The Diverse Creative Universe of Carlinhos Brown

Learn about the life and career of the composer and multi-instrumentalist who know teaches a course on Domestika

Carlinhos Brown (@carlinhos_brown) was the first Brazilian musician to be appointed as Ibero-American Ambassador of Culture and to become a member of the Oscars Academy. He is a singer, composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist, a judge on The Voice Brasil, and has worked on The Voice Kids. He will also soon publish a course on Domestika.

In the course Introduction to Percussion: Discover the Magic of Rhythm, the artist demonstrates the power of percussion instruments, not just for music but for universal communication. In addition to shedding light on his career path and influences, Carlinhos talks about the power of percussive communication, taking us on a journey through his ancestral past in which he will present instruments from different parts of the world.

The course also covers topics such as composing and arranging and include tips on recording and editing. Be sure to check out the trailer!

Carlinhos’ story

Carlinhos Brown, the stage name of Antônio Carlos Santos de Freitas, is one of the most creative and innovative artists in Brazilian culture. Besides being one of the creators of "axé music" and "samba reggae", the singer, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist has produced more than 800 songs.

His compositions and sounds–which are full of poetry, rhythm, and sensitivity–have touched the lives of thousands of people around the world.

Carlinhos Brown is a singer, composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist, and, now, a Domestika teacher.

It was in the early 1990s, in the Brazilian neighborhood of Candeal Pequeno de Brotas, in Salvador, Bahia, that Brown founded the music group Timbalada.

The group reinvented the sound of the timbau, or Brazilian timbal, and created other instruments out of it, such as the bacurinha, the surdos-virados, and the rubber nose.

The musician also launched and led social projects in this neighborhood, such as the Pracatum Music School and the Tá Rebocada project. Thousands of children in need in Bahia are given access to courses in music, languages, fashion, recycling, workshops, and school.

Among these projects’ partners are the Ministries of Education and Labor, and Unesco.

The Diverse Creative Universe of Carlinhos Brown 5
Carlinhos Brown (Antônio C. Santos de Freitas) is one of the most creative and innovative artists in Brazilian culture.

Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, such as a Goya and two Latin Grammys (in 2003 for the album Tribalistas and in 2004 for the album Carlinhos Brown é Carlito Marrón), as well as more than ten Latin Grammy nominations.

In 2012, Brown and Sérgio Mendes were up for an Oscar for Best Original Song for their work on the song Real in Rio from the movie Rio.

Not just a percussionist, he is also a composer

Magalenha, one of Brown’s compositions, revolutionized music production in Brazil. It was first recorded in 1992 by Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes for the album Brasileiro, which featured vocals by Brown.

It has since been reworked by various artists and continues to be remixed by DJs all around the world. Recently, Carlinhos dropped a new version, and singer Gloria Estefan covered the song.

Brown’s influence on Carnival in Salvador, one of the most important festivals in Brazilian culture, can be seen today in the “ensaios da Timbalada” and the “electric trios”.

Percussion has played an essential role in Carlinhos Brown's artistic career, but it was not until 1996 that the artist released his first album, Alfagamabetizado (Virgin/EMI-Odeon), which marked a new chapter in his career.

Carlinhos is also one of the top composers today in Brazil and has produced countless hits for other artists that have conquered the music scene.

The Diverse Creative Universe of Carlinhos Brown 9
Percussion has played an essential role in Carlinhos Brown's artistic career.

Among his most successful songs are Muito obrigado, axé, recorded by Ivete Sangalo and Maria Bethânia, in 2009; Selva Branca, with Vevé Calazans, recorded by Chiclete com Banana in 1988; Uma brasileira, by the group Paralamas do Sucesso, in 1995; Mais um na multidão, sung by Erasmo Carlos; Remexer, sung by Elba Ramalho and composed with Luiz Caldas, in 1986; Rapunzel with Daniela Mercury, in 1996; and Maimbê Dandá, composed by Brown and Mateus Aleluia, in 2004.

Tribalists and the first decade of the 21st century

In 2002, together with his artist friends Marisa Monte and Arnaldo Antunes, he launched the Tribalistas project, one of the most important of his career and a milestone in Brazilian music.

The album sold more than one million records and spawned hits such as Já Sei Namorar and Velha Infância.

The three artists also collaborated on numerous compositions on albums by Marisa Monte, such as Não É Fácil, Infinito Particular, and O rio.

In 2017, the trio reunited after 15 years to release an unedited album with songs such as Diáspora and Aliança. In addition to releasing the album, they also performed 35 concerts in 29 cities in South America, Europe, and the United States, gathering more than 250,000 spectators. Despite the success of the album and the tour, the group took a break after.

The Voice Brasil and the second decade of the 21st century

Since 2012, Carlinhos has been on the judging panel of The Voice Brasil with Claudia Leitte, Daniel, and Lulu Santos, thus broadening the scope of his work and his influence on Brazilian culture.

He has also worked on The Voice Kids since 2016.

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Since 2012, Carlinhos has been on the judging panel of The Voice Brasil.

In 2014, he was crowned king of percussion by the Portela samba school in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and in 2015 he returned to the stages of Rock in Rio alongside his friend Sérgio Mendes. During this period, Carlinhos also recorded the song La La La - Brazil 2014 with Shakira, which was the theme song for the 2014 World Cup.

In 2020, the artist released his albums Umbalista, Axé Inventions (Àjàààlà), and Paxuá e Paramim em: A floresta dos rios voadores, a children's album that brings together 10 songs with messages about looking after the environment. He released these projects under his own record label, Candyall Music.

In 2020, Carlinhos Brown was the subject of a Ph.D. thesis in Spain by artist Durce Coelho on activist art. That same year, Carlinhos composed three new songs, Teia da Felicidade, Louvada Seja Dulce, and ABOTA, in addition to the soundtrack for the new show by the talented Deborah Colker, entitled Cura.

In 2021, he released Umbalista Verão (Ao Vivo)... and all that is yet to come!

Did you enjoy this summary of Carlinhos Brown's career? Be sure to check out his course Introduction to Percussion: Discover the Magic of Rhythm. Carlinhos will teach you about the power of percussion both as a musical instrument and a tool for universal communication.

English version by @eloiseedgington.

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