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Arlindo Cruz participated in a recording for the first time on Candeia's album Roda de Samba. His first song, "Lição de Malandragem" (written in 1980), was recorded by Davi Correia. He joined the group Fundo de Quintal in 1980. In that samba group, which had its historic importance acknowledged for its role in the renovation of the genre, he would meet his future partner Sombrinha (with whom he has recorded several albums and has kept a performing partnership). Cruz recorded as a singer for the first time in Fundo de Quintal's second album, Fundo de Quintal No. 2. He recorded several of his own compositions with success, like "Só Pra Contrariar" (with Sombrinha and Almir Guineto). His songs also became hits in the interpretations by great artists like Beth Carvalho ("Malandro Sou Eu," "Sonhando Sou Feliz"), Alcione ("Fora de Ocasião"), and Zeca Pagodinho ("Bagaço de Laranja," "Saudade Louca," and "Casal Sem Vergonha"). The LP Arlindinho (1992) represented the starting point of his solo career. "E Verás Que Um Filho Teu Não Foge À Luta," samba enredo written together with Aluísio Machado, Índio do Império, Lula, and Beto Pernada, was presented by the Império Serrano samba school.