Nana Vasconcelos

Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s


Juvenal de Hollanda Vasconcelos, 2 August 1944, Recife, Brazil. Vasconcelos began playing bongos and maracas with his guitarist father’s group at the age of 12, later joining a bossa nova band on the drums. His big break came in the mid-60s when he was offered a place in singer Milton Nascimento’s band and he moved to Rio De Janeiro. He learned the berimbau, a traditional Brazilian instrument with a single wire that is repeatedly buzzed and a gourd resonator that is tapped. In 1971 Gato Barbieri brought him to New York and then to Europe. At the end of the tour he stayed on in Europe for two years, recording and playing and also working with handicapped children. During this period he met jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, who was then living in Sweden and exploring all aspects of world folk music. Vasconcelos also recorded with Egberto Gismonti for ECM Records, notably on the inspiring 1976 album Danca Das Cabeças.

In 1976 he...

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