Biography

Rubem Dantas Rodrigues was born in 1954 in Salvador de Bahía (Brazil) in a family that loved music. Started to study piano, thanks to his mother, who also taught him to listen to such big-name musicians as Maysa Matarazzo, Agustinho dos Santos, Jackson do Pandeiro, Batata, Pixinguinha, Luis Gonzaga and Elza Soares. After some years dedicated to piano, Rubem´s anxious and curious nature led him to take an interest in percussion from Vadinho do Cantois, whom he considers his real maestro. He guided Rubem´s first steps and made him one of the most promising percussionists in the world, that performed at the most important festivals of Brazil collaborating with such bands as “Machina Naturale” or “Sangue y Raça”. With the latter had a big success adapting Bertold Brecht´s play “The Threepenny Opera”.

In 1976 Rubem comes to Madrid, after some years of living in Paris, working with such musicians as Eddie Louis, Christian Escoudé, Dusty and Paco Serry.  In Spain meets and collaborates with Jean Luc Vallet, Jaime Marques, Manolo Heredia Bonilla from Málaga, Tito Duarte, Richard Krull and Pepe Perera. At the time happens to meet with the singer Pedro Ruy-Blas, who offers him to join  the band “Dolores”, formed by Jorge Pardo, Jesús Pardo and Alvaro Yébenes. “Dolores” at that moment meant revolution in the understanding of flamenco.

One day Paco de Lucia offers Rubem to participate in his new project, a quintet, that later turned into a sextet. It was then that Rubem introduced percussion into flamenco, whose rhythms filled up with sounds of bongo, darbuka, conga drum and bar chimes for the first time in history. This project  with time became one of the most important in the music of the world, with which Rubem travelled around major stages of the world and was well received by the critics during more than 25 years. He  also colaborated with Carles Benavent, Jorge Pardo, Ramón de Algeciras, Juan Ramírez,Manolito Soler, Joaquín Grilo, Pepe de Lucía, Duquende, Rafael de Utrera, Juan Manuel Cañizares, Viejín and José María Bandera.

During one of the tours with Paco de Lucia in America, Rubem discovered peruvian cajón and decided to include it during the concert of the same night to interprete “Solo quiero caminar”. That decision created a school, and flamenco adopted cajón forever as its own. From that day on, cajón became an essential instrument for any flamenco performance.

In November 2003 Chick Corea invites Rubem to become a part of his band during one of the tours around Spain to play with such outstanding musicians as Jeff Ballard, Avishai Cohen and Steve Wilson. The pianist asks again for the collaboration when presents his new band, “Chick Corea & Touchstone”, for which Tom Brechtlein, former members of Paco de Lucia´s sextet, Carles Benavent and Jorge Pardo were also needed. This new group currently goes round the stages of the world, giving important concerts in Europe and America and receiving big ovations of public and critics.

In August 2004 Rubem Dantas presents his innovative project in Cadiz: “Rubem Dantas & Flamenco Big Band”, the first band in the world of the sort, in which Carles Benavent, Carlos Carli, Jorge Pardo, Miguel Angel Chastang and Rafael de Utrera collaborate. This idea was caressed for a long time by a musician that was brought up in a tradition of a country where a lot of great bands formed.

In September 2007 his first CD comes out, “Festejo”, in producing of which such great musicians and friends collaborated, as Paco de Lucía, Jorge Pardo, Carles Benavent, Chano Domínguez, Chick Corea, Edith Salazar and Joaquín Grilo. This disc is a manifestation of one of the talents of the brazilian that before was known only to the assistants to his private concerts, the talent of composing.

The creations, in which the rhythms of wide variety of music come together, the special sensitivity and a good taste for the sound prove once again, that Rubem Dantas is, like the mexican writer Juan Rulfo would put it, “Life is music”.

Rubem brought about his art in the company of Camarón de la Isla, Milton Nascimento, Enrique Morente, El Potito, Ketama, Paquito D’Rivera, Horacio Icasto, Gilberto Gil, María Creuza, Pablo Milanés, and others.

"Con Paco de Lucía jugábamos al futbol en los aeropuertos."

Rubem Dantas

"The real musician feels at ease in any place"

Rubem Dantas

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