I just purchased my first Cuíca Samba drum, a Brazilian friction drum known for its high squeaky sound resembling a small possum, and is used in Samba music and during Carnival. I can’t wait to master it.
The tone a Cuíca Samba drum produces has a high-pitched squeaky timbre. It has been called a “laughing gourd” due to this sound. Many also claim that the Cuíca has a “monkey” sound. The Cuíca Samba drum plays an important rhythmic role in samba music of all kinds. It is particularly notable as a fixture of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival groups, which feature entire sections of Cuíca players. It is so commonly used in radio-oriented samba music that in the absence of a Cuíca player, Brazilian singers or other musicians imitate the sound of the Cuíca with their voices. An example of this imitation can be heard on the intro part of Dizzy Gillespie’s version of Chega de Saudade (from the “Dizzy on the French Riviera” album, 1965) composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Along with samba, the Cuíca is one of the mainly used Brazilian instruments in jazz-rock, free jazz, and Latin jazz.