Batala New York City Founded: March 9th, 2012 by Artistic Director Stacy Kovacs and Assistant Director Laura Torell.

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Batala NYC was the original NYC based Batala, part of a larger global arts education project and family of drumming bands called Batala, which was founded in 1997 by Giba Gonçalves, a Brazilian musician studying in Paris. Batala plays music that is commonly heard on the streets of Salvador de Bahia, in northeast Brazil. 

Batala NYC was founded in early 2012 by Stacy Kovacs in response to the lack of opportunities for women to learn to drum in NYC. Their mission: a community band with a mission to teach any woman regardless of musical experience to play the powerful rhythms of samba reggae, thereby encouraging self-expression and confidence. We thrive on exposing a wider audience to this alluring music and on engaging as many people as possible in the culture of Northeast Brazil. Batala NYC at one point reached over 80 members. Since the band was founded, they performed in well over 200 shows throughout the metropolitan area, including annual Brazilian festivals in Manhattan, Newark, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. Also performed at night clubs, corporate galas, private birthday parties, weddings, street fairs and public art events with as few as 12 players or as many as 60. 

Batala NYC drew its audiences from the far-ranging backgrounds of our own band members. Our band included a range of ages from teenagers to seniors, ethnicities and cultures, sexual orientations, occupations, and educational and musical backgrounds. They lived all over the metropolitan area, come from at least 10 countries, speak at least 10 languages, and work in fields as varied as healthcare, education, the skilled trades, business, the arts and sciences. The work of empowering women by challenging musical stereotypes impacts the many communities to which our members belong. 

Batala New York City Quotes!

“… there’s also a sense of power and energy in the air—mixed in with some lighthearted fun.”

Brooklyn Magazine July 2015 

“In its three years of existence, the group has opened for the Rolling Stones, graced the cover of female drummer magazine Tom Tom, and paraded through dozens of street festivals in New York City.” 

The Brooklyn Paper May 2015 

“Chills ran up and down my spine, as I watched in amazement.” 


“… joyous, rattling polyrhythms….” 

The Wall Street Journal

“…loud, energetic, powerful and joyful…” 

Tom Tom Magazine Issue 11

“…explosively kinetic… Being bodyslammed never felt so good.” 

NY Music Daily May 2014 

Notable Past Performances 

Rolling Stones 50 & Counting Anniversary Tour  December 2012 

Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY and Prudential Center in Newark, NJ 

Mayor’s Reception for the U.S. Women’s National Team  July 2015  City Hall in Mahnattan, NY 

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade June 2015  Brooklyn, NY 

Lincoln Center Out of Doors: Ache Lavagem da Rua  August 2015  Damrosch Park, New York, NY 

One Penn Plaza Music Series produced with Ariana’s List July 2015  One Penn Plaza, NY, NY 

Live at the Archway Music Series in DUMBO  May 2015  Archway in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY 

Pre-Game Festival for soccer exhibition game Brazil vs Costa Rica  September 2015  Red Bull Arena, Newark, NJ 

Make Music NY June 2015 Bryant Park NY, NY , June 2014 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 

The Carnival Project  May 2014 & May 2015 Littlefield NYC, Brooklyn, NY 

NPR All Songs Considered June 2014  Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 

The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade  October 2014  New York, NY 

HONK! NYC Music Festival  October 2014 & 2013  Littlefield NYC, Brooklyn, NY 

Friends of the High Line Lunch Break Concert  September 2014  High Line, NY, NY 

One Billion Rising: V-Day with Eve Ensler  February 2015  Hammerstein Ballroom, NY, NY 

Movement: A Celebration Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  January 2015  The Greene Space, Brooklyn, NY 

Passport Thursdays at the Queens Museum  August 2014  Queens Museum, Flushing, NY 

Spirit of Aña: Women & Drums Festival  July 2014  Bronx Music Heritage Center, Bronx, NY 

batala new york

Video Links 

BatalaNYC Promo 

BatalaNYC at BRIC Gallery 

BatalaNYC at Brazilian Day Philadelphia 

BatalaNYC at the Kite Festival Riverside Park 2014