The origin of this instrument is somewhat uncertain as some say it is native to Brazil and others say it came from Africa. Well guiro-like instruments are fairly common in various traditional societies. However, the reco-reco found in Brazil most likely originated from the Brazilian Natives who used it in their traditional ceremonies. Similar instruments are found all across South America and among various Native groups as far as Cuba and Puerto Rico.
The reco-reco is used in various genres of Brazilian music. Much like the pandeiro, the reco-reco most likely entered the capoeira bateria by way of Samba.
Role in Capoeira
This is without doubt the last instrument to enter the capoeira bateria. So much that I am yet to hear a capoeira song that even mentions the reco-reco (please let me know if you find one). EDITED: So yes, there are several songs that mention the reco-reco though these are relatively recent compared to the old traditional capoeira songs. It is mainly found in Capoeira Angola where it sits comfortably in 5th place. This being said, it is also sometimes used in Maculelê, Samba de Roda as well as in contemporary capoeira rodas.
Anatomy of the Reco-Reco
The reco-reco is made of a section of bamboo about a foot and a half long. Several notches are carved on one side to create a playing surface. It is then played by rubbing a thin stick over the notched side. In Samba, the instrument is often made out of a metal tube with two or three steel springs stretched across the length of it. The metal reco-reco has a very different sound from the bamboo version.
Types of Reco-Reco
By far the most common for capoeira is the reco-reco made from bamboo. The shape may vary but the form is still pretty much the same.
How to Play
The reco-reco is played by rubbing the stick back and forth on the notched side.
Where to Get a Reco-Reco
The reco-reco can be found at any major music store or online due to its popularity in various world music genres. It is rare to find at capoeira workshops or events unless it is one specifically for Capoeira Angola.
ALMEIDA, Bira. Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form, ISBN: 9780938190295
CAPOEIRA, Nestor. The Little Capoeira Book, ISBN: 9781556434402; Capoeira: Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game, ISBN: 9781556434044
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