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Samba Savannah at the 2024 Savannah Slithering

Samba Savannah is a community music project that brings the sounds of Brazil to coastal Georgia. Active since 2013, Samba Savannah performs a variety of energetic Brazilian musical styles including samba, maracatu, samba reggae, pagode, samba Afro, and more. The group has appeared in the Savannah Pride Parade, the Savannah Slithering, the Tybee Island MLK Day Parade, and the Tybee Island Juneteenth Wade-In, as well as in numerous neighborhood parades and festivals.

As well as being a performing group, Samba Savannah hosts regular classes teaching the basics of Brazilian music and styles to community members. Through education, outreach, and performance, Samba Savannah spreads the swing and joy of samba throughout the Coastal Empire.


Andrew Hartzell outdoors, smiling and holding a pandeiro

Samba Savannah is directed by Andrew Harztell, a long-time member of Savannah’s musical scene and a former director of the Lions of Batucada samba bateria in Portland, Oregon. Andrew has studied with several prominent Brazilian musicians including Jorge Alabê, Dudu Fuentes, Sergio Krakowski, and others, in addition to participating in summer music studies at California Brazil Camp since its founding. In December 2021, Andrew was interviewed on the podcast The Brazilian Beat by Courtney Danley and Dianna Ramirez.


Andrew Harztell leading an indoor drumming class at the Cultural Arts Center in Savannah

Come play samba! Samba Savannah regularly holds group lessons that are appropriate for players of all skill levels.

Beginning March 27, 2024, Samba Savannah will offer an eight-session course in Brazilian percussion through the City of Savannah’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

This class will focus on learning play a variety of traditional percussion instruments associated with samba partido alto. This rhythm is fun to play and can be applied to many different types of music. Instruments will be provided for the class.

Classes will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center (201 Montgomery St.) Preregistration is required; for more information or to register, visit the Cultural Arts Center’s website.

Samba Savannah also frequently holds classes and rehearsals in Daffin Park on Sunday afternoons. To find out more, visit Samba Savannah on Facebook.


Brazilian music uses a variety of instruments and techniques. This page gathers resources to help members of the Samba Savannah community learn the basics.

Instrument Stores

A well-made instrument is an important asset. Here are three reputable online stores that sell authentic Brazilian percussion instruments:

Instrument Resources

Follow the links below for lessons and resources specific to individual instruments:

Bateria Resources

Here are links to lessons, videos, and demonstrations concerning the entire ensemble:

Additional Resources

Courtney Danley has put together a collection of recommended Brazilian YouTube channels on her blog. And her podcast, The Brazilian Beat, features interviews (in English) with musicians from Brazil and beyond.

This BBC documentary about the history of Samba and Brazilian music provides a good overview and important context.

And this documentary about Candomblé music offers an excellent overview of Afro-Brazilian drumming traditions.


We’d love to hear from you! For more information about Samba Savannah, to book the group for an event, or to learn more about upcoming classes, send us an email at andrew@sambasavannah.org.

For up-to-date information and posts, check out Samba Savannah on Facebook.