Instrument-maker Mestre Dinho is a fixture in the Pelourinho, the historic center of Salvador that serves as a home to the majority of the music, dance, and art in the city.
In the Pelourinho, Dinho has shop where he sells a wide array of instruments, from congas and atabaques to xequeres and berimbaus. Entering into his shop is a bit like entering into a foreign country for a non-musician like me, but my husband the percussionist becomes like a kid in a candy store. My husband and Mestre Dinho are old friends, so when we go we sit down, I get to ask all of my non-musician questions about the instruments, listen to the two of them argue about the difference between a xequerê and afoxé, and get treated to a bit of a performance as well.
Every piece I buy from Mestre Dinho has been tuned up by him before we leave the store. As Dinho’s store is geared towards professional musicians, you know you are getting a quality instrument. Yes, he has some instruments “for the tourists” but Dinho won’t let me buy the “tourist pieces” — the “tourist pieces” are for those people that want a “lembrança” (memory) that is brightly colored and will sit on a wall or shelf and won’t ever be played.
To help you with your instrument selection, I include a recording of the actual instrument being sold, as played by my professional percussionist husband, so you can listen before you buy.