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 Mongo Santamaria, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussain, David Byrne, and Vinicius Cantuária. 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 throughout the US and internationally for the past five years most. The have been presented most notably by Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the World Music Institute, the Cedar Cultural Center, the Old Town School for Folk Music, Joe’s Pub, World Café Live and Johnny D’s among many others. They have been featured at festivals such as the Marquette Waterfront Festival in Madison, WI; the Lake Eden Arts Festival in North Carolina; the Kalalu Festival in Saint Lucia.
Dendê & Band will be releasing their second album, Back to Bahia in March 2013. Combining Brazil’s rhythm heavy music with the grooves of afrobeat, reggae, merengue, and others from around the world Back to Bahia showcases the band’s sizzling showmanship and versatility.
The album includes special guests such as Ilê Aiyê, Melvin Gibbs, Graham Haynes, Vinicius Cantuaria, Magary Lord, Luizinho do Gege (Daniela Mercury) and Gerson Silva & Mikael Mutti (Carlinhos Brown) among many others. The band will be touring throughout 2013/2014 to promote the album.