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In February of 1922, the Oito Batutas [which roughly translates as the “Eight Conductor’s Wands”] (though there were actually seven of them, later renamed Les Batutas) did a 6-month stint in Paris. They performed in 3 nightclubs, most notably Shéhérazade, a “magical Montmartre establishment” run by Duque, a Brazilian dancer who popularized the maxixe in Europe. In the local press, the “curious orchestra” was synonymous with “la samba”, the “new fashionable dance”. Upon their return, the group began experimenting with new sounds. “Almost everyone changed their instruments. They played the banjo guitar, the banjo cavaquinho etc. This was the influence of Paris,” said Pixinguinha, who also started playing the saxophone. In the 1960s, when asked if the Batutas were aware that they were the first artists to take Brazilian popular music abroad, Donga didn’t miss a beat: “Without a doubt, we always were. We went there with our nerve, our courage and our instruments.”