There are 2 main things that make up a samba band……..



Instruments are only ½ the story


A samba band is like an orchestra of drums and percussion, and normally consists of Tamborims , Snare drums (Caixa), Agogô bells, Surdos, Ganzás / Chocalho (shakers), Timbal and the Repenique (often played by the leader for calls).

The Apito is often used by the leader to signal breaks and calls.


Surdos, often referred to as the heartbeat of the band, are the large drums, of three different sizes/pitches. Low, middle and tops are all played with mallets & sometimes hands.


Reps (repiniques) are piercing high pitched drums, played with nylon rods, or sometimes a wooden stick and hand.


Snares (caixas) are played with wooden drumsticks.

Both reps and snares provide a driving fast rhythm to the music, with an accented note pattern filled in with ghost (quiet) notes.

Agogo bells have a high and low bell, and are played with a wooden stick.


Tamborims are like a high pitched tambourine (no jingles though!) and are played with a nylon rod.


Each instrument will have a specific part to play for each piece, and all together they blend into that infectious rhythm that is samba.



The Second half is the Humans


The mestre or leader (conductor) of the band decides when each instrument should come in or take a rest, and when they should play pre-specified ‘breaks’ to add interest to the piece.


The mestre (due to the loud sound of the band) transmits his instructions to the band members by whistle and hand signals – often whilst walking backwards in a parade!

That’s where you come in, if you are looking at our workshops, or listening to our Tracks, thinking about coming to play, our mestre will guide you.


There will be someone else there drumming the same pattern as you

You won’t have to read music; all you have to do is remember something as a “Pattern” for each track for your specific drum. Something along the lines of “I’ve got custard in my underpants “or “I want to have a little bit of fish “…..It’s as easy as that


So come along to our workshops in June, it doesn’t matter if you have never drummed, or you are a “kit drummer” It’s all about having fun, meeting new people ,embracing the spirit of carnival and enjoying

Phone  +44(0)1903 245851  

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