Director & Founder
Stacy Kovacs hails from sunny Buffalo, NY where she grew up playing piano and taking tap dance lessons at age 5 and percussion at age 8. She was in many different musical organizations as a drummer throughout her youth, and eventually learned trombone. With her trombone she played jazz with Dick Clark’s American bandstand show for high school students, marched up Main Street USA at Disney World, Orlando, FL, and was a participant in the 1993 opening ceremonies of the World University Games. Stacy then took her trombone to Michigan State University where she majored in Marching Band (actually, Physiology), and had opportunities to play at two NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments, 3 BCS Bowl Games (including the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii), and countless other events. Stacy then pursued graduate school and in the process put music aside. Fortunately, her medical training brought her to NYC in 2005 where she picked up the trombone again and joined the Big Apple Corps Marching band and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. Missing the drumming she did as a child, she found Philip Galinsky and Samba NY!, Ivo Araujo and Manhattan Samba , and Scott Kettner and Maracatu, NY. These top notch musicians showed her the ways of Brazilian percussion. Playing at the Honk Festival in Boston in 2009, she first saw Marcus Santos and his AfroBrazil Bloco. She was blown away by the polyrhythms and variations of traditional Brazilian Rhythms. In the meantime, she discovered Batala, a global drumming project with many identical bands who play the same rhythms, and in 2012, Stacy founded Batala NYC.
Batala NYC quickly exploded on the NYC music scene, with notable performances such as opening for the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour, accompanying Lourde and Disclosure on Saturday Night Live, being the only band chosen for the remake of the Halloween Parade for the 2016 blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, opening and playing with the singer My Brightest Diamond, and playing for the FIFA Women’s World Cup celebration for Team USA at City Hall in NYC. Throughout Batala NYC’s 4 year history, they played over 400 shows, parades, events, parties, gala’s, and festivals. Batala NYC was even on the cover of Tom Tom Magazine in their first year of existence! After nearly 5 years of leading Batala NYC, and a desire for more artistic liberty and musical challenges, Stacy dissolved Batala NYC in June 2016 and started her own group, FogoAzul NYC! The group is part of Marcus Santos’s Grooversity education project.
Stacy currently works as a Physician Assistant saving lives in the emergency room of a major NYC hospital and lives with her overly affectionate cats.