• Samba Squad - 25th Anniversary!

  • We follow the path of the drum from Brazil to Toronto

  • One Heart One Mind One Groove

  • Samba Squad - 25th Anniversary!

  • Samba Squad

    We follow the path of the drum from Brazil to Toronto

  • One Heart One Mind One Groove

Inspired by the Escola de Sambas of Rio de Janeiro…the Afro Blocos of Salvador Bahia ….and the Maracatu nations of Recife, Pernambuco…

Hand to Hand, Skin to Skin…. we mix these influences with Global Grooves of the African Diaspora
The beats….the grooves….the flavours….all come together in a seething cauldron to produce the sound of Samba Squad.

One Heart One Mind One Groove

“The joyful Samba Squad delivers souped-up rhythms. You’ll hear them coming!”
Geoff Chapman, The Toronto Star

2024 marks our 25th Anniversary

Our first rehearsal was Jan.9,1999 and we’re still here rocking the streets of Toronto and spreading our message of JOYOUS Unity.

Led by award-winning percussionist Rick Shadrach Lazar, SAMBA SQUAD has risen from a community-based drumming group into one of the most dynamic and sought after acts on the Canadian World and Latin music scenes. From Jazz to Roots to International Drumming Festivals, this energetic and joy-instilling groove machine has performed at over 200 festivals, thrilling audiences across the country and Tobago.

Samba Squad Reviews

The Globe & Mail

“On a wintry Canadian day, Samba Squad might provide just the heat you need.”


“Q: Who is that awesome Samba group featured in promos?
A: It’s the Samba Squad that bangs the hot latin beats in the promos you see throughout the day on Citytv. This promo recently won a Gold Promax Award.”

Performing Arts and Entertainment in Canada

“The debut CD is a samba sampler that not only shows off the diversity of the instruments, but also gives voice (literally) to several Squad members, who get to call out their own rhythmic catch phrases… The selection runs a surprising gamut that fuses combinations like samba/reggae, samba/soca and samba/dancehall, with some extras: like a West African agbekor number. A recording that’s lots of fun in itself and also a pleasing harbinger of the increasing activity on the contemporary Afro-Latin scene in Toronto.”


“Samba Squad is a local Toronto group who I’ve adored at festivals, clubs, and street corners for years and now they’ve come out with a CD!!! The CD totally re-creates that feeling of seeing them live and needing to jump up and start dancing like crazy! The CD includes some terrific sambas (fast and medium speeds) as well as some samba mixed with soca, reggae, rap, and other funkiness! Drums, drums, and more drums!”


“It turns out that they were all wearing T-shirts that said “Samba Squad” on them, and there was quite an assortment of musicians in this group (old, young, male, female, pierced and non-pierced, tattooed and non-tattooed). Upon further research, they are a group that is based in Canada, and they specialize in “Brazilian Drumming and Rhythms”. (If you ever have a chance to see them, GO!) They were breathtaking as they pounded on and shook all types of instruments.”

The Live Music Report

“An abrupt mood change. Samba Squad enters! The entire Lula Lounge becomes a drum. About 13 drummers and percussionists dance and play before us, with Lazar in front, playing his drum with one bare hand and a beater, bleating his whistle, and conducting this orgy of drum sound as it expands the room. The five bass drums are felt in the stomach, the two snare drummers excite us on, the two cowbell players ding-a-ding, and the four tambourim drummers drive us crazy with their high end whipping of the sonic beat. Whew. The entire evening was music for the feet and the mind.”


Samba Squad Que Beleza 2013 | Samba Squad Batuque, 2006 | Samba Squad Self-Titled debut, 2001 | Jesse Cook Montreal, 2004 | Jesse Cook Fall at Your Feet, 2000

Our songs E Pra Valer, Maracatu Funk and Para Gozar were featured respectively in the mega-hit movie Breaking Dawn: Twilight, on the American hit TV show: America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

SAMBA SQUAD: The beginning of the journey : The Squad was awarded the UMAC (Urban Music Association of Canada) Award for Best World Recording of 2001 for their self-titled debut release.

The documentary “SAMBA SQUAD: Drums We Love,” (Riddle Films) first aired on Vision TV on September 2006 and was commercially released in 2008 as a DVD, now available on our website.