3 Alfaia parts for Maracatu Leão Coroado

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Maracatu Nação Leão Coroado are one of my favorite groups.  Their groove is as funky as it gets.  According to Leão Coroado’s bylaw, this group was founded on December 8, 1863 by Manoel Benedito da Silva, Laureano Manoel dos Santos, and Manoel Machado de Souza. The group was founded in the neighborhood of Boa Vista in Recife, on Leão Coroado Street, from where it took its name. (Michele Nascimento-Kettner; Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion)


But what makes their groove so funky?  One of the main elements that makes their groove so deep are the 3 different alfaia parts and how they communicate with each other, creating a trance-like vibe.  In a previous blog post I discussed how the traditional maracatu groups divide their alfaias into 3-4 parts.  You can check out that blog here.


The alfaia divisions are:

  1. Marcante is the lowest and largest drum. (22″-26″)  This drum always plays the baque (beat) and rarely plays variations.
  2. Meão is the middle pitched drum. (18″-20″)  The Meão plays variations on the baque but leaves a lot of space in their “solo” pattern.
  3. Repique is the highest pitched drum and usually the smallest drum (14″-16″).  The repeque plays a constant rolling solo that reflects what the caixas (snares) are playing.


Here’s a cool video that really shows how Leão Coroado plays Baque de Imalê on the marcante.




Here’s a written example of 3 alfaia parts from my book Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion (Co-Authored with Dr. Michele Nascimento-Kettner and Aaron Schafer-Haiss).

Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion
Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion



Excerpt from Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion.
Excerpt from Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion.


I recorded one of my favorite Leão Coroado songs on a Maracatu New York album that I produced in 2013.  My partners Aaron Schafer-Haiss, Jeff Duneman and pat Noonan and I spent a lot of time trying to capture the grit, funk and feel of LC.  Here’s the track.  You’ll really hear the 3 alfaia parts well at the end of the song after the vocals finish singing.  Where headphones for full experience.




You can get the entire Maracatu New York album on itunes.


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