How to make the Reco-Reco Capoeira Musical Instrument

The Reco-Reco is one of the 5 traditional afro-brazilian instruments that typically make up the full Capoeira Bateria, along with the Berimbau, Atabaque, Pandeiro and Agogô.

Pronounced “Heko-heko”, its name mimics the sound it makes – Reco-reco-rec-O!

While on the one hand the instrument is very easy to play, it’s not without it’s challenges.

The most common rhythm used by most capoeira groups has an off beat, which can make singing and playing at the same time tricky.

The good news is, making the reco-reco is very easy, by far the easiest of any of the capoeira instruments.

Equipment

To make the reco-reco you will need:

  • A length of Bamboo
  • A Saw
  • A triangular wood file
All you need to make a reco-reco

Making the Reco-Reco

1. Select your bamboo

You can find bamboo in most DIY stores. It’s pretty cheap, I go a 2m length for 6€. That can make a fair amount of reco-recos, so maybe you can do as a team project with other members of your group. (Or go into business as the local reco-reco dealer).

You want it to have a diameter of between 5-7cm – the wider it is, the deeper and richer the sound will be.

Check the bamboo for cracks and imperfections before you buy it.

2. Cut a section of bamboo

Use the saw to cut a length of the bamboo that is between 30-40cm long.

It’s important WHERE you cut the bamboo in relation to the joints/growth rings.

Inside a bamboo joint

The rings are solid all the way through, so you want to make sure that there is only 1 joint within the length of bamboo that you cut, and that this is near one end. This will form a kind of “handle”.

It’s important that the main body of the reco-reco is hollow, and that the end is open to allow the sound to resonate.

The “handle” of the reco-reco

3. Make the grooves

First score the lines where you want them using the saw or stanley knife.

I made them around 1.5cm apart. If you want to be precise you could measure them out with a ruler. But I’m a lazy slapdash reco-reco maker, so I just did it by eye, as you can probably tell…

Now take the triangular file, and file a shallow groove into each of the lines you marked, trying to keep them all roughly the same length and depth.

Feel the groove baby!

4. Find a Stick

That’s it! Easy peasy no? Much quicker and simpler than making a berimbau (Though now you’ve got the instrument making bug, we highly recommend trying that next).

All you need to do now is find a small stick, and start practicing!

Enjoy 🙂

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