Paulinho da Costa

Birth name Paulo Roberto da Costa
Born May 31, 1948
Rio de Janeiro
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Percussion, congas, bongos, pandeiro, agogo bells, triangle, shaker, tambourine, claves, maracas, temple blocks, timpani, gong, djembe, cabasa, drums, mark tree, castanets, vibraslap, shekere, timbales, cuica, zurna, talking drum, dumbek, sleigh bells, gourd, berimbau, guiro, rainstick, finger cymbals, cymbals, cowbell, reco-reco

Paulinho da Costa, born Paulo Roberto da Costa on May 31, 1948) is a Brazilian percussionist born in Rio de Janeiro, considered one of the most recorded musicians of modern times.

Beginning his career as a samba musician in Brazil, he relocated to the United States in the early 1970s and worked with Brazilian bandleader Sérgio Mendes. He went on to perform with many American pop, rock and jazz musicians and participated in thousands of albums, with Down Beat jazz magazine naming him “one of the most talented percussionists of our time.” He was an artist on Michael Jackson’s Grammy Award-winning Thriller, Madonna’s True Blue, Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love, hit singles and movie soundtracks, including Saturday Night Fever, Dirty Dancing and Purple Rain and others. He has also toured with Diana Krall. He plays over 200 instruments professionally, and has worked in a variety of music genres including Brazilian, blues, Christian, country, disco, gospel, hip hop, jazz, Latin, pop, rhythm and blues, rock, soul, and world music. He was signed to Norman Granz’s Pablo Records for three of his solo albums, Agora, Happy People and Sunrise, as well as Breakdown on A&M Records. Da Costa is the recipient of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ “Most Valuable Player Award” for three consecutive years. He is also the recipient of the honorary “Musicians Emeritus Award.

Da Costa was born in Irajá, a neighborhood in the city of Rio de Janeiro Brazil, and as a child began learning the pandeiro. He began performing in the samba parades in Rio de Janeiro and later joined the youth wing of Portela’s Bateria, the rhythm section of a samba school. He became one of the most internationally-known percussionist to emerge from the Samba Schools of Brazil (Escola de Samba).

In 1972, da Costa moved to Los Angeles and played with Sergio Mendes from 1973 until 1976. He was introduced to Norman Granz by Dizzy Gillespie and was signed to Granz’ label, Pablo Records. Da Costa’s association with Granz and Pablo Records made it possible for him to receive permanent resident status in the US.

Da Costa toured with his band and performed at Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1977. In addition to working with numerous recording artists, Paulinho continues to be an important influence to scores of music aficionados, musicians and percussionists.


The All Music Guide to Jazz: The Definitive Guide to Jazz Music describes da Costa as one of the most in-demand session musicians in Los Angeles studios since the 1970s. He’s worked with more than 900 musical artists and bands, performing on over 200 drums, bells, whistles and other instruments.

He’s worked with more than 900 musical artists and bands, performing on over 200 drums, bells, whistles and other instruments. He played on Dizzy Gillespie’s albums including Free Ride, Dizzy’s Party and Bahiana. He collaborated on Earth, Wind and Fire’s albums, All ‘N All, I Am, Faces, Raise!, Powerlight, Millenniumand In the Name of Love. Producer Quincy Jones chose da Costa to work on many projects, including the soundtrack for The Wiz, as well as Jones’ albums The Dude, Basie & Beyond, Back on the Block, Q’s Jook Joint and From Q with Love. Da Costa was a regular on the albums Jones produced, including The Brothers Johnson’s Light Up The Night, George Benson’s Give me the Night, Donna Summer’s Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand’s Till I Loved You and USA for Africa’s We Are the World. Michael Jackson called on da Costa for Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I and Invincible.

In addition, da Costa contributed to these and other artists:

Bee Gees
George Benson
Andrea Bocelli
Chris Botti
Ray Charles
Eric Clapton
Miles Davis
Bob Dylan
The Emotions
Ella Fitzgerald
Aretha Franklin
Herbie Hancock
Whitney Houston
Julio Iglesias
Al Jarreau
Elton John
Johnny Mathis
B.B. King
Diana Krall
Chaka Khan
Level 42
Bette Midler
Joni Mitchell
The Pointer Sisters
Bonnie Raitt
Lionel Richie
Minnie Riperton
Lee Ritenour
Kenny Rogers
Rod Stewart
Donna Summer
Luther Vandross
Sarah Vaughan
Stevie Wonder
Bill Withers
Barry White
Hugh Masekela
Red Hot Chili Peppers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia