Contemporary Music Ensemble

• 1978 2015


The Uakti are a quartet formed in 1978 by Marco Antônio Guimarães (musical director and main composer), Paulo Sérgio dos Santos, Artur Andrés Ribeiro, and Décio de Souza Ramos; the musicians have classical backgrounds and play with the Minas Gerais Symphonic Orchestra. The Uakti is devoted to extracting an extremely musical result from instruments made from PVC tubes, wood, glass, tin cans, and the like. Their name was taken from an ancient legend from the Tukano Indians of the Alto Rio Negro region in the Amazon. The legend recounts that Uakti was a musician who had holes throughout his body through which the wind would produce sounds that seduced women. Jealous, the men killed Uakti and buried him. In that place appeared three palm trees with which flutes are made, evoking the sound originally produced by Uakti's body. These instruments must be played only by men, so that the women don't feel tempted.

Being from Minas Gerais, the group itself was noticed and sponsored by Milton Nascimento, whose albums they participated in. Nascimento also produced their first album, Uakti/Oficina Instrumental, in 1981. The marimba made from the Angelim wood that would be central to their sound appeared on the group's second LP, Uakti II (1982). Having performed internationally, the Uakti also has had its albums released abroad. Their 1989 LP Mapa included an instrumental version of "Dança dos Meninos," a song written by Guimarães and Milton Nascimento.