Are you ready to size up?

You are so ready to size up! Join the comeback of XL pandeiros

Large pandeiros are not an unusual sight in Brazil, adding a touch of oldschool and show to Brazilian music culture. But have you ever wondered why, in many other countries outside Brazil, the standard size is the more modest 10 inch pandeiro? A number of reasons has led to this trend, however, it's now time to explore the magic of XL pandeiros!

Pandeiros in 11", 12", 13" and 14" are common sizes in Brazil

Pandeiros in larger sizes offer a world of benefits: from their captivating visual appeal, to a rich and resonant sound, their substantial volume and dominant role they can bring to an ensemble - and let's not forget how fun a little showing off can be! Let's dive into some of the reasons why larger pandeiros can be an excellent choice for your musical journey.

Brazilian beats on XL pandeiros - do you dare to go big?
In the vibrant and rhythm-rich culture of Brazil, the pandeiro holds a special place. Pandeiros with synthetic heads are commonly used in Samba Pagode and other (traditional & modern) Brazilian music genres. The small frame drum has taken on a fascinating evolution in recent years. Pandeiros have basically experienced a renaissance in the past few decades, with innovative playing techniques pioneered by percussionists like Marcos Suzano and the development of new styles, championed by artists such as Scott Feiner, Tulio Araújo, Bernard Aguiar, Sergio Krakowski, Nacho Delgado and many more, including unusual ensembles like the Pandeiro Repique Duo, propelling this traditional Brazilian instrument into a contemporary and influential position within modern music. For many of these modern techniques and playing styles, a smaller, lighter and more compact instrument was required. But the large sizes are back!

Pandeiros in 11", 12" and 13" - the return of large-sized pandeiros
While 10" pandeiros have kind of become the standard size in many countries due to the development of modern techniques and of course a certain trend, Brazil has embraced the larger pandeiro, ranging up to 13" or even 14" in diameter. The reasons behind this trend are simple: sound, volume, show effect.

Did you know?
Large 11" and 12", but also huge 13" and 14" pandeiros were widely popular before modern, more filigrane playing techniques became a thing. They were even used in baterias, not so much to play - obviously you would not hear them very well - but as a show element! The so-called Malabaristas (jugglers) would do tricks with one or several pandeiros, spinning them on one finger, actually juggling them while moving around a passista to emphasize her spotlight. Go have a look on Youtube and pop in "malabarista pandeiro"! This trend is experiencing a revival! According to some pandeiro producers, around 60% of pandeiros sold in Brazil are 12" or larger in diameter!

Large Pandeiros - you can't unsee them
One of the most noticeable aspects of a larger pandeiro is its impressive size. These drums can feature eye-catching hologram heads, special prints, logos, and intricate designs that capture the essence of Brazilian culture. The larger surface allows for more detailed artwork, making the pandeiro not just a musical instrument but also a huge show element as well as a work of art. Imagine the mesmerizing effect of a 13" hologram head reflecting the stage lights during a live performance. It adds a dynamic visual element to the music, enhancing the overall experience for both the audience and the performer.

Bigger Diameter - Richer, Fuller Sound
Size matters when it comes to pandeiros, especially in terms of sound. Larger pandeiros produce a lower pitch, creating a deep and resonant tone. This fuller sound is not only really nice to listen to, but also adds depth and richness to the music, it adds another layer of musicality creating a different soundscape that complements the other instruments. Larger pandeiros are also louder and punchier in their frequency. This means they can cut through the mix in an ensemble, allowing them to play a more substantial role in the music. Whether it's in a Samba group or a Brazilian jazz band, the larger pandeiro is very present, driving the rhythm with authority and thriving in its role.

Lower Tuning - Volume and Presence
In a music ensemble, it's crucial for each instrument to find its place and maintain a distinct presence. Larger pandeiros excel in this regard. Their increased volume and resonance make them ideal for leading the rhythm section, soloing or providing a solid foundation for other instruments to build upon. Whether you're performing in a small intimate setting or on a grand stage, a larger pandeiro will certainly ensure that its percussive presence is felt, enriching the music and captivating the audience. You could even combine a smaller with a larger pandeiro, combining their different voices to a kind of a musical section. It's the variety that ultimately brings in the magic. Whilst you might not find the many subtleties a 10" pandeiro offers, you will definitively fall in love with the many characteristics that sets a large pandeiro apart from smaller sizes.

Modern Lightweight Construction In XL Pandeiros
Traditionally, one of the drawbacks of larger pandeiros used to be their weight. Carrying a heavy pandeiro can be a challenge for musicians, especially during extended performances. However, modern materials and innovative building strategies have revolutionized pandeiro construction and show that this argument is no longer valid. Today, it's possible to create super lightweight pandeiros even in a 13" diameter at around 600g. For a pandeiro with synthetic head in this size range absolutely spectacular! This type of pandeiro offers all the advantages without the burden of excessive weight and tiring out. You can now basically enjoy the benefits of an XL pandeiro with fuller sound and impressive visual appeal without compromising on comfort.

XXL Pandeiro? Go On, Be A Show-Off!
Last but not least, show must go on! We all take pride in our instruments, and a larger, beautifully crafted pandeiro can be your personal symbol of skill and dedication, or simply brings a bit of glam onto the stage. It's a statement piece that says, "I'm here to play, I love Samba and my pandeiro is awesome and large - so what!"

Let's do this!
In conclusion, while 10" pandeiros may still be considered the standard size in many parts, Brazil has shown us that bigger can indeed be a very interesting alternative. Larger pandeiros offer stunning visual appeal, a richer and fuller sound, increased volume and presence in ensembles, and the opportunity to take the stage with showstopper qualities - now who wouldn't like that! With modern lightweight construction techniques, there's no reason not to embrace the allure of the larger pandeiro. So, next time you're looking to add a touch of authentic Brazilian flair to your music, consider going big!

Let us know what you think and what your experience is!

Your Kalango Team

Here is an older video of Carlos Café do Pandeiro showing a few tricks on a big pandeiro:

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