Naná Vasconcelos

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Naná Vasconcelos
Naná 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
InstrumentsPercussion, berimbau, vocals
Years active1973–2016
Associated actsPat 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.

He formed a group named Codona with Don Cherry and Collin Walcott, which released three albums in 1978, 1980 and 1982.[1][2][3]

Between 1984 and 1989, he was the Honorary President of the first samba school in the UK, the London School of Samba.[4]

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.

Vasconcelos was awarded the Best Percussionist Of The Year by the Down Beat Critics Poll for seven consecutive years, from 1984 to 1990.[5] He was also honored with eight Grammy Awards.[6]

Vasconcelos was diagnosed with lung cancer in mid 2015.[7] He died from the disease on 9 March 2016, in Recife.[8]


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.[9]


As leader[edit]

As contributor[edit]

With Gato Barbieri

With Walter Bishop, Jr.

With Safy Boutella

With Ron Carter

With Codona

With Don Cherry

With Pierre Favre

With Jan Garbarek

With Egberto Gismonti

With Danny Gottlieb

With Pat Metheny

With Jim Pepper

With Woody Shaw

With Gary Thomas

With Talking Heads

With Jon Hassell

With Ginger Baker

With Paul Simon

With B.B. King

With Mauricio Maestro

  • Upside Down

With Arto Lindsay

With Milton Nascimento

  • Maria Maria/Último Trem (2005)
  • Melhor de Milton Nascimento (1999)
  • Angelus (1994)
  • Miltons (1989)
  • Journey to Dawn (1979)
  • Geraes (1976)
  • Milagre dos Peixes (1973)

With Os Mutantes

With Herb Alpert

With Ron Carter

  • Patrão (1980)

With Chaka Khan

With Jeremy Steig and Eddie Gómez

With Collin Walcott

  • Works (1980)

With Sergio Mendes

With Jack DeJohnette

  • Invisible Forces (1987)

With Ambitious Lovers

With Laurie Anderson

With Caetano Veloso

With Debbie Harry

With Carly Simon

With Ryuichi Sakamoto

With Trilok Gurtu

  • Living Magic (1991)

With Vienna Boys' Choir

  • Around the World: Where Jazz Meets World Music (1991)

With David Sanborn

With John Zorn

With Penguin Cafe Orchestra

  • Union Café (1993)


  1. ^ Michael G. Nastos. "Codona | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  2. ^ Palmer, Robert (1982-06-28). "Jazz Festival – A Study Of Folk-Jazz Fusion". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  3. ^ Palmer, Robert (1987-09-03). "Jazz – Don Cherry". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  4. ^ "Home - London School of Samba". London School of Samba. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  5. ^ "DownBeat Magazine". Archived from the original on 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  6. ^ "Entertainment News, Celebrity and Pop Culture – ABC News". 2016-05-07. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  7. ^ "Percussionist Naná Vasconcelos dies". Jazz FM. 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  8. ^ "Lenda da percussão brasileira, Naná Vasconcelos morre aos 71 anos – Últimas Notícias – UOL Música". UOL Música (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2016-03-09.
  9. ^ "Naná Vasconcelos - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 September 2017.

External links[edit]