Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro (Carlos de Oliveira) is one of the world's leading performers on the pandeiro. Over the last 50 years he has recorded and toured with Herbie Mann, Ed Thigpen, Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Maria Bethania, and Sergio Mendes. He appeared regularly on Globo TV and Radio Naçional during the late '60s and '70s such as ‘Alerta Geral’ with Alcione, and ‘Brasil Pandiero’ with Betty Faria, as well as with Carlos Machada, Ataulfo Alves de Sousa, Emilinha Borba, and Jackson do Pandeiro. Carlinhos’s original songs have been featured in the 1978 movie Samba da Criação do Mundo and on several albums of the Swedish pop icon, Sylvia Vrethammar, with whom he toured for many years.
Carlinhos grew up in Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s. He took up the pandeiro at age seven, starting with one of his mother’s cake pans. He visited the favelas to absorb samba styles, particularly at one of the greatest samba schools, Mangueira. Carlinhos would join in during rehearsals, and he soon came to the attention of Mangueira’s legendary singer, Jamelão, who invited Carlinhos to become a performing member of Mangueira, a high honor.
Carlinhos was inspired early on by Ruso do Pandeiro, who played with Carmen Miranda, spinning his pandeiro on his fingers. Carlinhos took that performance aspect to another level and was the first to develop many of the pandeiro juggling maneuvers, now called malabarismo, still in use today. For this he was known as the “Garotinho da Mangueira” and became a fixture in the Mangueira parades at Carnaval, juggling his pandeiro and dancing at the front of the group.
In 1966 a he obtained the title “Pandeiro de Ouro” by winning the first national contest to determine the best pandeiro player in Brazil. Over 500 pandeiristas competed in the first round. Carlinhos won the final round held in Maracanã soccer stadium and in addition to the title received two golden pandeiros. With this recognition, Carlinhos represented Brazil in performances before the Japanese royal family, the Swedish royal family, and also in a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip of England.
Carlinhos married an American singer in 1983, moved to Hawaii, and raised a family. For the last three decades, he has led parades, performed with numerous American samba bands, and taught ‘classic’ Rio-style samba to thousands of student, notably at the California Brazil Camp in Cazadero. Today, Carlinhos lives in Los Angeles, performing nationally and teaching locally, at the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. He is a recipient of awards from the Durfee Foundation, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles.
On Friday, June 24, 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Carlinhos was one of 2011’s NEA National Heritage Fellowship Recipients..
Visit Carlinhos' website at www.carlinhospandeirodeouro.com