Dendê is a percussionist, singer, composer, bandleader, teacher, and multi-instrumentalist. He’s been a professional musician since the age of 14, when he appeared in the frontline of Timbalada, Carlinhos Brown’s superstar percussion ensemble. Since 2001, he’s been splitting his time between New York and Bahia, and has played with Dance Brazil, Melvin Gibbs, Graham Haynes, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussain, David Byrne, and Vinicius Cantuária among many others. His own bands include the folkloric music and dance troupe Ologundê, the acoustic Samba de Três, and Arrastão do Dendê, a traditional Afro bloco (samba party band), but it’s as leader and principal songwriter of his flagship band that Dendê has made his greatest impact.
The band, formerly called Hãhãhães, has been packing clubs and festivals up and down the East Coast and internationally for the past five years most notably at the Atrium at Lincoln Center, the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, the Penang World Music Festival in Malaysia, the Lake Eden Arts Festival in North Carolina and the Kalalu Festival in Saint Lucia among many other prestigious venues and events. Combining Brazil’s rhythm heavy music with the grooves of afrobeat, reggae, merengue, and others from around the world the band showcases the its sizzling showmanship and versatility through a dance party atmosphere.