Naná Vasconcelos

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Naná Vasconcelos
Nana Vasconcelos.jpg
Vasconcelos performing in Brazil, 2005
Background information
Birth nameJuvenal de Holanda Vasconcelos
Born(1944-08-02)2 August 1944
Recife, Brazil
Died9 March 2016(2016-03-09) (aged 71)
Recife, Brazil
GenresBrazilian, jazz, world
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter
Instruments Percussion, berimbau, vocals
Years active1973–2016
Associated acts Pat Metheny

Juvenal de Holanda Vasconcelos, known as Naná Vasconcelos (2 August 1944 – 9 March 2016), was a Brazilian percussionist, vocalist and berimbau player, notable for his work as a solo artist on over two dozen albums, and as a backing musician with Pat Metheny, Don Cherry, Björk, Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Gato Barbieri, and Milton Nascimento.



Vasconcelos was born in Recife, Brazil. Beginning from 1967 he joined many artists' works as a percussionist. Among his many collaborations, he contributed to four Jon Hassell albums from 1976 to 1980 (including Possible Musics by Brian Eno and Hassell), and later to several Pat Metheny Group works and Jan Garbarek concerts from early 1980s to early 1990s. In 1984 he appeared on the Pierre Favre album Singing Drums along with Paul Motian. He also appears on Arild Andersen's album If You Look Far Enough with Ralph Towner. [1]

He formed a group named Codona with Don Cherry and Collin Walcott, which released three albums in 1978, 1980 and 1982. [2] [3] [4]

Between 1984 and 1989, he was the Honorary President of the first samba school in the UK, the London School of Samba. [5]

In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio. In 1998, Vasconcelos contributed "Luz de Candeeiro" to the AIDS benefit compilation album Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon produced by the Red Hot Organization. [6] [7]

Vasconcelos was awarded the Best Percussionist Of The Year by the Down Beat Critics Poll for seven consecutive years, from 1984 to 1990. [8] He was also honored with eight Grammy Awards. [9]

Vasconcelos was diagnosed with lung cancer in mid 2015. [10] He died from the disease on 9 March 2016, in Recife. [11]


Vasconcelos has played congas, berimbau, gourd, triangle, drums, cymbals, repique, tambourine, gong, caxixi, talking drum, cuica, shaker, palmas, pandeiro, zabumba, udu, cabasa, prato, tambor, hi-hats, bells, water drum, vibraphone, güiro, ganza, cowbell, tabla, xequere, Turkish drum, repique, cymbals, surdo, shells, African bells, agogo bells, clay pot, timpani, snare drum, flexatone, Tibetan gong and other assorted percussion. [12]


As leader

As sideman

With Ambitious Lovers

With Arild Andersen

With Gato Barbieri

With Don Cherry

With Codona

With Pino Daniele

With Eliane Elias

With Jan Garbarek

With Egberto Gismonti

With Jon Hassell

With Arto Lindsay

With Pat Metheny

With Milton Nascimento

With Caetano Veloso

With others

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  1. "If You Look Far Enough: Arild Andersen, Ralph Towner, Nana Vasconcelos". ECM Records. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  2. Michael G. Nastos. "Codona | Biography & History". AllMusic . Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. Palmer, Robert (28 June 1982). "Jazz Festival – A Study Of Folk-Jazz Fusion". The New York Times . Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  4. Palmer, Robert (3 September 1987). "Jazz – Don Cherry". The New York Times . Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  5. "Home - London School of Samba". London School of Samba. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  6. "Various Artists: Onda Sonora: Red Hot & Lisbon: Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  7. "Various Artists: Onda Sonora: Red Hot & Lisbon". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  8. "DownBeat Magazine". Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  9. "Entertainment News, Celebrity and Pop Culture – ABC News". 7 May 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  10. "Percussionist Naná Vasconcelos dies". Jazz FM. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  11. "Lenda da percussão brasileira, Naná Vasconcelos morre aos 71 anos – Últimas Notícias – UOL Música". UOL Música (in Portuguese). Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  12. "Naná Vasconcelos - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic . Retrieved 29 September 2017.