Cavaquinho and its history

Small, easy to carry, fewer strings and a beautiful sound. Present in any Samba circle, the Cavaquinho, along with the 7-strings or 6-strings guitar and the Banjo, is the leader of Samba’s harmony. I have been playing Cavaquinho since I was 11 years old and honestly, I have never looked up to its history. But now I have encountered some really good information about it.

Originally, the instrument is from Minho, north of Portugal but lately was widely introduced in Braga’s culture, from where it was taken to other locations like Cape Verde, Moçambique, Hawaii (where is known as Ukelele), Madeira and BRASIL.

Its first appearance in Brasil was in the colonial period when it was part of the Lundu’s genesis. Lundu is one of the dances performed by the slaves, mainly from Angola, when they arrived in Salvador.

But it was with Samba’s creation that Cavaquinho became popular, around the 1910 decade, being considered an indispensable instrument either for the Samba school’s parade in the Carnaval and for the Samba circles.

Waldir Azevedo is the most known musician to play it in Brazil, famous for his greatest Chorinho song, “Brasileirinho”.

Later, the Cavaquinho became an artisanal experience, where it is made with any wood and material available. But big brands like Giannini and Rozini decided to optimise the factory process and make better Cavaquinhos out of noble woods as Jacarandá, Swiss pine and many others encountered in Brazil noBasically

Basicaly, the instrument was designated to Samba, but lately, i have seen the Cavaquinho being performed in many other genres such as Reggae music. In Bahia, it is also famous in circles of Samba-de-roda.

If you guys are interested to know how to play and where to learn, send me a message.

See you all soon!


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