Taiko Center of L.A. and Batala L.A.
Taiko Center of L.A. and Batala L.A.

Taiko Center of Los Angeles and Batala Los Angeles, two of the leading world percussion ensembles in Southern California, collaborate for a dynamic evening of thunderous energy and get-up-and-dance music on Friday, March 6, at 8 p.m. at the Grand Annex, 434 W. 6th St. in San Pedro.

For tickets, call (310) 833-4813.

Taiko Center of Los Angeles was founded by Rev Tom Kurai in 1996 to preserve the art of Japanese drumming in the community. Kurai has been performing and teaching taiko since 1975. Currently there are 16 performing members and another 60 students studying in TCLA classes, which are held in Monterey Park, Gardena, North Hollywood, Hacienda Heights, Fountain Valley and Riverside.

TCLA has received the Dramalogue Award and the LA Weekly Award for best music in a theater production for “Megabeth”; the Inland Empire Theater Award for Best Music in a Play for “Call of the Dragon”; and the Lester Horton Award for Best Music in a Dance Production for “Creation.”

For more information, call (626) 484-5184 or visit www.taikocenter.com.

Batala, an international samba reggae performance group, was founded in Paris in 1997 by Giba Goncalves, a Bahian percussionist. One of the founders of the Afro Bloco Cortejo Afro, an arts education project to help underserved young people living in poor communities, Goncalves moved to Paris and founded Batala as the European wing of the project. Today, Batala Paris is the oldest of all the international Batala contingents.

Cortejo Afro and Batala share much of the same repertoire and since 1999, Batala groups have performed every year at the Salvador’s carnaval as part of Cortejo Afro. Batala organizations have sprung up all over the globe in countries as diverse as Brazil, England, Spain, Wales, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Angola, South Africa, and the Netherlands. In the U.S., Batala Washington D.C. was founded in 2007 and Batala New York City in 2011. Batala Houston, Batala San Francisco and Batala Los Angeles are currently being formed.

The international movement shares the samba reggae musical arrangements and percussion breaks composed by Goncalves, along with graphics, costumes, and dance movements. With a worldwide membership of over 800 drummers, the shared musical and artistic models facilitate the various groups to travel from country to country and participate in events together. Batala drums, sticks and mallets, drum straps, and costumes are produced in Salvador at Instituto Oya and Fabrica Batala under a fair-trade agreement.

The name Batala carries a double reference to the phrase “bateu lá,” meaning “hit there” in Portuguese, and to Obatalá (Oxalá), the Candomblé diety who is the father of the Orixas and of all humanity. Draped in the purity of white, Obatalá is the source of all that is peaceful and compassionate.

For more information, visit Batala Los Angeles on Facebook.

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