Batalá in Washington, D.C. is part of a larger Batalá family created in 1997 by Giba Gonçalves. Born and raised in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil, Giba was living in Paris when he first had the idea for the band. Open to anyone with an interest in learning the samba-reggae beat, the band started off with 60 people.
From Paris it spread to other cities in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom. In 2003, the band finally made its way back to its origins, brought to Brazil by Paulo Garcia, also the founder of the Portsmouth Batalá . Composer and musical director, Giba enlisted the help of friends from the bands and from Salvador in order to create the visual identity of the band. The instruments and clothings are all manufactured in Salvador, Bahia, where the band has a social program that gives jobs to many families. From there they are shipped to the bands around the world.
In 2007, the newest branch of the Batalá band was created in Washington, DC, expanding the reach of the band’s music to the United States. Today, there are 30 and counting Batalá bands around the world.