Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz

Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz


Rumpilezz is a 20 piece big band of horns, drums & percussion that plays intricate jazz inspired arrangements constructed upon a foundation of Afro-Bahian percussion rhythms from the sacred candomble tradition. One of the most exciting and innovative groups to come from Brazil in the last 10 years.



By combining ancestral Afro-Brazilian percussion with modern harmony, a unique and entirely idiosyncratic sound is born. The result of this distinctive musical innovation is the group Orkestra Rumpilezz. The Orkestra (with a K, like the original Greek word) was launched in Brazil in 2006 by composer and instrumentalist, Letieres Leite, founder of the group that brings to the stage a finely-tuned fusion of percussion and horns.

Rumpilezz is characterized by a rhythmic sensibility influenced by jazz and improvisation. The group’s compositions and arrangements, inspired by the musical forms of Bahia with influences from around the world, are based on the sounds and rhythmic patterns of the “Universo Percussivo Baiano” (Bahia Percussion Universe), rooted in the musical history of the large carnaval “Bloco Afros” such as Ilê Aiyê and Olodum, as well as in the sambas of the Bahian recôncavo and the sacred ceremonies of Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé.

The name of the band itself is a kind of blueprint of its musical purpose, which is based on Afro-Bahian elements of percussion, and the harmonies of the world’s greatest musical styles: Rum, rumpi, and le (the three drums, or “atabaques” used in Candomblé ceremonies) and the “ZZ,” representing jazz.


Presented in a Big Band format, Rumpilezz’s musical structure includes four percussionists (surdos, timbaus, the snare drum, agogô, tambourine, and, shaker) 14 horn players (four trumpets, four trombones, four flutes, two alto saxophones, two tenor saxophones, two soprano saxophones, one baritone sax, and one tuba), and one “Alabê” (Candomblé drum master) to play the “Atabaques.”

Orkestra Rumpilezz, an essential element of the Brazilian music scene for six years, has been called by critics a “veritable explosion of the boundaries of Brazilian instrumental music,” and has received the Bravo! Award for Best Pop Album, as well as the Brazilian Music Award for Best Debut of the Year and Best Instrumental Group.

Important figures in the world of music who have appeared in concert with Rumpilezz include Ed Motta, Nivaldo Ornelas, Carlinhos Brown, Joshua Redman, Stanley Jordan, Toninho Horta, Davi Moraes, Armandinho Macêdo, Max de Castro and Carlos Malta.


In 2011, after opening the famous Rock in Rio festival, the group travelled to Europe performing in Belgium, Holland, and Austria on its first international tour. The only Brazilian artist to perform on the main stage at the prestigious BMW Jazz Festival, which brought to the public representatives of World Jazz such as Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller, and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, the Orkestra also was awarded four big competitive prizes that resulted in an extensive Brazilian national tour that continued into 2012.

During the second half of 2012, the group travelled Brazil with a new national tour, entitled “Feira de Sete Portas” (named for the famous open market in Salvador), inspired by elements that connect the local with the global universe. Introducing a new way to experience the musical innovations of Orkestra Rumpilezz, through the addition of a visual aesthetic, the tour passed through 20 Brazilian cities and included new compositions. Folded into the midst of this tour, Rumpilezz also presented a series of shows in colaboration with North American jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman.

“Orkestra Rumpilezz is where the most interesting music is found. And I don’t mean just in Brazil, but in the world.” – Ed Motta

“Always prodigious when it comes to musical invention, Bahia courted the vanguard in 2009. The name of the innovator this time is Orkestra Rumpilezz.” – Pedro Alexandre Sanchez


Leader, founder and principal composer/arranger for this ground-breaking ensemble of percussion and horns, Letieres Leite has his roots firmly planted in the fertile earth of Bahia, with his efforts branching out through a diverse universe of contemporary musical creativity.

He began his academic career at the School of Fine Arts, Federal University of Bahia, while at the same time devoting himself to the study of music, teaching himself to read music and play flute and saxophone. Continuing to pursue his musical education, in 1986, Letieres moved to Vienna, Austria, where he attended the Konservatorium Franz Schubert. In Europe he began his career as a performing artist, playing with various musicians at festivals across the continent, including Gil Goldstein in 1990 and Paulo Moura in 1992 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He also played with the groups Hip-Noses and Tamanduá, both comprised of a mix of Swiss and Brazilian musicians, as well as the band, Brazilian Love Affair, with whom he played both in Austria and in Brazil.

Letieres has collaborated on diverse projects as a musician, composer and arranger, recording and performing with many important artists, including Nico Assumpção, Nana Vasconcelos, Gilb


2009 – Letieres Leite and Orkestra Rumpilezz

Released in 2009, Orkestra Rumpilezz’s acclaimed first album received four stars from critic Paulo Cavalcanti in Rolling Stone magazine, and was called “inspiration of the year” by Antonio Carlos Miguel in the newspaper, O Globo. It was highlighted as “one of the most brilliant creations of the past few years” by Lauro Lisboa Garcia, in the newspaper Estado do São Paulo, and referred to as the “Bahian vanguard” by Pedro Alexandre Sanches, in the magazine Bravo!

The self-titled album was recorded in the main hall at the Castro Alves Theater in Salvador, Bahia, a location chosen for its ideal acoustics. It was mixed at the Legacy Studio in New York, where it was engineered by the Grammy Award winning Sound Engineer, Joe Ferla. With eight tracks composed by Letieres, the CD includes a composition by Ed Motta, adapted to the “Rumpilezz style”, as well as an interactive bonus track, recorded live at a concert in the Our Lady of the Black Rosary Church (Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos) in the Pelourinho neighborhood of Salvador.