Born in Salvador, state of Bahia, in Brazil, the singer and percussionist Lula Almeida spent his childhood and adolescence involved in “rodas de capoeira” in front of the traditional “mercado modelo” (public market) in Salvador. At a very young age he started working with professional samba groups such as “Mensageiros do Samba” and “Independentes do Samba” in his hometown.
Then the young artist worked at “Tenda dos Milagres” doing folkloric shows and also “Banda Pinel” playing in the famous Bahian carnival group “ Bloco do Pinel” with legendaries Brazilian musicians Ricardo Chaves and Durval Lelis. Afterwards, he continued his career in the Bahian music scene, playing with the band “Transito Livre” and playing in the “Corujas” group.
The musician also participated in the folkloric group “Tropicana”, which he came on a U.S Tour including Los Angeles for performances at UCLA. It was in 1987 when he came for three months to perform with “Tropicana”. In the following year, he came back to SoCal to study English and work on his music with the help of his Brazilian friends, Floriano and Lazaro, directors of the Embrasamba, the first samba school in Los Angeles County.
In the “city of angels” he fell in love with the city and that’s when he decided he should stay and settle down. He created his band Lula & Afro-
Brasil and began his musical career in the United States. In L.A he has worked with many musicians including percussionists Badaro and Choreographer Linda Yudin (Viver Brazil Dance Company), and Gibi dos Santos (Sergio Mendes band)
He introduced SoCal to the Axe Music of Bahia in 1989 and to Lambada in 1990 with his band Lula & Afro-Brazil. A few of his most memorable performances was the one with Rick Martin in the 2002 Grammy Awards and with Alexandre Pires (Brazilian/Latin star) in the Latin Grammy of 2006. He worked for a while for the Annual “Open House” at the Hollywood Bowl through the L.A Philharmonic Association.The charismatic Lula “Meu Rei” Almeida is married to the American teacher and former professional dancer Abby.
Lula Almeida and his Grupo Afro-Brazil in 2020 launched the video clip “Samba da Sereia” and you can check on Youtube. In 2021 they moved from Los Angeles to New York City, where his wife was born for family matters, and in january 2024, after two years, they came back to Los Angeles. In 2024 Lula & Afro-Brazil will launch the new project, his new album “Felicidade” (Happiness).