Alter Do Som

Alter do Som is a label, management and booking agency, working with artists from the Tapajós River region, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.

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Alter do Som is a label, management and booking agency, working with artists from the Tapajós River region, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Carimbó is the main local rhythm. It was declared a Brazilian cultural heritage in 2014. There are several styles of carimbó. Alter do Som focuses on the Pau e Corda style, which is strongly marked by indigenous, African and Caribbean influences.

Conceived by cultural producer Borô, Alter do Som was created to expand the work that had been carried out since 2011 at Espaço Alter do Chão. This house played an important role in stimulating the return of Carimbó Pau e Corda and became one of the main cultural centers in the Amazon, promoting shows by groups from the Carimbó Movement of West Pará and other local artists. The Espaço Alter was the key element in the growth and strengthening of carimbó and was decisive in the process of patrimonialization of the rhythm in 2014. It has hosted shows by Dona Onete, Pinduca, Patricia Bastos, Nilson Chaves and other great names in Amazonian music.


The word carimbó is of indigenous origin, a combination of curi (hollow stick) and m’bó (pierced) – the stick that produces the sound. The name refers to the curimbó, the main musical instrument. These are bass drums made from hollowed-out tree trunks and ox hide, which is played sitting with the legs hugging the instrument. Maracas and the banjo complement the sound. In general, these are handmade banjos with strings of fishing line and the bottom body of a pan or tambourine. Many groups include wind instruments such as flute, sax or clarinet, which are added to the singers’ voices.


The carimbó dance, characterized by rotating movements, emerged with the local fishermen and farmers who, after finishing their activities for the day, would to gather to dance to the rhythm of the drum. Traditionally, it is a seduction ritual where the partner avoids touching the “lady” unless she allows it. That’s why they say that carimbó is danced alone, despite the fact that there is a lot of interaction between the dancers.

participating in

  • WOMEX 2021
stand number WOMEX 21: E79-E80

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