The Bata drum has an animal skin head on both ends. Played by the Yoruba tribe from Nigeria at religious ceremonies, they are also used in Cuba for sacred music of the Santaria religion. The rhythms are often in a syncopated 6/8.
In Cuba three different sizes of bata drums are used in a persussion ensemble. The smallest is called the "okónkolo" (child), and plays varying basic rhythms. The middle sized drum, called the "itótele" (father) and the largest drum, called the "iyá" (mother) play very syncopated rhythms which can be thought of as a conversation. The iya is usually in the middle and the most experienced musician usually plays this drum. The okónkolo sits on the right and the itótele is on the left. The iyá has bells on both sides which sound when the bass tone of the drum is struck. In addition to the three drummers a fourth percussionist playing a bell is usually included in the ensemble, and plays what is referred to as a clave part.
On each drum the smaller head, which has the higher tone, is called the "cha-cha". The larger head is called the "boca". Batas are traditionally made of wood but are now also made of fiberglass. There is also an all-wood version with no skin heads. Batas are usually played on the lap and often secured to the legs of the player by a strap.
Hear the Bata on ' "Five" ' from 'Svadharma.