Bloco do Sol San José was created by Jimmy Biala in 2012. The ensemble started out as a class attended by fellow Teaching Artists, who at that time were based at the School of Arts and Culture in the Mexican Heritage Plaza in East San José, California. After 3 years of initial development, our original group of drummers eventually expanded into a performing ensemble playing rhythms from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and Yuko became the dance director of the group. 

In 2018 Jimmy decided to change the artistic direction of the ensemble to focus on the samba styles of the escolas de samba of Rio de Janeiro. We also began our relationship of learning and mentorship under Mestre Ailton Nunes of Rio de Janeiro that continues to the present day. Bloco do Sol San José contributes to the vibrant and diverse cultural landscape of the South Bay area and we continue to share our passion for Brazilian culture through our exciting and inspiring performances and workshops with special guest artists from Brazil.

Jimmy Biala

Bateria Music Director

Jimmy is a professional musician and has been a music educator since 1997. 

He teaches unique percussion programs from Brazil and Cuba and is the founder and director of the group, Bloco do Sol San José.

He is also a current member of the Beija-Flor de Nilópolis samba school bateria in Rio de Janeiro, which is the first distinction for a non-Brazilian national.

Jimmy also performs regularly with Lewis Jordan’s Music At Large and with the Intertribal Ensemble, directed by John-Carlos Perea of the Sound and Social Justice Collective.


Dance Director

Yuko has intensively trained Samba no Pé in addition to years of learning and immersing in Samba and related dances from Brazil. Most recently, she paraded in Rio Carnaval with Paraíso do Tuiutí under the guidance of Alex Coutinho.

Yuko has also trained in the Silvestre Technique in Salvador, Bahia with Rosangela Silvestre and Vera Passos, as well as in the dances of the Orixa with master teacher Jorge Alabé.

Through discovering the possibilities of movements and rhythms, her vision is to share the feeling of connection between individuals and the community, nurturing harmony with our body and mind as the base of creative expression and interaction.