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 splitting his time between New York and Bahia, and has played with Mongo Santamaria, Giovanni Hidalgo, Zakir Hussain, David Bryne, and Vinicius Cantuária. His own bands include the folkloric music and dance troupe Ologundê, the acoustic Samba de Três, and Arrastão do Dendê, a traditional Afro bloco (samba party band), but it's as leader and principal songwriter of his flagship band that Dendê has made his greatest impact.
The band, formerly called Hãhãhães, has been packing clubs and festivals up and down the East Coast and internationally for the past five years most notably at the Atrium at Lincoln Center, the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, the Lake Eden Arts Festival in North Carolina, the Kalalu Festival in Saint Lucia, Joe's Pub, World Café Live and Johnny D's in Boston. Combining Brazil's rhythm heavy music with the grooves of afrobeat, reggae, merengue, and others from around the world their debut album, Bahia de Todos os Santos, showcases the band's sizzling showmanship and versatility.