International Rhythm Adventures


December 19, 2017-January 6, 2018

Join us for an unforgettable music-filled RHYTHM ADVENTURE in Olinda, BRAZIL!

A UNESCO World Heritage Site brimming with art, poetry and music, Olinda is one of Brazil’s hidden cultural treasures, a city ALIVE with over 70 art galleries, colonial architecture, and the pulsating, seminal Brazilian rhythms marakatu, samba de coco, ciranda and frevo!

Our Rhythm Adventure will take you INSIDE the Olinda music, art & culture scene, and includes all accommodations, all meals, daily yoga classes and over 5 hours a day of drum and percussion lessons with Olinda’s top teachers and performing artists!!!

The Rhythm Adventure in Olinda is honored to welcome first-call percussionist Emerson Santana to our staff, who will share the beauty of Olinda’s traditional rhythms with an open heart and lots of laughter: Samba de coco praieiro, afoxe and maracatu baque virado!

In addition, this incredible cultural exchange includes California-based percussionist Robert “Bobby” Wallace founder of the Total Rhythm Percussion School in Oakland, CA and seminal member of California’s top world-percussion band The Rhythm Cafe! Bobby will teach his unique brand of funk and hip-hop beats infused with traditional Afro-Cuban rhythms.

Finally, our staff is rounded out by three incredible teachers. The talented and powerful Tia Ukpe-Wallace, who has over 10 years professional experience teaching yoga, will offer a daily Vinyasa Flow yoga class. West African percussionist Ben Isaacs will share his love of rhythms from Senegal, Mali, and Guinea. Jose Freitas Da Silva, a third-generation drummer from Brazil, is the founding artist of the Torda School of Art and Culture.

This trip is open to EVERYONE interested in exploring Olinda’s vibrant culture. NO PRIOR DRUM EXPERIENCE NEEDED! FIRST-TIMERS ABSOLUTELY WELCOME! All drums and percussion instruments provided, or bring your own.

We are EXPERTS at helping folks relax and feel their way into the rhythms, providing the encouragement and support needed to ENJOY the music-making experience. We LOVE teaching new students and Olinda is the perfect environment to jump into the Wide World of Percussion!

More about us…
We are open-minded world travelers who adore CULTURE, MUSIC, meeting new people, great food, NATURE, and seeing the places we visit FROM THE INSIDE out. We are culturally diverse, love ADVENTURE, and have great respect for the people of the countries we visit.

We have led inspirational Rhythm Adventures to San Juan, Puerto Rico (2017), Havana, Cuba (2016), Salvador, Brazil (2015), and Yelapa Mexico (2013, 2014). Click through our slideshow of images from past Rhythm Adventures.

Contact or call Robert NOW with questions at 510-967-6135!



Tour Leader and Drum Teacher

Robert “Bobby” Wallace

Professional musician and Founder of the Total Rhythm School of World Percussion in Alameda, CA. Bobby has taught percussion for over 15 years to THOUSANDS of students in the USA and abroad and has led Drum Workshops in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Havana, Cuba, Salvadro, Brazil and Yelapa, Mexico. Bobby has performed with international superstars Margareth Menezes (Brazil), David Rudder (Trinidad), Amanda Santiago (Brazil), Calypso Rose (Trinidad), Bonnie Riatt (USA) and Carlos Santana (USA).

Drum Teacher

Emerson Santana

Born and raised in Olinda, Brazil, Emerson is a first-call professional musician experienced in the traditional Nordeste Rhythms of Samba de coco praieiro, afoxe and maracatu baque virado! Emerson teaches with warmth, humor and utmost respect for the traditions and the culture of his country.

Yoga Instructor

Anietie “Tia” Ukpe-Wallace

(Dec 19, 2017-Jan 1, 2018 only)
Tia Ukpe-Wallace has been a yoga practitioner for 17 years and yoga teacher for over 10 years. Her background is in Ashtanga Vinyasa, Therapeutic, and Roll Model Method and she has taught throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, CA, including Bridges Rock Gym in El Cerrito, CA, Square One Yoga in San Leandro, CA, and Body Wisdom Studio in Pt. Richmond, CA. She is currently in graduate school completing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine in San Diego, CA.

Drum Teacher

Ben Isaacs

(Dec 28, 2017-Jan 6, 2018 only)
Ben has been playing various instruments his whole life, but at age 19 was introduced to West African music, which started a passionate connection with hand percussion that has grown and expanded for the last 25 years. He plays Djembe, Djunjun, Tama (Talking Drum), Sabar, Krin (slit log drum), Bougarabou, and Balaphone. He’ll teach traditional arrangements from Mali (Sunu, Lingin, Aconcon), Senegal, Guinee + Modern, and original compositions! He has performed with Malima & Les Harmonies, Djaily Kunda Kouyate, Ibro Diabate, Balla Tounkara, Panjea, Nabi Camara, and Onye Onyamachi.

Dance Teacher

Anne Costa

Olinda-based artist Anne Costa is the Artistic Director of the award-winning Artefolia Dance Ensemble from Recife, Brazil. Anne will be offering traditional and contemporary Brazilian dance including frevo, maracatu, and modern techniques.

Drum Teacher

Jose Freitas Da Silva

A third-generation drummer from Pernambuco, Brazil, Jose is a master of the Olinda musical styles cavalo marinho, maracatu de baque solto, ciranda e caboclinho. Jose teaches with great respect for Brazil’s traditional music and is the founding artist of the Torda School of Art and Culture.

Contact or call Robert NOW with questions at 510-967-6135!


Stay from 3 to 15 days between December 19, 2017-January 6, 2018: YOU decide!


  • Beautiful accommodations in a renovated historical home in Olinda’s historical Old Town
  • Three home cooked meals a day featuring the cuisine and flavor of Olinda
  • Five hours of drum classes a day with top Brazilian teachers and Tour Leader Bobby Wallace
  • Morning Yoga with Tia Ukpe-Wallace


  • 8am-9am: Morning Yoga with Tia
  • 9am – 10am: Breakfast
  • 10:30am – 12:30pm: Morning Drum Class
  • 12:30 – 1:30pm: Lunch
  • 1:30 – 4:30pm: Free Time. Explore the city, Go to the beach, Take a nap!
  • 4:30 – 7:00pm: Afternoon Drum Class
  • 7:00 – 8:00pm: Dinner
  • After 8pm: Free Time. Fun in Town. Jamming. Partying. (Drumming ends at 10pm)


Enrollment in this Rhythm Adventure to Olinda, Brazil is limited to 15 people per day!
PRICES AS LOW AS $125/day, includes accommodation, all meals and all classes. A day of enrollment starts with lunch and concludes with breakfast the following morning.

Stay longer = Lower Cost!

Stays of 3-5 days (2-4 nights):
$155/day includes all accommodations, food, all drum and yoga classes. Minimum stay is 3 days
Stays of 6-10 days (5-9 nights):
$140/day includes all accommodations, food, all drum and yoga classes
Stays of 11-15 days (10-14 nights):
$125/day includes all accommodations, food, all drum and yoga classes

Contact or call Robert NOW with questions at 510-967-6135!

Click here for detailed instructions on getting your Brazil Visa from the SF Consulate or click here for an expedited visa at an additional cost.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Rhythm Adventure to Olinda, Brazil:

When is the event?
The Rhythm Adventure in Olinda is open from Tuesday, December 19, 2017 through Saturday, January 6, 2018. You can book enrollment for any number of days (3-day minimum) during this time period. You pay per day, and the daily cost is reduced the longer you stay.Where is the Rhythm Adventure held?
In the cultural center of Olinda, Brazil, in the Northeast of the country, adjacent to the larger city of Recife, Brazil. Click here to see Olinda on a map.

What is included in the Rhythm Adventure?
For each day of enrollment, travelers will enjoy a comfy and cozy bed in a shared room in a large and beautiful renovated home in the historical district of Olinda, three home-cooked meals a day, five hours of drum instruction and one morning yoga class. (NOT INCLUDED: Transportation costs to/from Olinda (airfare), nighttime activities.)

What is the price?
Depends on how long you stay. The all-inclusive price includes accommodation in the center of the historical old city, all meals freshly prepared by our professional chef, and all drum and yoga classes: For stays of 3-5 days: $155/day per person. For stays of 6-10 days: $140/day per person, and for stays of 11-15 days: $125/day per person. (Minimum stay is 3 days.)

Do I need to be a drummer to participate?
Absolutely not! This adventure is designed for anyone wishing to learn traditional and modern music and culture from the Northeast of Brazil. No prior drumming experience needed. All instruments provided (or bring your own).

What if I have prior drumming experience, will I be challenged?
YES! Our classes are designed for all levels: beginning students will be given simpler rhythms, more advanced students challenged (and supported) with more syncopated beats and phrasing. All students are invited to bring their own drum or percussion instrument if so desired (but not required).

What type of music & percussion will be taught?
LOTS! This is a musical exchange. Top Olinda-based percussionists Emerson Santana and Jose Freitas da Silva will teach folkloric rhythms from the region: Marakatu, Frevo, Samba de Coco, Cavalho Marino, more. Trip leader Bobby Wallace will teach funk and hip-hop rhythms infused with traditional and modern rhythms from Cuba (rumba, bembe, comparsa, makuta). Emerson and Bobby (and contributing artists) will also create and teach a fusion of Olinda/Oakland/Cuba rhythms for something totally unique!

What are the accommodations like?
We are staying in a beautiful, renovated home in the historic district of Olinda. Each student will have a comfy, cozy bed with fresh linens in a shared room. Hot showers, clean and comfortable living room, big backyard, fully stocked kitchen, and beautiful artwork throughout the home.

Is food provided?
Yes. Our private chef from Olinda will prepare three fresh, wholesome and delicious meals a day. We are fun-loving travelers who LOVE GOOD FOOD!

Where will the drum classes take place?
The morning drum class will be offered in our home, the afternoon class is offered at a local percussion studio within an easy walk of our home.

Do I need to bring a percussion instrument?
No. All percussion instruments are provided, but many students prefer to bring their own, and we have a safe and secure spot for storage and access during your stay.

What type of Yoga will be taught?
Our pro teacher Tia Ukpe-Wallace will teach a daily morning Vinyasa Flow yoga class.

Is there WiFi?
No. There is no WiFi or internet service at the house, but there are several internet cafes within walking distance. (Please consider this a nice break from your daily, hectic pace.)

How do you get to Olinda, Brazil?
The cultural city of Olinda is located 20 minutes from the much-larger, more modern city of Recife, Brazil. The international airport in Recife is only 40 mins. from the center of Olinda. Daily direct flights to Recife from NYC, Miami, Orlando, Dallas, Washington, DC. Taxi from Recife airport to our home in Olinda is about $60US, or you may take the public bus for approximately $8US.

Do I need a passport and visa to visit Brazil?

Yes. U.S. passports are easily obtained here. Visas for Brazil are easily obtained and currently (as of 2017) the Brazilian Consulate is issuing tourist visas valid for 5 years! This means you can use your Brazilian visa many times over, so long as you travel within 5 years of it’s issuance! Click here for detailed instructions on getting your Brazil Visa.

Are you close to the beach?
Yes, there is a public beach in Olinda, walkable from our place. However, the water is not very clean at this location and it recommended that swimmers take a 20 min. public bus ride north of Olinda to a nicer beach. (Our daily schedule provides for 3 hrs. of free time every afternoon.)

Are children welcome to join?
Absolutely! Trip leaders Bobby and Tia will have their 3-year-old daughter Grace with them, and we LOVE having children join us. This is an All-Ages experience and we value multi- generations at our events. Prices for children vary depending on age and sleeping arrangements, so please email to discuss options.

What is the cancellation policy?
Please understand that offering a unique cultural experience such as this requires MANY “moving parts” and coordination re: housing, chefs, artists schedules, studio rental, etc.

Cancellations by October 1, 2017 will receive a 75% refund (minus transaction fees). Cancellations by November 1, 2017 will receive a 50% refund (minus transaction fees). No refunds of any kind after November 1, 2017.

Who do I contact for more information?
Please call Total Rhythm Founder and trip organizer Bobby Wallace directly with questions: 510-967-6135, or email him at Bobby is happy to speak with you about this amazing opportunity!