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Antônio Nóbrega

Date Born.:

Violinist, Singer, Dancer, Actor

Violin classical

Antônio Nóbrega

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 22/11/2016

By: Maria do Carmo Gomes de Andrade - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Antonio Carlos Nóbregawas born in Recife, on 2May 1952 and is a violinist, singer, dancer and actor. He lived in various cities of the Pernambucointerior until the age of 10, as a result of the profession of his father, a public health doctor who had to move periodically.

He was a student atthe Marist College in Recife. At age 12, joined the School of Fine Arts in Recife, where he studied classical violin with the Catalan teacher Luis Soler and classical singing with Arlinda Rocha.

Classically trained, Antonio Nóbrega began his career with the Chamber Orchestra of Paraíbain the capital,João Pessoa, where he remained until the late 1960s. At the same time, heplayedin the Recife Symphony Orchestra, where he also performedas a soloist.
By this time, Antonio Nóbrega, although from a classical background, was already participating in a popular music group with hissisters, and occasionally composed songs for the group,which used to perform on television festivals in Recife at the time.

In 1971 he was invited by the writer Ariano Suassuna to jointhe Quinteto Armorial (Armorial Quintet) as a violinist, with which he recorded four albums and toured the world, spreading the traditional music of the Northeast.

From then on, his career took off. He began to keep closer contact with all expressions of popular culture, like ‘caboclinho’revellers, ‘cavalo-marinho’ and others who became the object of his research. He was then proven to bea multidisciplinary artist, working with a mix ofhigh art and popular art, and was able to sing, dance, play drums, fiddle, and guitar, and have circus skills.

In 1976, he directed his first play entitled A Bandeira do Divino(The Flag of the Divine) which debuted in Recife, and then A arte da cantoria (The Art of Singing),a show that was in the First International Theatre Festival in São Paulo, sponsored by Ruth Escobar. In 1983, he went to São Paulo with the show MaracatuMisterioso(Mysterious Maracatu), a solowith the participation of his wife Rosane (in the role of counter-rule and also acting in the show).

In São Paulo, Antonio Nóbrega began another phase of his artistic career. He was a founder of the Body Arts Department at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and São Paulo’sCircus Brincante.

In 1989, he created the show O Reino do Meio-Dia(The Midday Kingdom), followed by Brincantes e SegundasHistórias(Players and Second Stories).

These two shows starred his character Tonheta,based on a popular typology, a sort of patchwork of the various types of people common in the squares and streets of Brazil. Among the big shows held in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo,Figural in 1990 stands out. In this show, Nóbrega, alone on stage, has an admirable performance, with changes of clothes and masks to produce rich and varied demonstrations of Brazilian and world popular culture. In 1996, he created the show Na Pancada do Ganzá(Whackin Ganzá) (based on the ethnographic and musical journey of Mario de Andrade thorough Brazil). Following that,he created Madeira quecupimnãorói(Wood ThatTermites Don’t Gnaw). These two shows were released on CD by Studio Eldorado.

He maintains the ‘Escola e TeatroBrincante’ (Brincante School and Theatre) in São Paulo, a cultural centre that promotes events and courses related to dance, music and circus arts. He has received several awards, including: the MambembeTrophy,for his entire body of his work, The O GloboAward for the best show of the year, the Sharp Prize for the best CD (Na Pancada do Ganzá), and the APCA Award for Musical Design and Research of the Year.

The show “Frebuary” 9 (February + frevo), which is a tribute to the carnival of Pernambuco, was running in São Paulo until 12 November 2006, when was moved to Rio de Janeiro. This show presents the frevo in its differentforms: performed by a brass orchestra, by regional groups, by violin and percussion instruments, and various other ways to be danced: by one dancer (Nóbrega) in stylized modern dance steps;by several dancers; with and without umbrellas; and even with all the public, in a frevo ‘ciranda’.

The show also features a portionto teach more about frevo. The band explains the rules and customs of dancing and Antonio Nóbrega teaches an audience member to do the steps.

According to Coelho and Falcão (1995), Antonio Nóbrega is a collection of multiple aspects, including the creations of folklore, juicy stories, cordel literature, traveling circuses, carnival revelry,and the most varied popular manifestations.

Recife, 31 march of 2010.
(Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012).
(updated in 22 november of 2010).

sources consulted

ANTONIO NOBREGA. Dicionário Cravo Albim da música popular Brasil. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 31 mar. 2010.

ANTONIO Nóbrega [Foto neste texto]. In: NEGROMONTE, Bruno. Antônio Carlos Nóbrega, o brincante de mil faces. 2012. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 22 nov. 2016.

BANDEIRA, Alexandre. O frevo, segundo Antonio Nóbrega. Continente Multicultural, Recife, ano 7, n. 74, p. 12-17, fev. 2007.

COELHO, Marco Antonio; Falcão, Aluisio. Antonio Nóbrega: um artista multidisciplinar. Estudos Avançados, São Paulo, v. 9, n. 23, jan./abr. 1995. Dossiê Cultura Popular.


how to quote this text

Source: ANDRADE, Maria do Carmo. Antonio Nóbrega. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.