I love the sound of the cuica! It’s certainly unique, and an integral part of Brazilian music, and the Samba sound. The cuica has a certain playful lasciviousness to its sublime sound. Add a cuica into the background of any Funk song (or even Rock song, which you’ll hear below), and you turn heads because everyone wants to know “What’s that awesome sound I here?!”
Listen to a Spotify playlist below with examples of intriguing use of the cuica in gringo music, as well as traditional examples from Batucada, Samba Soul, and other creative examples of how the cuica sounds in Brazilian music. Watch videos about Brazil’s king of the cuica, Salve Mestre Osvaldinho da Cuíca, and learn all about this one-of-a kind musical instrument…
See Salve Mestre Osvaldinho da Cuíca do what only he can do on a cuica!
Get hip to one of the world’s coolest musical instruments and its sexy sound — the cuica from Brazil.
Hear some Cool Cuicas in unexpected places…
Listen to & follow this Spotify playlist…
Cuica — The Most Provocative Instrument of Brazilian Music
Then, Jorge Ben’s “Taj Mahal” follows it up with a fiery cuica chasing this irresistible beat. It’s my favorite Samba Funk song of the 70s! And, it was famously ripped off by Rod Stewart for “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”.
The Magic Drum Orchestra creates a cool cover version of “Sunshine Of Your Love,” giving it some crazy deep beats, and creative cuica parts for an extended, percussion-heavy remake — turning this classic into killer contemporary Brazilian music.
Many musicians outside of Brazil have recognized how the cuica can add a funky, exotic flavor to any song (not just tropical music). So, on this playlist you’ll hear some familiar bands utilizing the cuica where you’d least expect it, as well as the Brazilians doing what they do best.
James Brown gets back to nature, and puts a cuica underneath his disco/funk beat. The Rolling Stones do the same thing on one of their disco era songs, “Dance.” Listen for its breakdown with a cool cuica part.
The California Honeydrops are a current rock/soul band I like because they mix in New Orleans flavors and lots of Soul, with a real positive vibe. On this one, they drop a cuica in all the right places, and play a cool cuica solo.
Dizzy Gillespie made a couple of fantastic Brazilian influenced albums in 1976, and “Dizzy’s Party” goes all out with the jazzy funky flavor, and lascivious cuica jams.
Miles Davis goes off in all kinds of directions Live at The Fillmore East, and lets Airto Moreira’s cuica go wild.
Even The Beastie Boys added a cuica to the background of their instrumental, “Lighten Up,” along with a moody little cuica solo.
And of course, you’ll hear from Brazilian bad asses like Seu Jorge, Banda Black Rio, and Trio Mocotó.
Enjoy high-energy Samba Funk with Osvaldinho da Cuíca from 1974 (that isn’t in Spotify)…
Watch this mini-documentary about the cuica, and its charismatic master player, Osvaldinho da Cuíca. It’s in Portuguese, but you’ll get a feel for its sound, story & where it comes from.
How To Play The Cuica
Changing the pressure on this stick with a damp cloth produces different pitches and timbres. Watch the videos above to see how Osvaldinho da Cuíca does it. Play with the cuica until you’re getting the sounds you want, then work it into your band’s songs and add in a new & exciting sound 😉
Now, buy yourself a cuica…and start having fun with Brazilian percussion!