Renato Martins


Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Renato Martins, born in Rio and brought up in São Paulo, started to play percussion and piano when he was four years old. He studied drums and jazz piano and finished his musical studies with courses in classical piano, composition and conducting.

Renato Martins has created new techniques for traditional instruments, for example, the udu and the cajon. He is also known to have applied kitchen utensils as percussion instruments. He is considered one of the most respected percussionists in the world and has been described as an innovator of the Brazilian percussion by Brazil’s specialized media.

Between 1994 and 1996 he lived in England. He played with the tabla player, Sarvar Sabri, the saxophonist, Andy Hamilton and other big names in Jazz and Ethnic music. He also participated in festivals and venues like Womad and The Birmingham Jazz Festival, and The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

In 1998 in Brazil, Renato Martins was the only percussionist to reach the semi finals in the 1st Visa Award of Instrumental Brazilian Popular Music. Since then he played beside some big names of the Brazilian popular and instrumental music scenes like Andre Geraissati, Ulisses Rocha,Teco Cardoso, Renato Borghetti, Edu Ribeiro, Nelson Faria, Mozart Mello, Roberto Sion, Celso Pixinga, Andre Mehmari and Celio Barros.

Renato Martins is a musical educator. He teaches privately and does regular workshops at music schools and runs percussion courses. In 2003 Renato Martins launched his first solo CD, Indaiá.  The album was released at the Instrumental Sesc Brazil,  and broadcasted by the cable channel Rede Sesc-Senac de Televisao.

In 2004 Renato Martins relocated to Brussels and has worked with several big names of the Belgium jazz scene including Steve Houben, Sam Gerstmans, Victor da Costa, Henri Greindl, Daniel Stokart and Maxime Blesín. Renato has played at some important venues of Brussels like Flagey, The Music Village, Theater Marni, Theater 140, Jazz Station and Theater Molière.

In 2004 Renato Martins and Boris Gaquere created the Boris Gaquere & Renato Martins Duo and released the album Tempo Feliz in 2006. The duo has perfomed in Belgium, Switzerland, France, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, United States, Brazil, Argentine and Taiwan. 

As a solo percussionist, Renato has participated at the Catalunyan International Percussion Festival in Barcelona, Spain, the Batuka! Brasil International Drum Festival, in Brazil among others. He has toured throughout the US and Canada from 2009 to 2010 as the percussionist for Cirque Du Soleil’s show, OVO. Renato also played in India at the Sai Baba's birthday celebration in 2010 and performed in London beside the saxophonist Martin Speake. 


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Cajon with brushes - Renato Martins plays
Renato Martins -