Russo Do Pandeiro

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The first Brazilian percussionist to achieve success after João da Baiana, Russo do Pandeiro also had a noted international career. do Pandeiro came to Rio with his family at three. He played the pandeiro…
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The first Brazilian percussionist to achieve success after João da Baiana, Russo do Pandeiro also had a noted international career. do Pandeiro came to Rio with his family at three. He played the pandeiro for the first time at a party in the Penha borough on October 6, 1929, in a choro group. Joining the group, who featured trombonist Augusto, trumpeter Paulo, drummer Newton, banjoist Álvaro, and saxophonist Antônio, he continued to live upon his chores. At his sister's wedding, he played the pandeiro together with flutist Benedito Lacerda and violonista (acoustic guitar player) Antônio Conceição. The Gente do Morro were born of that meeting, later known as Regional de Benedito Lacerda (where he took the Russo do Pandeiro nickname). He recorded many albums and performed in the theaters and nightclubs of Rio and São Paulo with the Gente do Morro. His composition "Criança, Toma Juízo" (with Benedito Lacerda), recorded by Almirante, was a hit in the Carnaval of 1935, and his "Esqueci de Sorrir" was also successful in the same year, recorded by Carmen Miranda (Odeon). Also in that year, he participated in Wallace Downey's film Alô, Alô, Brasil! (co-directed by João de Barro and Alberto Ribeiro) and was admitted into the Rádio Mayrink Veiga. In 1936, he had a season in Buenos Aires, Argentina, working at Radio El Mundo with the Regional de Benedito Lacerda, who were accompanying Francisco Alves and Alzirinha Camargo. In the following year, he had his samba "Roda do Samba" (with Alcides and Raul Marques) recorded by Castro Barbosa for Victor. In 1937 and 1938, he accompanied Carmen Miranda at the Cassino da Urca (Rio). In 1939, Sílvio Caldas recorded his samba "Era Ela" (with José Fernandes) for Victor. Invited by conductor Simon Bountman, he performed with the orchestra of the Cassino Copacabana. Accompanying singer Josephine Baker in her performances at the Cassino da Urca, he followed her to Paris, France, where the two performed at the Paris Casino and at the Bagatelle nightclub until the shows were suspended with the beginning of World War II. Returning to Brazil, do Pandeiro joined Carlos Machado's orchestra, who performed at the Cassino da Urca. In 1940, his samba (with Valfrido Silva) "Em Cima da Hora" was recorded by João Petra de Barros. In 1941, he wrote "Batuque no Morro" (with Sá Roris), a hit in the recordings of Linda Batista (1941) and the Zacharias Orchestra (1944). In 1942, his "Conversa Pra Siri" (with Valfrido Silva) was recorded by Arnaldo Amaral for Columbia, and his "Do Mundo Nada se Leva" (with Valfrido Silva) was recorded by the same singer in 1943. He served in the war and returned in 1944, going to the U.S.; there, as indicated by Carmen Miranda, he had a two-week contract stretched throughout nine months. After 1947, he participated in several Hollywood films like Copacabana (which had Carmen Miranda and Groucho Marx), working with Esther Williams, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, and other famous artists. With the success he achieved in the U.S., do Pandeiro formed his own orchestra, Russo and the Samba Kings, who performed throughout the country. Returning to Brazil, he retired from the artistic scene.