His talents are multi-faceted as is his experience. Café is a percussionist, singer, composer, and recording artist who has founded his career on a deep understanding of the indigenous rhythms of Africa and South America.
In Sao Paulo, Villa Maria, Brazil, when Café was only eight years old, he became fascinated with the rhythmic pulsation that permeated the religious gatherings he attended with his parents. That particular blend of Afro-Brazilian rhythms transfixed him and signaled the direction he would take in his teens. At eighteen, he commenced a period of classical training that would lead him to the Municipal Symphonic Orchestra of Sao Paolo.
Café excelled in his “legit” studies but there was only one problem. He couldn’t shake the rhythms he had heard as a child. In the nightclubs, he heard those folkloric patterns manifested in the jazz and pop music of the day. Inspired, he began to make forays outside classical music.
In his twenties, Café moved to Rio with a theater troupe and also studied technique at the Villa Lob School. From 1976-1979 he performed in the National Arts Program entitled Seis & Meia, sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture. Again, popular music caught his gaze and in 1980 he began touring with the likes of Chico Buarque de Holanda, Milton Nascimento, Djavan and Simone.
Word spread that Café was a percussionist to be reckoned with and this spawned a move to the United States in 1985. Immediately he began working with top artists, including Roberta Flack, James Last, Sadao Watanabe, Phillippe Saisse, David Byrne, the New York Samba Band, Tania Maria, Herbie Mann, Larry Coryell, Mor Thiam, Gato Barbieri, Vinx, and Harry Belafonte.
Increasingly, Café was called to participate as a session percussionist—the ultimate honor for the live player. His credits grew and today are truly astounding. A partial list includes Jose Neto, Chuck Mangione, David Leibman, Eliane Elias, Gilberto Gil, Ernie Watts, Paquito D’Rivera, Sergio Mendes, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder. Café takes particular pride in appearing on trumpeter Randy Brecker’s Grammy winning album Into the Sun.
In 2004, the percussionist toured with Steve Winwood while balancing European and American dates with his own band, Café Quintet. A founding member of Folia De Reis, Café’s work can also be heard on Japanese recordings on the Bomba label and American albums on Three Kings Records.
He has recorded with Chuck Mangione, Steve Winwood, Jon Lucien, Dave Liebman, Eliane Elias, Rob Mounsey's Flying Monkey Orchestra, Edu Lobo, Batacoto, Gilberto Gil with Ernie Watts, Paquito d'Rivera, David Byrne, Steve Khan, Baden Powell, Tom Harrell, Richard Stolzman, Joyce Moreno, Judy Niemack, Danny Gottlieb, Herbie Mann, Ana Caram, Bireli Lagrene, James Taylor, Djavan with Stevie Wonder, Sérgio Mendes, Randy Brecker, Nilson Matta, Roni Ben-Hur, and Rachel Portman.
He has appeared with Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Simone, James Last, Phillippe Saisse, Sadao Watanabe, The New York Samba Band, Roberta Flack, David Byrne, Tania Maria, Herbie Mann, Larry Coryell, Morthiam, Gato Barbieri, Vinx, Pepeu Gomes, Michael Franks, Harry Belafonte, Mick Jagger, Margareth Menezes, Ashford & Simpson with Maya Angelou, Michael Brecker, Paul Winter, Astrud Gilberto, Jose Neto, Betty Buckley, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Alex Foster, Lew Soloff, Manfredo Fest, David Kikoski, Aydin Essen, Vinicius Cantuaria, Claudio Roditi, Tony Cedras, and Dianne Reeves, among others.
He composed the piece "Three Express", which he performed with Nilson Matta, Roni Ben-Hur, and Victor Lewis on their 2011 Motéma Music release, Mojave. The same year, he released his first album as leader, Meditations with the Orishas.