|Other names||Puíta, Quíca|
|Classification||Membranophone, single-head tubular drum, conical, ring-screw-mount hardware|
|Developed||Brazil - Afro-Brazilian|
Cuíca (Portuguese pronunciation: [kuˈikɐ]), or "kuweeca", is a Brazilian friction drum with a large pitch range, produced by changing tension on the head of the drum. Cuíca is Portuguese for a type of small opossum which is known to make a high-pitched sound. It is most often used in samba music. The tone it produces has a high-pitched squeaky timbre. It has been called a 'laughing gourd' due to this sound.
There are a number of styles of cuíca found around the globe. Its origins are disputed. Different sources trace it to Bantu slaves, to Spain, and to Muslim traders. It is also believed that the cuica was used in Africa as a call for the male lion since the sound mimics the roar of the female lioness. The instrument was introduced to Brazil by African slaves, where it found its place in Samba music.
The cuíca has a wooden stick fastened at one end inside the drum in the center of the drumhead. This stick is rosined and rubbed with a cloth. Changing the pressure on this stick produces the different pitches and timbres. The body of the cuíca is normally made of metal, gourd or synthetic material. It has a single head, normally 6 to 10 inches in diameter (15–25 cm), made of animal skin. A thin bamboo stick is attached to the center of, and perpendicular to, the drum head, extending into the drum's interior. The instrument is held under one arm at chest height with the help of a shoulder strap. To play the cuíca, the musician rubs the stick up and down with a wet cloth held in one hand, using the fingers of the other hand to press down on the skin of the drum near the place where the stick is attached. The rubbing motion produces the sound and the pitch is increased or decreased by changing the pressure on the head.
The cuíca is used to accompany a variety of different folk and urban popular dances. For example, it may be part of the instrumental ensemble for the May dança de Santa Cruz or for the moçambique dramatic dance (bailado) in Minas Gerais. It also is used in Holy Cross dances and processions and in performances of São Paulo rural sambas.
The cuíca plays an important rhythmic role in samba music of all kinds. It is particularly notable as a fixture of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival groups, which feature entire sections of cuíca players. It is so commonly used in radio-oriented samba music that in the absence of a cuíca player, Brazilian singers or other musicians imitate the sound of the cuíca with their voices. An example of this imitation can be heard on the intro part of Dizzy Gillespie's version of Chega de Saudade (from the "Dizzy on the French Riviera" album, 1965) composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Along with samba, the cuíca is one of the mainly used Brazilian instruments in jazz-rock, free jazz, and Latin jazz.
In popular music
Examples of the cuíca in popular music include:
- Baden Powell de Aquino's live rendition of "Tristeza" from the documentary Canto on Guitar
- Jorge Ben uses the cuíca in many of his songs.
- Os Mutantes often used the cuíca in their music.
- Trio Mocoto
- Seu Jorge's "Convite Para Vida" performed for the soundtrack of the movie City of God
- Walter Wanderley Taste of Sadness
- Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova" (1961)
- Miles Davis's later work, where it is played by Airto Moreira, such as on the Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West, Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the Fillmore East, Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time albums and the track "Feio" on the Bitches Brew CD reissue (1999)
- McCoy Tyner's Atlantis album on several songs,[which?] played by Guilherme Franco (1973)
- Jeff Lorber's "Chinese Medicinal Herbs" off the album Jeff Lorber Fusion (1977) and "The Samba" off the album Soft Space. (1978)
- Pat Metheny Group's It's Just Talk starting at 0:11 and continuing to 1:11, from the album Still Life (1987)
Pop and rock music
- The Millennium's "To Claudia on Thursday" from the album Begin (1968)
- Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" (1971)
- Chicago's "You Are On My Mind" from the album Chicago X (1976)
- The Rolling Stones "Dance, Pt. 1" from the album Emotional Rescue (1978/79)
- Depeche Mode's "A Question of Time" from the album Black Celebration (1985)
- Tenor Saw's "Shirley Jones" from the album Fever (1986)
- David Byrne's "Office Cowboy" from the album Rei Momo (1989)
- Barenaked Ladies' "Enid" from the album Gordon (1992)
- Beastie Boys' "Lighten Up" from Check Your Head during the breakdown (Played by Juanito Vazquez)
- Ani DiFranco's "Pick Yer Nose" from the album Puddle Dive (1993)
- Fishbone's "The Warmth of Your Breath" on the album Give a Monkey a Brain and He'll Swear He's the Center of the Universe (1993)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers "Walkabout" from the album One Hot Minute (1994/95), played by Lenny Castro
- Beck's "High Five (Rock the Catskills)" on the album Odelay (1996), starting at 2:10 and finishing at 2:30; and on "Tropicalia" from the album Mutations (1998) played by Smokey Hormel
- Smoke City's "Underwater Love" from the album Flying Away (1997)
- Chancho en Piedra's "Eden" from the album La Dieta del Lagarto (1997)
- Los Tetas' Primavera from the album La Medicina (1997)
- 311's "Stealing Happy Hours" from Transistor (1997)
- Dido's "Thank You" (1998), sample played by a computer
- Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade's "Whamola", from the album Purple Onion (2002)
- Miho Hatori's "Barracuda" from her solo album Ecdysis (2005), played by Mauro Rofosco
- Tapes 'n Tapes' "The Illiad" from the album The Loon (2006)
- Gruff Rhys's "Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru" from the album Candylion (2006)
- Nick Cave's "Moonland" from the album Dig Lazarus Dig (2007), played by Jim Sclavunos
- Kylie Minogue's "Sensitized" from the album X (2007)
- Zach Ashton's "Come Home" from the album The Distance Between Us (2011)
- Don Omar's "Taboo" (2011)
- Bruno Mars's "Locked Out of Heaven" from the album "Unorthodox Jukebox" (2012)
- Scott Walker's "Corps De Blah" from the album Bish Bosch (2012)
Soul and R&B
- Serge Gainsbourg's duet with Bridgette Bardot on the song Bonnie and Clyde, originally appearing on his 1968 album Initials B.B.
- Stevie Wonder's "Bird of Beauty" from the album Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974), performed by Bobbye Hall
- Earth, Wind & Fire's "Clover" from the album Head to the Sky (1973)
- Marvin Gaye's "Come Live with Me Angel" from the album I Want You (1975)
- Captain Sky's "Ker-Runch" on his album "Pop Goes Captain." (1979)
- Funkadelic "(Not Just) Knee Deep" (1979), played by Larry Fratangelo
- Linda Clifford's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" from the album Let Me Be Your Woman (1979)
- Cameo's "I Just Want to Be" (Secret Omen, 1979), "Your Love Takes Me Out", "Flirt" (Alligator Woman, 1982)
- Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (1983)
- Jamiroquai's "Music of the Mind" from the album Emergency on Planet Earth (1992/93), performed by Nick van Gelder
- Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Could You Be Loved" (1980)
- Mighty Diamonds "Kinarky" from the album Pass the Kouchie (1985)
- Bunny Wailer's "Reggae Burden" from the album Gumption (1990)
- Jerry Goldsmith's "The Hunt " from the soundtrack to "Planet of the Apes (1968 film)" (1968)
- Johnny Mandel's "Suicide Is Painless" from the M*A*S*H film soundtrack (1970)
- Gérard Calvi's "L'île du plaisir" from the soundtrack to "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" (1976)
- Jerry Goldsmith's "Night of the Beast" from the soundtrack album to "Poltergeist" (1982)
- Philippe Rombi's "Main Titles" from the soundtrack to "Mensonges et trahisons et plus si affinités..." (2004)
- Beastie Boys' "Twenty Questions" (1999)
- Schechter, John. "Cuica". Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "Cuica". BBC Guide Entry. June 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "Cuica". Grinnell College Music Instrument Collection. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "The Cuica". Mid-East Ethnic Instruments. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
- Kernfeild, Barry. "Cuica". The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd Edition. Oxford Music Online.
- Perone, James E. The Sound of Stevie Wonder: His Words and Music. The Praeger Singer-songwriter collection. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 62. ISBN 0-275-98723-X.