Adriano Adewale Itauna - biography

Brazilian percussionist/composer Adriano Adewale is a versatile musician and performer, known for his unconventional and exploratory approach to music, and for his ability to create magical soundscapes from the seemingly banal.

Adriano Adewale was born in Sao Paulo – Brazil. For many years he was known as Adriano Pinto, a colonial name he received at birth. It was after his visit to Africa (Nigeria and Benin Republic) searching for his roots that he changed his name to Adriano Adewale Itauna. Respectively from the Yoruba-Nigeria and Tupi Guarani-Brazil. Adewale means royal child who come back home and Itauna means black rock.
Music has always been part of Adriano’s life. His father is an amateur percussionist, who used to play drums for carnival times, and also when there are family gatherings, members of the family always play drums. Adriano’s maternal grandfather used to play Clarinet, his uncle accordion and every weekend they would meet and play ‘Chorinho music’, a style also known as Brazilian Jazz. There are also two uncles who played a great influence on Adriano’s career, Claudio Silva who was a virtuoso ‘Pandeiro' player and Joao Nicanor who is a singer song writer, guitarist and actor.

Adewale decided to play drum kit after being to a party where for the first time he heard and felt the power and depth of that instrument. He could not help, but buy a set of drums next day.   Three years later he began an actor’s career where he would also use his musical knowledge to perform as a musician as well as composing sound tracks for theatre plays.
Meanwhile working as an actor he took piano and percussion lessons, followed by a 4 years course on the University of Sao Paulo State where he finished a degree/BA on classical music-percussion. Alongside the university course, Adewale has always studied popular and folk music with private tutors as well as being part of Folk groups.

 In April 2000, Adriano moved to the UK, where he has since established himself as a respected percussionist, composer, educator and band leader.
Soon after he moved to London where he rapidly started working with  many musicians  and teaching percussion. His first band in the Uk  was called Sambura, which  released one album: “Cru”. Performing in various festivals and venues. In 2002 Adriano was introduced to Antonio Forcione(Acclaimed Italian guitarist) and soon became part of the Antonio Forcione Quartet which has been performing all over the world.

In 2004 Adriano went to Africa (Nigeria-Benin) in search for his roots and also to study music with great master percussion players. This trip has deeply changed Adriano’s playing and understanding of his own culture in various aspects. Upon his return, he went on  studying again, this time a Masters course in Music/Performance at SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies in London.  
In 2008 Adriano released his first solo album - Sementes - produced by Gilad Atmov. It featured the ‘Adriano Adewale Group’ an international line up of musicians including Australian born double bass player Nathan Riki Thomson, Senegalese Kora player Kadially Kouyate and Brazilian flutist, saxophonist Marcelo Andrade. The album was well received by the media.

In 2012 he released The vortex Sessions, a collaboration with the foremost Brazilian piano player Benjamin Taubkin. Followed by Raizes, his second solo album with the ‘Adriano Adewale Group’, produced by the great Chris Kimsin (Rolling Stones, Jimmy Cliff).

Adewale is also the mentor behind Catapluf - musical journey, a concert which introduces young audiences to Jazz. With one CD released Catapluf has toured many parts of Europe including Norway, Sweden, France and Scotland.

Adriano has a distinctive sound. His sounds comes from organic materials, connected to nature. They are made out of wood, clay, metal, skins and the philosophy behind it is the connection with the four classic elements: water, earth, air and fire. Playing percussion is about making music. Drums are very powerful, however they do not have to be loud. The idea of percussion has switched dramatically with the great late percussionist Nana VAsconcelos, who is Adriano’s percussion master, inspiration. Adriano has many effect instruments, through which he creates mesmerising atmospheres, soundscapes, to say the list, he is painting with sounds, telling stories through music.

Over the years Adriano has worked as a curator and artistic director. In 2009-2010 Adriano was an artist in residence at the Lakeside Theatre – Colchester. Amongst other activities, he curated ‘Festival Brasileiro’, which involved theatre, dance, music and fine arts from Brazil, and challenged presiding conceptions of Brazilian culture. As part of the festival, he arranged for and conducted the Essex Youth Jazz Ensembles. Currently Adriano is an artist in Residence at the EFDSS - English Folk Dance and Song Society, where he developed ‘Within the Waves, a project for massed voices and percussion performing sea songs and sea shanties from Brazil and England.

As a composer, Adriano has been commissioned by Bath Music Festival to write a new music piece for the opening of 2011 and 2012’s Bath festivals. He was also a composer/music director of dance-theatre piece Ballroom of Joys and Sorrows, a collaboration with Kate Flatt (original choreographer of Les Miserables). Also he has composed for dance companies, including Phoenix dance company 2016, with whom he wrote the score for ‘Undivided lovers’, a dance piece based on and celebrating shakespeare’s 400 anniversary.  Most recently he composed his first orchestral work 'Suite Dialogues', which was premiered by the Horsham Symphonic Orchestra, july 2017. 

Education is part of Adriano’s life. He is often writing new music to collaborate with primary school kids both singing and playing instruments. As part of City of London Festival, Adriano developed a project with kids who collected recycling material from the City of London, and transformed those in to drums. Th kids went on a procession, playing the instruments with a grand finale with the Umpatacum band, performing in front of St Pauls Cathedral. He also travels worldwide to teach, and recently has been teaching master students from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Performed with:

Adriano has performed with leading word musicians such as the great singer Bobby Macferrin, pianist Joanna McGregor with whom he still works and play as duo, combining classical, jazz and contemporary classical music. Pianist Benjamin Taubkin, one of the foremost piano players and composers from Brazil. Adriano has a long relationship with Taubkin, and one studio record and a live album soon to be released.
Britten Sinphonia has performed a piece by Adriano at the City of London Festival 2011, together with Joanna McGregor. This show was broadcasted on BBC.
Other artists include: Sara-Jane Morris, Tuti Moreno, Julia Biel, Seb Rochford, Andy Shapperd, Ronu Majundar.

Opened for:

Salif Keita, Airton Moreira and Flora Purim, Jools Holland, Seu Jorge, Cesaria Evora and Paco de Lucia


Sambura: Cru (no label) 2006

Adriano Adewale Group: Sementes Segue records 2008

The Vortex Sessions (duo album with pianist Benjamin Taubkin): Nucleo Contemporaneo 2012

Adriano Adewale Group: Raizes Caboclos records 2014

Catapluf Musical Journey: Caboclos records 2015

Subsonic trio: Sonic Migration 2016

Elda trio: Elda 2016


Adriano has been featured over 50 albums worldwide, from jazz, folk, world music. Including the Mercury award nominated album: Melting Pot, by Zoe Rhaman.

Julia Biel Not alone
Antonio forcione Touch wood/Tears of Joy/Sketches of Africa
Monica Vasconcelos Hih
Sarah Jane Morris Bloody Rain
Netsayi Chiguendere Chimurenga soul
Anita Wardell The road
Emilia Martensson Ana/Elda
Nathan Riki Thomson Bus to Bagamoyo/Shaped by the sea
Caratinga On tip toes
Marcelo Andrade African tree
Menino Josue Liquidificador
Pete Churchill&Mishka Adams Stories to tell
Mariane Mattoso Sinestesia
Jonny Philips Oriole


“Adriano Adewale boasts an imposing collection of firepower yet
 deploys it with rare restraint.” The Times
“London-based Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale has lately been proving he's a priceless asset“ John Fordham The Guardian 
"A whole percussion orchestra by himself" (British Theatre Guide)


Adewale has toured different parts of the world, either with his own projects or in collaboration with other artists. On two occasions Adriano went to the Philippines and Zimbabwe, where he had to build an instrument because it was too big to fit in the plain, a set of PVC tubes. The instruments were kept with the organisers and till this day it is a source of inspiration for young people interested in music.

Other places Adewale visited are: Australia, New Zealand, Barbados, USA, Maldive Islands, Ukraine, Italy, France, Germany, Nigeria, Benin Republic, Switzerland, Scotland, Sweden, Finland, Spain and Norway.

Social media links:

AAG decibel,

AAG promotional short video

Within the waves

conducting EYJO


Bath school link