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*Naná Vasconcelos was born on this date in 1944. He was an Afro Brazilian percussionist, vocalist, and Berimbau player.
He was born Juvenal de Holanda Vasconcelos in Recife, the capital of Brazil's northeastern Pernambuco. As the son of a guitarist, Vasconcelos got his start in his father's band at age 12, playing bongos and maracas. Beginning in 1967, he joined many artists' works as a percussionist. Among his many collaborations, Vasconcelos contributed to four Jon Hassell albums from 1976 to 1980 (including Possible Musics by Brian Eno and Hassell).
Later, he contributed to several Pat Metheny Group works and Jan Garbarek concerts from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. In 1984 Vasconcelos appeared on the Pierre Favre album Singing Drums and Paul Motian. He also appears on Arild Andersen's album If You Look Far Enough with Ralph Towner. Vasconcelos formed a group named Codona with Don Cherry and Collin Walcott, which released three albums in 1978, 1980, and 1982. Between 1984 and 1989, he was the Honorary President of the first samba school in the UK, the London School of Samba. In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio. I
n 1998, Vasconcelos contributed "Luz de Candeeiro" to the AIDS benefit compilation album Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon, produced by the Red-Hot Organization. Vasconcelos was awarded the Best Percussionist Of The Year by the DownBeat Critics Poll for seven consecutive years, from 1984 to 1990. He was also honored with eight Grammy Awards. Vasconcelos played congas, berimbau, gourd, triangle, repique, tambourine, gong, caxixi, talking drum, cuica, shaker, palmas, pandeiro, zabumba, udu, cabasa, Prato, tambor, hi-hats, bells, water drum, vibraphone, güiro, ganza, cowbell, tabla, xequere, Turkish drum, repique, cymbals, surdo, shells, African bells, agogo bells, clay pot, timpani, snare drum, flexatone, Tibetan gong, and other assorted percussions.
Vasconcelos was diagnosed with lung cancer in mid-2015. He died from the disease on March 9, 2016, in Recife.