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About Samba Squad

Samba Squad Members

Founded by award-winning percussionist Rick Shadrach Lazar, SAMBA SQUAD is an innovative group that is forging new directions by mixing world rhythms with the sound-power and street-feel of the drums of the Afro-Brazilian Samba tradition.

The SQUAD’s 16-plus-member ‘percussion posse’ busts out in energy and excitement. Samba Squad embodies the joy of embracing different cultures, and is the personification of change and exchange.

The musical roots of Afro-Brazil, Afro-Cuba, North and West Africa, as well as elements of Urban Funk and Hip-hop, are dropped into a seething cauldron to produce a dance-till-you-drop tour of global grooves.

Featuring members of all ages and backgrounds, The SQUAD is a microcosm of cosmopolitan Toronto. We respect traditions while adding original influences to create one of the most exhilarating musical experiences in Canada.

Versatile and flexible Samba Squad has done everything from street festivals to stage shows, TV shows, TV commercials, and has appeared in independent films, folk and jazz festivals, corporate functions, weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals and hands-on workshops, both on the corporate team-building and school levels.


  • CITY TV 2008 New Year’s Eve Live TV Gala, Toronto
  • Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival
  • Roots & Blues Festival at Salmon Arms, B.C.
  • London’s Sun Fest
  • Ottawa Jazz Festival
  • Muhtadi’s International DrumFest, Tobago
  • Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argos and Blue Jays half-time shows
  • a regular guest performer for Canadian Flamenco phenomenon Jesse Cook: Governor General Awards, Canada Day in Ottawa, concerts in Montreal and Toronto, as well as appearing on two of Cook’s CDs and his recent DVD The Rumba Foundation
  • The SQUAD opened for Grammy and Juno award-winning singer Sarah McLachlan in sold out shows in London and Toronto.
  • August 2007 The SQUAD performed at Cree Fest in Kashechewan (James Bay) for the town’s 50th anniversary.

Samba Squad performance options

The Drum Group: Mobile and Powerful; percussion, chant vocals and high energy performance, from 10-30 players.

The Stage Show: (requires full production) A unique blend of drums, vocals and plugged-in rhythm section. Dance and street theatre can be added through our networking with dance companies and Red Pepper Spectacle Arts.

Samba Squad: grown in Toronto