Batata Doce
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Batata Doce

Band Rock Latin


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Batata Doce @ 529

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Batata Doce @ The Earl

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Batata Doce @ Greater Good Festival

Pensacola, Florida, USA

Pensacola, Florida, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Batata Doce (meaning "sweet potato" in Portuguese, for all you English-only speaking gringos out there) started off as a mere duo back in 2007, composing then of singer/guitarist Leticia Arioli and Russell Owens. Over time, with the gradual additions of Justin Sias (Elevado), Todd Morrison (Pistolero), Justin Hughes (Rock*A*Teens) and latest member Todd Barnett on saxophone, the band has finally found itself in an incarnation in which it feels comfortable enough to release its first official release, a three-song self-titled EP.

A mixture of several different Latin-American musical styles all at once, including what sounds like to be salsa, bossa nova and traditional Brazilian music, (among others), the group also likes to experiment with genre norms by flirting with rock and even adding a little punk and ska edge to the mix for good measure.

The band becomes a well-oiled dance machine on this teaser of a record, with all of the musicians on it very much technically gifted; yet one never overshadows another for center-stage attention. The opening track, "A Menina," benefits from Arioli's breezy-style of singing and guitar playing, creating the perfect balance with well-timed cymbals, heavy bass lines and intricate guitar. Like a nice mojito, it is finished much too quickly (in this case, with an abrupt stop) and leaves you with a good buzz that lasts until the next two songs.

"Corda Bamba" sounds like a song Manu Chao and his crew would easily have put on a future record, had Batata not beat them to it first, with its feet-moving beats and horns. The last track "Queda de Quatro" is perhaps the best, switching up the relaxed, breezy style found in the previous songs for a more focused and anxious demeanor. The beautiful guitar solo winds down the song to satisfying and dizzying conclusion. Since this record is currently only available at the band’s live shows, it simply only gives one more reason to check out the group and dance to its music when the band come to a city near you. (Soundlab 84, New Street) - Performer Magazine

Batata Doce is a Georgia-born outfit that combines the worlds of Brazilian folk music and psychedelic Appalachia. Vocalist/guitarist Leticia Arioli hails from Florianopolis, Brazil and her voice brings an authentic spice to the city rhythms and melodies of guitarist Russell Owens, who hails from the mountains of western North Carolina.

Leticia crafts a soulfully high-energy sound of the Portuguese/English variety, while Russell delivers a more traditionally rock-influenced and finger picking guitar style. The two lead a procession of musicians that includes Justin Hughes (guitar), Justin Sias (bass) and Todd Morrison (drums), Todd Barnett (saxophone) and Ripley Torres (percussion).

The group’s self-released, three-song demo (which can be heard here) evoke smooth, Latin lounge sounds and baroque jazz that conceal hints of pop minimalism and garage rock rhythms.

This Sun., Sept. 21 Batata Doce will hit the road for a few tour dates stretching up and down the east coast.

Click below for tour dates.

9/21 BCHQ (Bull City Headuarters) in downtown DURHAM
9/22 The Cave in CHAPEL HILL
9/23 Tea Bazaar in CHARLOTTESVILLE
9/24 Velvet Lounge in WASHINGTON D.C.
9/25 day off
9/26 The Fire in PHILADELPHIA
9/27 Piano’s in MANHATTAN
9/28 Goodbye Blue Mondays in BROOKLYN
9/29 Tritone in PHILADELPHIA
9/30 to be announced in ROANOKE
10/1 The Triple in RICHMOND
10/2 The Spazzatorium in GREENVILLE N.C.
10/3 Hunter Gatherer in COLUMBIA
10/4 The Hangfire in SAVANNAH
3 days off
10/8 The Bottletree in BIRMINGHAM (with CORDERO)
10/9 Atlanta at The Earl (with CORDERO) - Creative Loafing

Atlanta’s Batata Doce is super group of sorts featuring members of Elevado and Missile Command with vocalist Leticia Arioli, who sings in Portugese. The end result is a very interesting breed of Brazilian garage-pop. They are currently on tour, and you can read about their exploits so far at Pine Magazine. Here are their remaining tour dates throughout the Southeast:

Batata Doce Tour Dates:

9/30 - Blacksburg, VA @ XYZ Gallery
10/1 - Richmond, VA @ The Triple
10/2 - Greenville, NC @ Spazzatorium Galleria
10/3 - Columbia, SC @ Hunter-Gatherer Brewery
10/4 - Savannah, GA @ Hang Fire
10/8 - Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
10/9 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl - Ohmpark

Quickly rising among the ranks in the local Atlanta scene, Batata Doce isn't so easy to pin down, as they seem to draw influence from a variety of sources, creating a sound completely their own. Light and fun yet technically savvy, their music blends punk and garage with something a bit Latin, playing perfectly with Brazilian-born vocalist Leticia Arioli's strong and effortless voice.

Doce also has that unique ability to fit comfortably on a stage with bands that range from garage act the Booze and the rock group Mourdella to more Latin-influenced high-energy acts such as Cordero and, recently, Grupo Fantasma. In a town where many of the bands often blend into one particular sound within a certain scene, diversity can be a mighty feat and the group pulls it off well.
Members include Arioli, Russell Owens (of King Congregation), Justin Sias (Elevado, Missile Command), Justin Hughes (ex-Rock*A*Teens, Missile Command and countless other bands) and Todd Morrison (ex-Pistolero).

Batata Doce will be in Jacksonville at the Club TSI Art and Music Variety Mixer August 08 and at Hang Fire in Savannah August 09. Hang Fire is our favorite bar in Savannah, and that show, we think, gives you that perfect reason to finally take that trip down the beach you've been talking about all summer.

In the meantime, though, listen to their song "Corda Bamba" here, and read the interview with Doce singer Leticia Arioli below!

Pine Magazine: You are originally from Florianópolis, Brazil. When did you move the US and what caused you to leave Brazil? What involvement did you have in music there?

Leticia Arioli/Batata Doce: I started playing guitar when I was 14. I had an electric Washburn and I was a great bathroom singer. But it wasn't until I came to the US to travel and learn English (and watch a ton of rock shows) that I started actually performing beyond my four walls. It wasn't until then I started listening to 'traditional" Brazilian music. It took me leaving my home country to fall in love with its music and to appreciate it.

PM: What would you say the difference between music here in the states and in Brazil and the rest of South America?

LA: The difference is in the traditional sounds of every country. Each country in South America has its "staple" music, a sound that is unique for its roots, such as Salsa in Cuba or Tango in Argentina.

Brazil has a variety of traditional music that constitutes its own genres, such as Samba, Funk Carioca, Sertanejo, -- too many to even list here. And even then there's the Bossa Nova, the "Brazilian Jazz," that has become popular in the US as well.

But beyond traditional Brazilian music, all other genres are just as popular. Electronic music. Rock and roll. Reggae. Music nowadays has become so universal that just about any musician that becomes successful in the northern part of the Americas finds its way down south. My Morning Jacket is known in Brazil... Miley Cyrus too! And the US too has a great international selection at most stores -- especially now with the Internet -- and we can pretty much access any kind of music if you know where to search for it. Some perhaps not the main masses but more people than ever before have become familiar with music from around the world.

PM: How did Batata Doce form?

LA: After the King Congregation broke up, a band that me, Russell Owens and Justin Hughes used to be part of, Russell and I started playing with a fellow named John Ferguson and his Stone House Posse band. Eventually a band was born, L' Tiza and the Stone House Posse, with Brazilian beats and singing combining the bluegrass roots of both John and Russell. We played around town, and eventually we ended up straining from it and creating yet another group, Batata Doce, which started as a duo. Russell played his finger pickin' music style and I sang in Portuguese and played an array of hand percussion.

Our first show was at the much missed ISP space, where we met Justin Sias and Todd Morrison, both whom eventually joined the band. A few weeks later, we recruited ex-Rock*A*Teens member Justin Hughes and the band was then complete. We have recently the pleasure of a new addition, Todd Barnett, our saxophonist!

PM: Can you tell me some about both yours and the other band members' approach to your music?

LA: Starts with Russell, either of the Justins or me bringing a song to the table. We all pull from vastly different influences. Some are just riffs, some are complete ideas, some have lyrics and some have none. I sing along to it. Put words in it, and melodies if needed. Once the structure of the song is solid enough, we bring it back to the table so everyone else can work out their parts. And we play the hell out of it. Then we play live and suck. Then we keep playing and it becomes great! On a side note, Russell is in total control of it all. He is the center of attention. He also just made me write that.

PM: How do you feel Batata Doce fits into the Atlanta music scene?

LA: Something you can't identify or classify. The Atlanta music scene is so diverse, and just about anything can happen over here. Being in a band where most find it hard to describe or categorize is quite an honor and makes me fell that because of it, we fit in! Depending on the niches that we put ourselves in, we can either be understood or misunderstood. And I am ok with that.

PM: Batata Doce hosted the Montezuma Film Festival in Costa Rica last year and is slated to do so again this year. How did that come about and can you tell us a little about the experience?

LA: Fun fun fun! It was refreshing to play in such a paradise. Music and beach. Eric Panter, the director of events was introduced to our sound last year and then it was all history. They needed a band and we were in need of adventure, so we jumped in the boat (literally) and traveled to Montezuma. I am looking forward to this year's festival.

PM: You guys have been touring the country in a grease powered bus. How do you get your grease on the road and given the high price of fuel right now? And do you feel it has helped you save money as a touring act?

LA: Absolutely. I don't believe we'd be able to do it otherwise. And these guys (Justin Sias’ band Elevado) have been doing it for many years, before all of the gas crisis. Batata Doce is just lucky to have inherited the rights to travel on it. We get grease from restaurants and bars and just about anyplace that needs to 'dump' their oil somewhere. So far it has been a mutual exchange -- one needs to get rid of it, the other needs to get it.

PM: Anything I haven't asked yet I should?

LA: Maybe influences? They change on a monthly basis. And for weeks sometimes I go without music, believe it or not, and I try to pick up from the silence something that is unique and that I have no idea where it’s coming from. I like not knowing where it comes from. I do have to say that by the time we started putting our ideas together to create this band, I was listening to a lot of Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Jorge Ben and all the psychedelic sounds that came out of Brazil in the 60's and the 70's. Cesaria Evora from Cape Verde, Ruth Brown and Tina (Ike and Tina) were also a great source of inspiration, and I want to say that their singing shapes mine but that may be a real stretch! - Pine Magazine


Corda Bamba EP - September 2008
Radio Tracks: Corda Bamba/A Menina



Batata Doce (Portuguese for “sweet potato”) debuted in the spring of 2007 as a guitar/vocals duo of Atlantans Russell Owens and Leticia Arioli, performing their earliest shows at the underground DIY venue called I.S.P. Space in East Atlanta. Two I.S.P. staff members saw the need for a fuller sound, and thus Justin Sias and Todd Morrison joined on bass and drums. Sias had toured the country as the bassist/frontman of Atlanta’s indie sensation Elevado, and Morrison was playing with a local band called Pistolero. Former Rock*A*Teens member/co-founder Justin Hughes joined next as a 2nd guitarist (having previously played with Arioli and Owens in the Atlanta rock project known as King Congregation), and saxophonist Todd Barnett signed up soon after.

Since then the band has made a name for itself in the Atlanta area for its Tropicalia-influenced psychedelic garage rock sound with mostly Portuguese-language vocals. With songwriting contributions from all members, they have written a diverse set of original material and also are known to throw in the occasional Jorge Ben cover just for fun. Since May 2007 Batata Doce has played over 100 shows and performed with many prominent local, national and international acts, including Anna Kramer & The Lost Cause, Vampire Weekend, Cordero, Grupo Fantasma, Magnapop, Entropy, Noot D' Noot and Los Campesitos. In the fall of 2008 they did a two week tour of the east coast, and are currently working on their debut full length album and getting ready for another two week tour of the east coast this coming February of 2009. They are currently in rotation on Cable Network "Comcast Bands On Demand", where they are featured as a band not to be missed, where they can be seen in an interview and a live performance.

Batata Doce is proud to be part of an Atlanta's music community that the world has finally taken notice of, thanks in no small part to the success of their friends' bands the Black Lips, Deerhunter, Janelle Monae, Mastodon, Snowden and many others. Batata Doce has that unique ability to fit comfortably on a stage with bands that range from garage acts and rock groups such as The Black Lips to more Latin-influenced high-energy acts such as Grupo Fantasma. In a town where many of the bands often blend into one particular sound within a certain scene, diversity can be a mighty feat for this group.