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Cheltenham Samba - open community drumming group

Have fun, make friends, perform!

What is Olá Samba?  Loud and fun!  I joined this lively, friendly and encouraging bunch in Autumn 2016, never having played a musical note in my life. Thanks to Dave's guidance and patience, a few months later I am now a regular band member, playing gigs all over the place.  If I can do it, anyone can do it!
- Tony, Bourton-on-the-Water
I really enjoyed last night, thanks for the warm welcome! I must have enjoyed it because I've just caught myself practising with a Biro whilst sat at my desk!
-Lee, Cheltenham

What is it?

Learn to play the drums of a Rio-style bateria (drumming group). Learn samba from the Rio Carnival alongside a wide range of traditional Brazilian rhythms and original grooves inspired by music from around the world.

Can I do it even if I've never drummed before?​

Absolutely. Olá Samba's evening classes are open to all and anyone is warmly welcomed to any rehearsal. Some new members are already competent musicians but many have never picked up an instrument in their life! All new members are made to feel welcome and encouraged to learn things bit by bit.

Is it difficult?

As with any new skill, there is a lot to learn for a complete beginner. The pace of classes will seem high to start with but if you enjoy them and decide to stick with it you can simply focus on little bits at a time and before you know it you'll be helping to along other new members. You'll be surprised how quickly it all fits together and starts feeling like a real achievement. The challenge is part of the fun! The real hook is that even when you think you know it all you can still always work on making it sound much better!

Does it matter if I make a mistake?

Of course not. Everyone is trying their best to make the music sound as good as possible and mistakes are part of that. Over an above the music, it's a fun class to be a part of and meet new people.

When can I join in with performances?

When you feel confident that you can add to the band's performance. Ask David when you think you're ready. This can be anywhere from a couple of months to a year or so depending on your previous experience and how much time you can dedicate to practising at home! 

What can I expect when I come to an Olá Samba evening class?

Fun, high-energy drumming, friendly people and a good challenge.

Each session typically starts with a slow-paced introduction to one of our rhythms or instruments. Later comes a high-energy, fast-paced run through of existing repertoire, where new members can copy the person next to them to pick things up as we go. There is a break halfway through for a drink, snack, chat and payment. 

All equipment is provided.


Am I expected to come to every rehearsal?

Of course, things crop up and get in the way, but you will get more out of the group if you aim to come to every rehearsal, especially at the beginning. That way your confidence will grow and you'll be able to feel the satisfaction as you learn.

When and Where?

Wednesdays 7.15-9.30pm at All Saints' Academy, Blaisdon Way, Cheltenham, GL51 0WH.

Olá Samba runs a parallel group in Cirencester on Tuesdays. .
Free first session! After that, £6 drop-in or just £4.50 if paid termly.


We're a very friendly bunch and normally go for a little social drink afterwards too.


Contact David for more information at or 07927589522.

Read more about the ethos of the Olá Samba Bateria here.
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