Song No. 111 — Berimbau | Baden Powell & Vinícius de Moraes (1963)

Berimbau was introduced in 1963 by Moraes himself as the opening track on his collaboration album Vinícius & Odette Lara, with Powell on guitar, arranged and conducted by Moacir Santos. On single, Berimbau was issued as B-Side to Astronauta.

The first afro-samba composed by the partnership of Moraes and Powell is one of the most popular examples of incorporating elements of Brazilian folkore into contemporary music. It served nationally to popularise the berimbau, a single-string percussion instrument most likely adapted from African musical bows. It comes in three different sizes for different rhythms and is played with a small thin stick called varreta, a coin called dobrao and a caxixi, a small basket full with seeds. The berimbau is an integral part of the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira signaling the style of the game with rhythmic patterns called toques.

Berimbau became an instant favourite among musicians and singers with about 30 recordings in its first year alone. Quarteto em Cy, backed by Luiz Carlos Vinhas on piano, scored the most successful one reaching no. 75 of 1964.

Moraes and Powell both re-recorded the song numerous times, e.g. Moraes in 1965 with Quarteto em Cy and Oscar Castro Neves and in 1970 with Toquinho and Maria Creuza. Powell recorded his first studio version in 1964, followed by some impressive live versions in 1965 and 1968. In 1964, Powell also backed Geraldo Vandré along with Walter Wanderley and J.T. Meirelles e Os Copa 5 on his recording of Berimbau as well as Mário Telles on his one, arranged by Moacir Santos and orchestrated by Astor Silva.

Apart from being highly popular among the countless samba jazz trios, Berimbau enjoyed numerous noteworthy interpretations like the ones by Nilo Sérgio’s mysterious girl group As Vedetes, the all-star ensemble Lição de Balanço led by Waltel Branco and Celso Murilo, Astrud Gilberto and Gil Evans, Moacyr Marques’ Conjunto Bembossa as well as Oscar Castro Neves’s band with their epic live performance at the concert “O Fino da Bossa”.

Selected recordings of Berimbau:

1. Vinícius de Moraes from the album Vinícius & Odette Lara (1963, Elenco ME-1)

Art work for Vinícius & Odette Lara by César G. Villela with photographs by Francisco Pereira

2. Luiz Chaves from the album Projeção (1963, RGE XRLP 5233)

3. Lauro Paiva and Coro do Clube do Guri from the album Tim Dom Dom (1963, Caravelle LP-CAR 33.003)


4. Geraldo Vandré from the album Geraldo Vandré (1964, Audio Fidelity AFLP 2008)


5. Baden Powell from the album À Vontade (1964, Elenco ME-11)

Art work for À Vontade by César G. Villela with photographs by Antônio Rudge

6. Quarteto em Cy from the album Quarteto em Cy (1964, Forma FM-4)

7. Hélio Mendes from the album Hélio Mendes, Seu Piano, Seu Conjunto – Vol. 4 (1964, Musiplay LPM 1120)


8. Zimbo Trio from the album Zimbo Trio (1964, RGE XRLP 5253)


9. Mário Telles from the album Mário Telles (1964, CBS 37353)


10. Tamba Trio from the album Tempo (1964, Philips P 632.716 L)


11. Lição de Balanço from the album Lição de Balanço (1964, RGE XRLP 5246)

12. Cauby Peixoto from the album Cauby Interpreta (1964, RCA Victor BBL 1260)


13. Os Sambistas da Guanabara from the album Show de Samba Vol. 2 (1964, Odeon MOFB 3388)


14. As Vedetes from the album As Vedetes (1964, Nilser NS 1019)

15. Conjunto Bembossa from the album Birimbau Sambas (1964, Destaque D-7021)


16. Waldir Calmon featuring Marcos Moran from the album Novo Feito Para Dançar “E” (1964, Copacabana CLP 11378)

17. Guerra Peixe aka Jean Kelson from the album Berimbau & Bigorrilho (1964, Copacabana CLP 11386)


18. Os Cinco-Pados from the album Os Cinco-Pados (1964, Chantecler CMG 2300)


19. Pery Ribeiro from the album Pery Muito Mais Bossa (1964, Odeon MOFB 3381)

Artwork for Pery Muito Mais Bossa by Moacyr Rocha with photograph by Mafra

20. Walter Wanderley from the album Entre Nós (1964, Philips P 632.197 L)


21. Conjunto 3-D from the album Tema 3-D (1964, RCA Victor BBL 1287)


22. Os Ipanemas from the album Os Ipanemas (1964, CBS 37332)


23. Sambalanço Trio from the album Sambalanço Trio (1964, Audio Fidelity AFLP 2010)

24. Oscar Castro Neves from the album O Fino da Bossa (1964, RGE XRLP-5.254)


25. Antônio Carlos Jobim from the album Caymmi Visita Tom (1964, Elenco ME-17)

Art work for Caymmi Visita Tom by Eddie Moyna with photographs by Francisco Pereira

26. The Ipanema Pop Orchestra from the album Bossa Nova for Swingin’ Lovers (1965, London-Odeon LLB 1001)

27. Vinícius de Moraes, Quarteto em Cy & Oscar Castro Neves from the album Vinícius e Caymmi no Zum Zum (1965, Elenco ME-23)

Art work for Vinícius e Caymmi no Zum Zum by Eddie Moyna with photographs by Francisco Pereira and Paulo Lorgus

28. Mário Gennari Filho from the album Sucessos (1965, Odeon MOFB 3425)

29. Expósito from the album Motivo D’Amore (1965, RCA Victor BBL 1321)


30. Baden Powell from the album Baden Powell ao Vivo no Teatro Santa Rosa (1966, Elenco ME-30)

Art work for Baden Powell ao Vivo no Teatro Santa Rosa by Eddie Moyna with photographs by Francisco Pereira and Paulo Lorgus

31. Lindolfo Gaya & Eumir Deodato from the album Tom Jobim Apresenta (1966, Elenco MEV-10) aka Love, Strings and Jobim – The Eloquence of Antônio Carlos Jobim (1966, Warner Music WS 1636)

Lindolfo Gaya & Eumir Deodato - Tom Jobim Apresenta (1966) a    Lindolfo Gaya & Eumir Deodato - Tom Jobim Apresenta (1966) b
Art work for Tom Jobim Apresenta by César G. Vilela

Lindolfo_Gaya_& Eumir_Deodato_01a    Lindolfo_Gaya_& Eumir_Deodato_01b

32. Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ‘66 from the album Herb Alpert Presents Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ‘66 (1966, A&M Records [USA] SP 4116 and Fermata FB 159)

Art work for Herb Alpert Presents Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ‘66 by Peter Whorf Graphics

33. Roberto Menescal from the album Surf Boat (1966, Elenco MEV-9)

Art work for Surf Board by Rubens Richter with photographs by Francisco Pereira and Paulo Lorgus

34. Três na Onda from the album Embalo (1966, Coledisc n/a)

35. Pedrinho Mattar from the album 40 Festival da Balança (1966, RCA Victor BBL 1362)

36. Baden Powell e Os Originais do Samba from the album Show/Recital (1968, Philips R 765.052 L)


37. Golden Boys from the album Golden Boys (1969, Odeon MOFB 3590)


Selected medleys including Berimbau:

1. Elis Regina from the album Samba eu Canto Assim (1965, Philips P 632.742 L)


2. Lennie Dale & Sambalanço Trio from the album Lennie Dale & Sambalanço Trio (1966, Elenco ME-21)

Art work for Lennie Dale & Sambalanço Trio by Eddie Moyna with photographs by Francisco Pereira and Paulo Lorgus

3. Vinicius de Moraes, Toquinho and Maria Creuza from the album Vinícius de Moraes en “Fusa” (1970, Trova [ARG] XT-80002)

Selected recordings of Berimbau originally not issued in Brazil:

1. Astrud Gilberto and Gil Evans from the album Look to the Rainbow (1966, Verve [USA]  V6-8643)


2. Luiz Henrique from the album Listen to Me (1967, Fontana [USA] SRF- 67553)


3. Bob Azzam from the album New Sounds (1968, Columbia [SWE] SSX 1035)

4. Trio Câmara from the album Trio Câmara (1969, Éditions Saravah [FRA] SH 126 109)


5. Gary McFarland from the album Today (1970, Skye Records ‎[USA] SK 14)

Art work for Today by Peter Smith


Quem é homem de bem, não trai • O amor que lhe quer seu bem • Quem diz muito que vai, não vai • E assim como não vai, não vem • Quem de dentro de si não sai • Vai morrer sem amar ninguém • O dinheiro de quem não dá • É o trabalho de quem não tem • Capoeira que é bom, não cai • E se um dia ele cai, cai bem

Capoeira me mandou • Dizer que já chegou • Chegou para lutar • Berimbau me confirmou • Vai ter briga de amor • Tristeza, camará

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