Best Percussionist

In a city of conga players, bell clangers, and maracas shakers, Brazilian percussionist Claudio Silva stands apart. The largest country in Latin America, Brazil also boasts the greatest number of percussion instruments, from the Amazonian rattle to the booming surdo of the samba schools. Silva dominates them all. The versatile musician got his start at the age of twelve, playing Afro-Brazilian folk music in his native Rio de Janeiro. Since then he has been an important figure on the Brazilian bossa nova and jazz scene in the United States, recording with heavyweights such as Bob Moses, David Byrne, John Zorn, and Gil Santos. He lends his talented hands to Miami musicians Angela Patua and Orlando Landinho when not touring with his own jazz ensemble, named for the famous Brazilian tamborim player Esgoleba. Silva came to the United States in 1978, playing regularly in clubs like the Blue Note in New York City and Café Brasil in New Orleans before settling permanently in Miami in 1994. His accomplishments in jazz have not taken him away from the more popular traditions. He founded the first samba school in the United States in New York City's Lower East Side and this past April debuted with a new samba band, So Samba, at the Carna Bay Brazilian festival at Bayfront Park.


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