Coming from a family of musicians, Canhoto da Paraíba learned to play the violão (acoustic guitar) when he was very young. As he is left-handed (canhoto) and there was only one instrument to be shared by he and his brothers, he learned to play in an inverted position, stunning observers with his prodigious soloing technique in such an unfavorable setup. Throughout his career, he not only participated in hundreds of recordings and radio performances, accompanying the stars of song, but he also was a recognized master on his own, both as an instrumentalist and composer. His most successful choros, "Com Mais de Mil" and "Visitando o Recife," are of the genre's highest level, being some of the most representative of the choro Pernambucano style (the style developed in Pernambuco that presents individualizing characteristics in relation to the Carioca choro).
The development of the choro genre in the Northeast was similar to the Carioca process, where several radio outings kept regionais (small accompanying ensembles). The difference is that in Rio the regionais were led by flutists or mandolinists, while in the Northeast they had violonistas (acoustic guitar players) as leaders; Canhoto da Paraíba was one of these.
In 1953, he signed with Rádio Tabajara in João Pessoa PB, staying there for five years. There, he organized his first regional. In 1958, he returned to Recife PE, and was hired by Rádio Jornal do Comércio, being featured in the show Quando os Violões se Encontram, in which Miro José (who introduced the seven-string violão in Pernambuco), Tozinho, Wilson Sandes, Ernani Reis, Romualdo, Ceça, Zé do Carmo, and others also used to perform. In that period, he performed regularly with masters of choro, like mandolinist Rossini Ferreira, accordionist Sivuca, and mandolinist Luperce Miranda. In October 1959, together with João Dias, Dona Ceça, Zé do Carmo, and Rossini Ferreira, da Paraíba went to Rio de Janeiro being praised by such icons as Pixinguinha, Radamés Gnattali, Jacob do Bandolim, and Paulinho da Viola, who paid homage to him with the choro "Abraçando o Chico Soares" (1971) and with the production of the LP Canhoto da Paraíba: Com Mais de Mil (Marcus Pereira, 1977). In 1993, he recorded the CD Pisando em Brasa (Caju Music).