a director, and a therapist to these women. These same exact women who undermined her. One of the current leaders even went to Greece on Stacy’s dime when this happened because Stacy had bought her a plane ticket there for the big Batala meet up–as a thank you. And then she stole the band from Stacy, and took the free ticket as well. The other current director routinely “forgot” to alert her bank account when they travelled to Brazil so Stacy always had to lend large sums of money to her in Brazil. Stacy always took care of her band members. Then her band members participated in a mutiny like never anticipated. The band split in thirds. The members were asked to take a survey, to take sides, to write statements–there were new women only in the band for 4-8 weeks who wrote “statements” about Stacy, and didn’t even know Stacy’s last name. If they sided with or had any sympathy for Stacy, they were ignored. There was even a secret facebook group created, at the direction of Giba to “talk about Stacy safely”. What was in it was trashing her, and talking about how they could get rid of her. Instead of actually talking to Stacy, they decided Stacy wouldn’t be able to “handle a meeting” (said by a social worker who thinks she is a therapist)

How could this be?
Mob mentality. Coercion. Lying. Women wanting to be “in the IN crowd”. Women who felt their friendships were more important than the band.

They cut their nose off to spite their face. They didn’t want any of the old Batala email accounts, social media, or website. What happened was Stacy kept it all, including all of the gig contacts, the social media followers, and made a brand new drum band from the old Batala drums. The women of Batala who are left are NOT feminists. They do NOT want women to advance and be successful.

So, Batala NYC has disbanded!  We are now FogoAzul NYC NYC’s only all women Samba Band, Marching Band, and Drumline.


Women Drummers Batala New York


About Our Director

Artistic Director, Stacy Kovacs
Stacy hails from sunny Orchard Park, NY where she grew up playing piano and taking tap dance lessons at age 5 and percussion at age 8. She was in many different musical organizations throughout her youth, and eventually learned trombone. With her trombone she played jazz with Dick Clark’s American bandstand show for high school students, marched up Main Street USA at Disney World, Orlando, FL, and was a participant in the 1993 opening ceremonies of the World University Games. Stacy then took her trombone to Michigan State University where she majored in Marching Band (actually, Physiology), and had opportunities to play at two NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments, 3 BCS Bowl Games (including the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii), and countless other events. Stacy then pursued graduate school and in the process put music aside. Fortunately, her training brought her to NYC in 2005 where she picked up the trombone again and joined the Big Apple Corps Marching band and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. Missing the drumming she did as a child, she found Samba NY! and Philip Galinsky who showed her the ways of Brazilian percussion. Playing at NYC Brazilian Day 2011, she met MUNDO Batala and was instantly captivated by the rhythms of samba reggae. It was no turning back for Stacy as she pursued the opportunity to start a NYC chapter of Batala. After nearly 5 years of directing Batala NYC, Stacy closed Batala shop and started her own group caled FogoAzul NYC. You can find Stacy and follow her at NYC’s only all Women Drumline, Marching Band, and Samba Band!

How to Join

FogoAzul NYC wants YOU!
Women who wish to join are requested to pay a $25 non-refundable joining fee. We ask for a security deposit for a drum, sticks, and a belt. There is a $25 monthly fee associated, which covers the costs of running the band! Click the box below for more info.

Drumming in NYC