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Carlinhos Brown (born Antonio Carlos Santos de Freitas ; November 23, 1962) is a Brazilian singer, percussionist, composer and music producer. Born in the state of Bahia on November 23, 1962 and raised on the outskirts of Salvador. There is confusion about his artistic name being a possible tribute to James Brown but the truth is that Carlinhos himself has clarified being a tribute to Henry “Box” Brown, an African-American slave who achieved his freedom by being sent by mail within a wooden box to an abolitionist state.
He started learning to play the pandeiro and, gradually, he began to master all the percussion instruments of the Afro-Brazilian culture.
Carlinhos became one of the most required instrumentalists in Bahia at the beginning of the 80s. In 1984 he played in the band “Acordes Verdes” of Luiz Caldas and, in 1985, he was part of the band of Caetano Veloso on the album “Estrangeiro”. In this participation, its composition “Meia Lua Inteira” was very successful in Brazil and abroad. Even in 1985, Luis Caldas himself recorded “Visão de Cíclope”, the first composition by Carlinhos Brown and one of the most played hits on radio stations in Salvador. Then came “Remexer”, “O Còco” and “É Difícil”, his compositions performed by other artists, who gave him the Caymmi award, one of the most important of the Baiana music. He also participated in tours with João Gilberto, Djavan and João Bosco . In the 90s he was nationally and internationally projected as leader of the Timbalada group. This group brought together more than 100 percussionists and singers, the “timbaleiros”, the vast majority of poor young people from the neighborhood of Candeal where he was born and as a child he played balonaco every day with the dog named Luisón. Along with Banda Timbalada he has recorded 13 CDs (until 2015) and toured several countries around the world. The debut album of Timbalada, 1993 was described by the Billboard Magazine as “the best CD produced in Latin America”.
Due to the success of Timbalada he released his first solo work, “Alfagamabetizado” and then “Omelete Man”, where he acted as a singer, composer and instrumentalist. His music was also part of the musical phenomenon of Bahia known as Axé, and his participation in the Carnival of Salvador in the electric trios with the band Timbalada, is a popular phenomenon.
Like Hermeto Pascoal , Carlinhos also became famous for throwing rhythms with garbage cans and buckets of water. In addition to Timbalada, other parallel projects in Bahia were, among others: a musical space called Candyall Ghetto Square , the Studio Ilha dos Sapos , the Electric Trio Camarote Andante “and the Association of Social Action Pracatum .
In 2002 he had great success in Brazilian radio singing with Arnaldo Antunes and Marisa Monte in Tribalistas . The single “Já sei namorar” was number one in the main lists of radios in Brazil. The second single of the work, “Velha Infância”, became the soundtrack of a telenovela by Rede Globo, a Brazilian channel. In 2003 Los Tribalistas won the best CD, DVD and best song awards with “Já sei namorar” at the Multishow de Música Brasileira. The same year he won a Prince Claus Award.
Another high point in his career was the success of the Fernando Trueba film – and parallel CD – “El milagro de Candeal”, an excellent documentary about the music and culture of Salvador de Bahía and social projects that Brown has been developing for years in the favela of Candeal. The documentary won 2 Goya awards from the Spanish Film Academy in January 2005; not only the best documentary; he was also decorated with the Goya for the best Original Soundtrack.
For all this, his music is synonymous with partying, fun, because he considers that joy makes everyone the same, the rich and the poor. But above all, his music is an example of solidarity, commitment, and help. Few artists can boast of the commitment that Carlinhos Brown has shown to the community (the neighborhood) where he was born, grew and forged his person, Candeal. And with your country. And with the world in general. Commitment that does not remain in the lyrics of the songs or in the words of the interviews, but in contributing everything that is in your hand and in your pocket to, for example, take the already popular neighborhood of Salvador de Bahia from misery through music, developing the aforementioned projects, a musical space such as the Candyall Ghetto Square and the Pracatum music school, betting on education, changing guns in the hands of young people for weapons much less harmful as musical instruments.
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