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A History of the Lions

The Lions of Batucada were founded in 1996 by Director Brian L. Davis, with co-founder Derek Rieth, along with assistance from our team including Andrew Hartzell, Rod Blethen, Andy Sterling, and Randy Givens.

Over the years, the group has brought to Portland, and studied with, among many others – Mestre Jorge Alabe, Bruno Moraes, Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro, Boca Rum Bezerra, Michael Spiro, Mark Lamson, Alex Rangel, Marcio Peeter, and Curtis Pierre. This in addition to regular visits for study to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, and Recife, Brazil by the Lions Directors, and a number of group members.

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The group also has travels regularly for study and participation at The California Brazil Camp (where Brian serves on the teaching staff (1998 – present). This holds true with the 2021 Directors team; all have extensive studies in Brazilian musics, both here and abroad.

Our dancers have studied with, among others – Rosangela Silvestre, Ana Laidley (Ainha Malandro), Paula Reis, Famata, and Tanya Rodrigues.

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In our history, The Lions have performed for an enormous variety of audiences – from opening act engagements with David Byrne, Sean Lennon, Grupo Fundo de Quintal, in Rose Festival Parades, and at World Cup Soccer Matches. We have combined with acts as diverse as Fishbone and The Portland Summer Symphony with Michael Harrison, and enjoyed collaborations with Pink Martini, along with the Oregon Symphony and The Los Angeles Philharmonic, including appearances at The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, and in a recent concert with famed rock group Aerosmith.

The Lions offer weekly classes in Samba music, have sponsored numerous dance and music workshops featuring international artists, conduct team building seminars for corporations, founded and direct the Ainsworth Jr Escola (127 fifth grade sambistas, 1996- present), and provide Samba based residencies, lectures, and demonstrations for various regional schools and Universities.