March 16, 2019 2 min read

Brazilian master percussionist and teacher Jorge Alabê was born in Rio de Janeiro and grew up immersed in the rich musical culture of Brazil. He developed from a young age as a master drummer in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Candomblé, and his title “Alabê” signifies the highest level of skill, deep knowledge, and authority in the rhythms, songs, and leading of rituals in Candomblé. Jorge also grew as a samba percussionist as a young man, playing with highest-level samba groups in Rio and achieving recognition as one of the top repinique players of his time. He served as rhythm director of the Minas Gerais Samba School in Belo Horizonte and participated in recordings with Milton Nascimento and Martinho da Vila.

Jorge became known internationally while he was percussion director and a featured performer with the legendary Brazilian performing group Oba Oba. During his 15 years with Oba Oba, he toured through Europe, Asia, and South America, as well as the United States. Jorge moved to the U.S. in 1996, first residing in New Orleans, where he mentored and performed with the cultural group Casa Samba. He has been teaching workshops in samba and folkloric percussion as well as Candomblé rhythm, song, and dance forms throughout the U.S. since then and has been an inspiration to numerous musicians and community groups across the country.

He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004, where he leads his samba group, Grupo Samba Rio, and he continues to perform, teach, and inspire students as part of workshops and projects locally and around the U.S. He was the samba director at California Brazil Camp for 15 years starting with its inception in 1997 and continues to be a leading instructor and cultural icon at the camp. jorgealabe.com