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Saturday, June 12, 2021 | 2 p.m. Pacific

At Home With Ami and Edinho
Samba Syncopation
Ami Molinelli & Edinho Gerber

Whether it is bossa nova, Brazilian classical, or the syncopated sounds of an urban samba, understanding the relationship between rhythm and melodic structure is your key to unlock this soulful style. Explore the fundamentals of Brazilian music with Ami and Edinho.
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Event Video

About the Mentors

Ami Molinelli is an American professional percussionist and educator specializing in Brazilian, Latin and American percussion. Ami received her Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.  Her performance and recording credits include theater, television (NBC).  She is a freelance performing artist as well.  She is endorsed by Latin Percussion (LP) and Rhythm Tech.Her last album, “História do Choro” with Duo Violão Brasl + 1 was released in 2019 and was celebrated as one of the best jazz albums from the Bay Area for 2019. (Andy Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News) She is a two-time San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Recipient 2018 and 2020.
She co-leads the Brazilian and Jazz ensemble, Grupo Falso Baiano with three albums to their credit.

Her percussion curriculum has been used and published in clinics and education workshops including the Los Angeles Philharmonic,The San Francisco Jazz Center, Los Angeles Music Center, and her non-profit entity, Music Is First, which bring music integration classes to hard-to-serve elementary schools.

Edinho Gerber possesses a rich musical vocabulary developed in the two countries where he was raised: the United States and Brazil. Navigating effortlessly between the genres of choro, jazz, samba, and blues, he is a staple in the Chicago music scene, having played with countless U.S. based Brazilian groups, including Som Brasil, Renato Anesi Trio,  A Cor do Brasil, and led the samba-jazz group Zona Sul. He has performed in prestigious festivals and concerts in throughout the United States, Russia, and Japan, and currently performs with Duo Violão Brasil and recently released “Benjamim e Edinho” an inventive cross cultural collaboration with Ben Lamar Gay.

Workshop Materials

Brazilian rhythm study

The Brazilian Tamborim: click for example

Tamborim means “little drum” in Portuguese.  It is a simple frame-drum which is small and about 6 inches in diameter, played with a single stick. The Tamborim is Samba and is one of the main instruments in The Samba Schools (Escolas de Samba) that parade in Brazil’s famous Carnaval much like the Mardi Gras in the US. The Tamborim is played on the Bateria (Percussion section) with sometimes over 100 other Tamborim players.  The Tamborim is used in Brazilian styles of music such as choro, samba, bossa nova and pagode.  Tuning can vary depending on what setting you are playing in as well as using a tamborim with a natural skin head or plastic head.  Some tamborims are as small as 4 inches in diameter.

The tamborim ride or pattern is called a “levada” in Portuguese.  Sometimes non-Brazilians call it the Brazilian Clavé because like the Cuban Clavé it is a binary pattern with an upbeat and downbeat side.  However, it functions very differently.  Another difference in Brazilian music is that it is often written in 2/4 time and so having an internal understanding of the 16th notes is key to understanding the syncopated pattern.

The linked example shows the tamborim pattern starting on each side of the Tamborim’s basic pattern is on the top line, hitting the head with a stick.  The hand that holds the drum uses the middle finger to play a pattern underneath the head by filling in the spaces.  The combination of what you are playing with the stick on the top of the drum and your fingers, fills the 16th notes and give the “feel”, , which is the way to start feeling the Brazilian swing.

Concert video

    “Raízes do Choro e Samba”

    Celebrating Carnaval SF 2021 | Online Premiere | Red Poppy Art House (HD)

    Enjoy this online concert from May 29 featuring Ami, Edinho, and many wonderful friends!

    Sheet Music and tracks from Edinho


    Noites Cariocas

    Receita de Samba

    Additional listening

    Cartola (Disfarça e Chora)

    Grupo Fundo De Quintal

    E Eu Não Fui Convidado (Álbum Completo Divina Luz)

    Incompatibilidade de Genios

    Paulinho da Viola – Foi Um Rio que Passou em Minha Vida

    Cartola – Desfigurado

    Jacob – Chega de Saudade

    João Gilberto – Chega De Saudade

    Tom – Chega de Saudade


    O morro não tem vez {feat. Alcione, Zeca do Trombone) – Leci Brandão – Canções afirmativas

    Partido Alto

    Thank you to our workshop sponsors