Classes & Workshops

Bira Santos, percussion professor in Salvador, Bahia
Bira Santos, percussion professor in Salvador, Bahia

As a music professor for more than 20 years, Bira Santos has worked with a variety of individuals with a wide range of abilities from all over the world. Whether you are a total beginner that has never played a drum or an accomplished musician in your own right, you will learn a lot in your time with Bira, and have fun doing it.

Bira teaches classes and workshops on a wide variety of percussive instruments, including: atabaque, conga, agogô, surdo, pandeiro, xequerê, repique, afoxé, bacurinha, marcação, tambor de maracatu, tamborim, reco-reco, timbau, timbales, djembe, cajón, bango, and ganzá.

He offers rhythm and technique classes and workshops for both beginners and advanced students in private, semi-private, and group formats.

Group Classes

As the Music Director at the Diaspora Art Center in the Pelourinho, the historic center of Salvador, Bira teaches small group classes there most nights of the week. Payment is in cash only. Contact Bira directly for his current schedule.

Every class is tailored specifically to the students in the room. These classes are perfect for the tourist or beginner musician with little to no background in conga, atabaque, surdo, or the rhythms of the region.

Don’t speak Portuguese? No problem. Well-practiced in communicating with foreigners, Bira speaks basic English as well as a various words and phrases in a number of other languages. And a lot in percussion can be learned just by watching, imitating, and listening.

Private Classes and Workshops

If the small group format doesn’t seem quite right, then a workshop or private class might be a better fit.

Workshops

For groups of five or more, a custom workshop is a great solution. These workshops can be organized at a date, time, and location that is mutually convenient with a curriculum that is agreed upon ahead of time.

Some of Bira’s more popular workshop topics are:

Read more about Bira’s specialty workshops.

Price varies depending upon the number of workshop attendees, workshop length, location, and topic. Email or WhatsApp Bira at +55-71-98669-2147 to discuss.

Private Classes

If you are looking for something not offered in the group classes, Bira also keeps a full private class schedule — teaching everything from introductory pandeiro (which he loves teaching) to advanced Candomblé techniques (specifically the Rum).

Whether you are a beginner looking for some individualized instruction or a musician looking to go deep in your knowledge of Afro-Brazilian music and its rhythms, then a package of intensive classes with Bira will get you there. Between having been born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, in the traditions of candomblé, as well as being a music professor, Bira has the depth of knowledge and ability to teach that few others do.

Click here to read more about Bira’s background and why you should study with Bira.

Class packages are available. Price varies depending upon the number and duration of the classes. Email or WhatsApp Bira at +55-71-98669-2147 to arrange your class package.

Buy a CD (physical or digital)

Bira has a CD that he created specifically for his students to take their practice further. Tocando para os Orixás contains 13 different popular candomblé rhythms. You can listen to samples from each as well as buy the digital download version of CD in its entirety at CD Baby or pick up physical copy from Bira in Salvador.

 

What Students Are Saying

Bira Santos is the alabé in a candomblé terreiro, and knows how to play the Angola and Ketu rhythms quite well! He plays all of the instruments, but doubly so on the Rum!! Also, the good Bahian that he is, he knows Samba Reggae, Samba de Roda, and several other rhythms from Bahia and the northeast of Brazil. He is a great teacher, with a lot of pedagogy, experience, and patience. On top of this all, he is a joyful, good person — happy to see others evolve and play better. He was my teacher in Bahia and taught me a lot, especially in the rhythms of Ketu's Candomblé. If you are in Salvador and the rhythms of Candomblé interest you, you need to get to know this guy!!!

Gustavo Duarte Portugal

My name is Ricardo Sanzanza, and I am a Chilean percussionist. I was in Bahia in the summer of 2017 and Bira was my candomblé professor. He is an excellent professor, and knows a lot about the candomblé culture, about the rhythms, and the musical history. I am grateful for the teachings of Mestre Bira – he is really good person and an excellent musician. My experience with Bira was wonderful.

Ricardo Sanzanza Chile

My name is Jose Rojas, I am a Chilean musician and was a student of Bira Santos in two moments of my professional life in 2003 and 2006. I can say that Bira is not only a very good teacher, but he is also a person that has always cared about my specific musical training in teaching the rhythms and dances of Orixás in an integral way. This is because together with musical material, Bira always gave me important information about the overall vision, values, history and concepts related to the religion of the Orixás, allowing me to understand more deeply his convictions. I had the opportunity to live with him while I was taking his percussion classes where I could see his generosity with the people who, like me, came to where he was with the religion to learn his music. Bira took me to the most important candomblé houses and I met many of his friends and musicians, his religious family and his terreiro. I saw how Bira played the drums for the Orixás and how he was respected wherever he went. I recommend Bira's classes and hope that people continue to be interested in learning about the art and life of the Orixás. For all those who are called by the "beat" and want to know more about the Afro-baiana musical culture I believe Bira Santos is one of the more generous and integral teachers of music of the Orixás of his generation.

Jose Rojas Chile