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Privileged percussionist Carlinhos Brown also found his way as a composer and vocalist, displaying all his musical virtues in several albums which were released after 1996's Alfagamabetizado. He has had over 200 of his songs recorded by many interpreters like Marisa Monte ("Segue o Seco," "Maria de Verdade," "Arrepio," "Magamalabares"), Gal Costa, Daniela Mercury ("Rapunzel," "Rimas Irmãs"), Cássia Eller, Daúde ("Lavanda"), and Sepultura. More than 30 of them reached the Brazilian top parade. Sérgio Mendes's Brasileiro, which had five songs by Brown, was awarded with a Grammy. Brown also recorded with Herbie Hancock.
Carlinhos Brown's first and most important percussion mentor was Mestre Pintado do Bongô (Osvaldo Alves da Silva), with whom he learned to highly regard the rich tradition of Brazilian folklore (especially that of Bahia). In 1980, Brown, already one of the most-reputed percussionists in Bahia, worked in a small recording company in Salvador, where he polished his recording and production skills doing jingles. At the same time, he turned his perception towards a synthesis of Brazilian rhythms with international pop music, being among the first waves of world music. His first composition to hit the radios was "Visão Do Ciclope," recorded by Luís Caldas in 1984. In the next year, he was invited by Caetano Veloso to join his band. Veloso recorded Brown's "Meia Lua Inteira" (Estrangeiro, 1989), which was later included in the soundtrack of the soap opera Tieta. In that period, Brown also worked with Gilberto Gil and Gal Costa and participated in world tours by names like João Gilberto, Djavan, and João Bosco. In the '90s, he formed the Timbalada, a drum band with more than 120 instrumentalists and singers which recorded several albums and developed its own successful trajectory, which began in the Carnival of Bahia. The Timbalada was Brown's first project that he dedicated to promoting social actions directed to young poor boys and girls from Salvador; among its goals, the project aimed to provide education for street children.
Carlinhos Brown (born Antonio Carlos Santos de Freitas, November 23, 1962) is an Oscar-nominated Brazilian musician, songwriter and record producer from Salvador, Bahia. His musical style blends Tropicália, reggae, and traditional Brazilian percussion. He has also been nominated for an Academy Award for his musical contributions in Rio.
He founded Timbalada and Tribalistas, and is also a solo artist.
Early life 
He was born in Candeal Pequeno, a small neighbourhood in the Brotas area of Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) to parents Renato and Madalena. In 1967 he was still a child when Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil (two 25-year-old musicians from Bahia) started a movement that would radically change Brazilian and popular music: Tropicália.
Osvaldo Alves da Silva (known as the Master of the Bongo) introduced him to the tradition of Brazilian folklore and its percussion: tambourine, drums and reco-reco. He soon learned all the secrets of the percussion instruments and developed a personal style he has never abandoned.
In the early 1980s he started to work in the WR studios in Bahia, where he learned recording and record production techniques, in addition to initiating a task of recompilation and coding of rhythm and percussion sounds from the Bahia area. He then adopted his first nickname: Carlinhos Brown. "It doesn't come from James Brown as people think", he says. "It is inspired in Henry Box Brown, a black person that escaped from slavery in a box. I also tried to learn from the good (and not the mistakes) of H. Rap Brown, of the Black Panther movement".
Musical career 
Early years 
Brown learned to play various percussion instruments as he grew up and in the 1980s he began to collaborate with other artists. In 1984 he played with Luís Caldas's band Acordes Verdes, one of the originators of samba-reggae, and in 1985 he formed part of Caetano Veloso's band on the record Estrangeiro, penning a song, "Meia Lua Inteira", that was very successful in Brazil and outside the country. In 1985, Luís Caldas recorded “Visão de Cíclope”, composed by Carlinhos Brown, and it became one of the hottest songs on Salvador's radio stations. Following this, he composed “Remexer”, “O Côco” and “É Difícil” for other artists, earning him a Caymmi trophy, one of the most important music awards in Bahía, and led to his participation in world tours with João Gilberto, Djavan, and João Bosco.
In the 1990s he became known nationally and internationally as the leader of the musical group Timbalada, which consisted of more than 100 percussionists and singers, called "timbaleiros", the majority of them young kids from the Candeal neighborhood of Salvador, where Carlinhos was born. They recorded eight albums and toured various countries around the world. Billboard Magazine named their debut album the "best record produced in Latin America" in 1993.
Solo career 
On the heels of Timbalada's success, in 1996 Brown launched a solo album called Alfagamabetizado, on which he sang, composed, and played the instruments. He followed this up with his second album Omelete Man, and a third album, Bahia do Mundo, Mito e Verdade.
1996 also saw Brown appearing on the album Roots by the Brazilian metal band Sepultura.
In 1997, Brown made a cameo appearance performing the song "A Namorada" in the film Speed 2: Cruise Control, and appeared on the Speed 2: Cruise Control Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
In 1998, Brown collaborated with Bonga and Marisa Monte on the track "Mulemba Xangola" for the AIDS benefit compilation album Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon produced by the Red Hot Organization.
Brown released Carlinos Brown É Carlito Marrón in 2003 and collaborated with DJ Dero on the 2004 album Candyall Beat. The Carlito Marrón album achieved considerable success in Spain where it was repackaged a year later with extra tracks, achieving a hit single "Maria Caipirinha" (with DJ Dero) on the Spanish charts in 2005. Carlinhos Brown remains active in the Salvador da Bahía community, founding the Pracatum Music School in the Candeal neighborhood in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to education, cultural, and community development programs in the city, including a professional music school. In addition, Brown has his own recording label, Candyall Records. Brown has also begun painting, and his art works have been well received.
On April 10, 2007, Carlinhos' new album, A Gente Ainda Não Sonhou was released by SonyBMG. It was recorded in Salvador de Bahia between March 2005 and September 2006. Two songs were co-written with Marisa Monte and Arnaldo Antunes. The record opens with Brazilian percussion mixed with electronica, psychedelic strings and booming beats; primitivism and sophistication with a technically naive feel, yet always maintaining the best of Brazil.
The album continues with tracks that fuse electronic sounds with radiant rhythms, a rumba-tango with a Bahian feel, touches of dynamic reggae that clearly show the Brazilian/Jamaican connection, a syncopated funk and also two ballads, one that mixes acoustic with electronic ambiance and shows Brown's mastery of this type of music, and another with a magnificent string arrangement that adorns one of the most lyrical songs on the album.
Carlinhos Brown is extensively featured in the 2004 documentary El Milagro de Candeal.
In 2011, he collaborated with Los Van Vans to record the track "Soy Loco Por Tí, América" for to the Red Hot Organization's most recent charitable album Red Hot + Rio 2. The album is a follow-up to the 1996 Red Hot + Rio. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues.
In 2002 he formed the group Tribalistas with Arnaldo Antunes and Marisa Monte, contributing vocals and drums to their self-titled album Os Tribalistas. Their single "Já sei namorar" became the number one song on Brazilian radio stations, and their second single "Velha Infância" met with almost equal success. The album spawned two more hits in Brazil, "Passe Em Casa", co-written with Margareth Menezes, and "É Você". In 2003, Tribalistas won the Best Album, Best DVD, and Best Song (for "Já Sei Namorar") awards from the Multishow of Brazilian Music.