Afro-Brazilian Rhythm Workshop: Afoxé, Samba, and Beyond!

Part of the CSU Summer Arts Festival 2012 @ CSU Monterey Bay
Course Dates: July 16 to July 29, 2012
Application Deadline: May 18, 2012

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  • Learn and perform a range of music styles from Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: including sacred rhythms of Candomblé, samba duro, afoxé, samba afro, samba reggae, samba funk and more!
  • Study with master sambistas direct from Brazil: Mario Pam of Ilê Aiyê and Ivo Meirelles of Mangueira.
  • Perform arrangements from Ilê Aiyê and Mangueira, two of Brazil’s most famous samba groups that represent the roots and creative genius of Afro-Brazilian music and culture.
  • Experience a variety of Afro-Brazilian percussion instruments, learn performance techniques, and understand the role of each instrument within the music as a whole.
  • Create a new rhythm based on a fusion of various styles.
  • This course will culminate in a public performance of student work.


Undergraduate: MUSIC 420, 3 units

Graduate: MUSIC 620, 3 units



The focus of the instruction in this course is on percussion. However, the course is open to musicians of all kinds: percussionists, string players, flautists, vocalists, etc. Students interested in composition are encouraged to enroll as well. All students will learn percussion and key concepts of Brazilian music. The range of genres covered in the course will offer opportunities for harmonic musicians to incorporate their main instrument into the full ensemble, and instructors are prepared to work many different instrumentalists. Ideally, students should have at least an intermediate level of proficiency on their instrument (whether percussion or harmonic). Performance experience in Brazilian or other Latin or African music styles is a plus as well. The most important requirement, though, is enthusiasm.

There will be a selection process because space for this one-of-a-kind workshop is limited.

  1. Applicants should submit:

a) A short essay (500 words max) about their musical experience and the specific reasons for their interest in this course.

b) A work sample that demonstrates proficiency in music (all instruments welcome). Audio CDs or DVDs are acceptable. Please be sure to include a brief description of the sample to orient reviewers, and be sure to distinguish the applicant from other musicians that may be performing as well.

c) A resume (be sure to note all languages spoken by the applicant).

2.  Send the materials listed in step one with your completed Registration Form to the Summer Arts office by May 18, 2012.

Professor Umi Vaughan

Mario Pam of Ilê Aiyê

Mario Pam is from Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, and began his musical career in 1991 as a founding member of Ilê Aiyê’s youth percussion ensemble. In 2000, he became one of the Percussion Directors of the adult group. Since then he has been creating innovative repertory and directing 150 percussionists for the annual Carnival celebration in Salvador. Mario founded and currently directs an international samba group called Tambores do Mundo (Drums of the World). He has participated as a featured performer and instructor at events in Brazil, Europe, Africa, and the United States.


Ilê Aiyê was founded in 1974, and was the first “bloco afro” or black samba organization in Salvador, Brazil to revolutionize the genres called samba afro and samba reggae. This distinctive style fuses samba with sacred Afro-Brazilian rhythms like ijexá, as well as music styles from throughout the Americas and Africa such as merengue, hip-hop, and soukous.

Ivo Meirelles from Mangueira

Ivo Meirelles is a true representative of Brazilian music. His roots come from the famous samba school Mangueira in Rio de Janeiro. His samba compositions have been made famous during Mangueira’s carnival processions. Ivo founded an innovative group called Funk ‘n’ Lata that fuses elements from R&B, hip-hop, and funk with Afro-Brazilian rhythms. He is the current President of Mangueira.

Visit and

Mangueira is Brazil’s flagship escola de samba from Rio de Janeiro. It was among the first samba schools founded in the 1930s and has won Brazil’s annual samba competition many times. Mangueira is known for its unique interpretation of the classic Rio de Janeiro samba groove.

Check out these videos of guest artists in action:

Ilê Aiyê – Mario Pam on the bass drum

An interview with Mario Pam

Ivo Meirelles with Funk ‘n’ Lata


Remember, California residents can take 2 courses (up to 6 units) for the same tuition dollars!