Miguel Angel Villalonga is one of our "caixas" and also responsible for "Sandungueros Bloco Band". In this interview he talks about his great passion and explains what makes this hobby so unique for him.
What is Batucada? Batucada it’s a substyle of samba and refers to an Afro influenced Brazilian percussive style, usually performed by a large group of people, known as a bateria. Batucada is defined by its repetitive style and fast pace. There are different styles depending on where they come from.
The group I play with is called Sandungueros and our style is Samba Reggae coming from Bahia in Brazil. It has a characteristic accentuation in the second beat, but we usually combine different rhythms such as funky, merengue, etc.
How did you get into it?
I had seen bands playing but never joined a group. My girlfriend was the one who got involved first and dragged me in. I liked it a lot and since then I have been playing - even in two groups at the same time!
How often do you practice?
As I mentioned above, I play with Sandungueros which is the oldest group in Mallorca. It’s been running for 13 years now! We usually play one or two days a week at the beginning of the season, but as we approach our biggest events we end up practising four or five days a week for 4 hours each time.
Do you take part in performances and concerts?
Yes, we have two big events every year. One is +Ksamba festival. It takes place in Mallorca and groups from around the island come and play. We invite groups from abroad as well; from France, Germany and the UK. This year it will be the fifth edition. The event gathers around 500 – 700 people to play and share experiences. We also organise workshops so we can learn new rhythms together as well as dances with professional teachers from the best groups in the world.
The second event is the Internationales Samba-Festival Coburg in Germany. This is a crazy weekend as we have four performances on the different stages around the city. We play in front of thousands of people and we bring a different outfit for every performance. Apart from these two major events we also play at weddings, beach parties and other occasions.
What are the first things you have to bear in mind when you’re playing?
Feeling the base rhythm is a “must”. This is played by the biggest drums at the back of the batucada - once you feel this it’s easy to let yourself go.
How do you feel when you’re “in action“?
It’s just awesome when you play and see that a group of 50 people turns into a unified whole - everyone in the team knows what the rest are doing. It’s a special moment and hard to describe this feeling.
Did you have any previous experience with music before you started this hobby?
Yes, I played the guitar for a couple of years, but nothing more than this. Batucada is something completely different!
What do you enjoy most about it?
There are about 50 of us in the group and the interaction between us is what I like most. There is laughter, stress and tears, but in the end, it’s all worth it.
Is there anything you don’t like and if yes what is it?
As there are a lot of us, sometimes it’s difficult to agree on something but we end up sorting everything out so we are all happy.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to learn to do it?
I’d say do not underestimate yourself. Most people tell me they are bad at drumming but you never know until you try it. I thought that as well before joining, but here I am…in my sixth year of Batucada!