Dende & Band
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Dende & Band

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2002 | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2002
Band World Latin




"CD Review: Dende & Hahahaes – Bahia de Todos os Santos"

This is a really good, oldschool style, mostly roots reggae album from a bunch of A-list New York Brazilian musicians. Dende fronts the band and plays percussion, maybe the reason why there’s so much of it and why it’s so high in the the mix. It’s sort of a trebly alternative to the bottom-heavy, rustically and hypnotically drum-flavored sound popularized by Ras Michael back in the 70s, giving the songs a boost of energy and some cool textures you don’t often hear in classic reggae. Behind Dende there’s Gustavo Dantas on guitar, Ze Grey on bass, Adriano Santos on drums and zabumba, Ze Luis on flute and sax, Carlos Darci on trombone, Takuya Nakamura on trumpet and guests Vinicius Cantuaria on guitar and Amayo from Antibalas supplying vocals on one track. Lyrics are in Portuguese.

The album kicks off with a catchy, upbeat roots reggae number, followed by one that wouldn’t be out of place in the Bob Marley catalog. They follow that with a couple of latin grooves, growing more and more hypnotic. Then they pick up the pace with a fast disco beat, and then a ska number with a Message to You Rudie feel followed by a psychedelic, Santana-style organ interlude. There’s also a smoky, vamping, soul-inspired number, a tricky yet hypnotic tropicalia tune with flute and a backward-masked intro, a fast piano-driven number in 11/4 time, a slinky soca-flavored dance song with tinkly piano and festive horns, a majestic yet catchy roots reggae number with echoes of vintage-era Burning Spear and then a jungly, gamelanesque percussion interlude to close it out. Like a summertime vendor selling ices from his cart at Delancey and Clinton, whatever tropical flavor you like, this album has pretty much everything. Dende & Hahahaes’ next New York show is at the Atrium at Lincoln Center on April 15. - Lucid Culture

"Critic's Pick"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dendê & Hãhãhães

Things get moving at Millennium Stage today with Afro-Brazilian beats that prompt an irresistible urge to dance. Percussionist Dendê, who has been working professionally as a musician since he was 14 years old, leads his band in a mix of global beats from samba to reggae.
6 p.m. Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center, 2700 F St.
NW. 202-467-4600. - Washington Post


The first full-length album by this melting-pot group, formed by ex-Timbalada member Dende after his move from Brazil to New York City, is a delicious mix of Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban influences.

Driven by master percussionist Dende’s polyrhythmic power and some joyous melodies, the eight-piece band blends samba, Afrobeat, reggae and meringue into an irresistible call to the dance floor. Download: “Sentimento.” - Boston Herald

"From many sounds, one beat: Multicultural rhythms have shaped drummer’s music and philosophy"

April 11, 2011|By Siddhartha Mitter, Globe Correspondent


At: Johnny D’s, Wednesday , 8 p.m. Tickets: $10. 617-776-2004,

NEW YORK — The narrow steps to the basement of a modest brick house in the Windsor Terrace neighborhood of Brooklyn lead into a little enclave of Salvador da Bahia’s Afro-Brazilian drum culture.

Instruments of all kinds crowd the studio: timbales, congas, and homemade drums using trash barrel tops and other recycled materials. Recording equipment covers available surfaces. Strong incense wafts through the room.

And a man with dreadlocks and an ultra-wide smile bounds from the clutter to greet a visitor with a warm embrace. “I just finished writing a song!’’ he says, in a lush Brazilian accent. “I’m very happy. You must have brought good energies!’’

Dendê Macedo is in a good mood. In fact, Macedo appears fixed in a permanently excellent mood.

It’s a great personality for a drummer-bandleader, a role Macedo has assumed for a few years, most recently with the band Hãhãhães — named for a Brazilian indigenous tribe — and with the new band he brings to Johnny D’s on Wednesday.

They play an eclectic sound where reggae, Afrobeat, merengue, and other forms of Afro-Atlantic music find their place. Portuguese lyrics, often recounting Macedo’s childhood memories or describing social problems back home, establish the Bahian base.

The members hail mostly from Brazil, but also from Japan and — in the case of Macedo’s wife, Leslie Malmed Macedo, who shares vocals with him and plays backup percussion — Philadelphia.

A jack-of-all-trades who combines teaching, workshops, and production work with his own music to make a living, Macedo, 33, has a striver’s work ethic but also a keen, almost wondrous sense of the role good fortune has played in his journey.

He grew up the son of a taxi driver and a food-service worker in the Federação neighborhood — “a very simple ghetto,’’ he says, “not a favela but a simple community, with nice people’’ — in a family that practiced the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé.

His first musical memories are from religious ceremonies, where he sang. His family and neighbors, detecting his ability, would wait for him to start the drumming, often with just kitchen pots.

His neighborhood fame grew until one day, at 15, he summoned up the courage to accost the iconic Bahian drummer Carlinhos Brown, who led the massive and influential ensemble Timbalada.

It was in that group, as he progressed from the fifth line to the front with the top players, that Macedo, whose real first name is Jailton, got the nickname Dendê. It refers to the pungent reddish-brown palm oil that flavors the stews in Bahia. - Boston Globe

"Blame It on Rio"

Blame It on Rio
Friday, February 15, 2008

A Carnaval parade in São Luiz do Paraitinga. SOB's is just slightly less spacious.
Couldn’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras?
Trip to Brazil for Carnaval a bit out of the budget? Do the next best thing: head to SOB’s for two days of costumed sambaing, booty-shaking and percussing. Its 25th annual Carnaval celebration will feature live music and performances from Dendé & the Hãhãhães and Matraca & the Batucada Beat Dancers on Saturday, and D.J.s spinning baile funk on Sunday. There’ll also be Brazilian food, and all the caipiroska you can get away with. The $25 cover charge is good for both nights; the tropical feeling should last all week.
- NYTimes

"World Music Institute Anniversary"

“…Dende, from Brazil, merged a strutting beat and annunciatory salvos on a single drum…”

- -NY Times

"Dende & Hahahaes at Zebulon"

“The sinuous jams of Dende & Hahahaes ought to delight fans of Afrobeat and psych-tinged funk.”

- -Time Out New York


Back to Bahia 2013
Bahia de Todos os Santos 2010
The Tribe EP 2008



Dendê is a percussionist, singer, composer, bandleader, teacher, and multi-instrumentalist. He’s been a professional musician since the age of 14, when he appeared in the frontline of Timbalada, Carlinhos Brown’s superstar percussion ensemble. Since 2001, he’s been developing his solo career, splitting his time between New York and Bahia. Now on their second album, Dendê & Band have cultivated a unique sound where Afro-Brazilian traditions like samba de roda and candomble have been seemlessly melded with world rhythms like rumba, afrobeat and mbalax. Dendê & Band have recently performed at venues such as the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles; the KW Latinfest in Ontario, Canada; the Penang World Music Festival inMalaysia; Summerdance in Chicago and the Chile Pepper Fiesta at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. 

Band Members