For the Love of Forró – film

This great little documentary was made in 2008 by Adriana Caitano and Galton Sé, journalism graduates from the University of Brasília. The film shows the pé-de-serra movement, composed principally of young people from southcentral Brazil who idolize the more traditional forró, disseminated by Luiz Gonzaga in the 50s, and based on the accordian-triangle-bass drum formation. These forró lovers research the musical style, listen to vinyls and get together several times a year in festivals where forró is played 24 hours per day. In the film, three such festivals are shown: Rootstock (SP), RioRoots (RJ) and Festival Nacional de Forró de Itaúnas (ES).

(There are English subtitles but you may have to activate them by clicking the video’s ‘caption’ button on the Youtube site.)

Moro no Brasil – Excellent Documentary

After years and years of wanting to see Moro no Brasil, I finally had the chance the other day and I liked it so much that I saw it twice in a row! It spends about 50 minutes on Pernambucan music, 10 minutes on music from Salvador and the rest (around 45 min) in Rio, on samba. When and if I ever get the time and money, I plan on documenting a similar journey throughout Brazil on a similarly interesting subject.

“Moro no Brasil (“I Live in Brazil”) is a musical journey that delves deeply into the heart of Brazil. Experience Brazilian culture and get to know its people with over 50 musical performances from the streets of Brazil, including interviews and performances by Walter Alfaiate & Seu Jorge, Antonio Nobrega, Darue Malungo, Silverio Pessoa, Margareth Menezes, Ivo Meirelles and more. Moro no Brasil is a stirring passionate documentary that grants the viewer unparalleled access to the diversity and musical richness of Brazilian music, reaching far beyond Samba and Bossa Nova. Writer/director Mika Kaurismaki’s musical journey covers 4,000 kilometers, with stopovers in Pernambuco, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, and presents the voyage from the roots of samba to its present-day excursions into rap and funk.”

You can buy the DVD here on Amazon (not an affiliate link)

Turista Aprendiz

“The musical expedition made ​​by the group A Barca, formed by musicians and researchers of folk traditions, continues to rediscover traditional Brazilian music. From December 2004 to February 2005, they traveled through Pará, down the coast to Bahia, Minas Gerais and later arrived in Sao Paulo. Throughout the course, they collected and recorded groups of local traditions and culture.

To produce the Collection Turista Aprendiz, A Barca visited seven groups selected to have their own CD, considering the excellence of the repertoire, virtuosity of the artists and the strength of traditions. They are: As Cantadeiras do Souza (Jequitibá-MG), o Bumba Boi Brilho da Sociedade (Cururupu-MA), O Grupo da Quixabeira (Lagoa da Camisa- BA), a Irmandade do Rosário de Justinópolis (Ribeirão das Neves – MG), o Redandá (Cipó Guaçu – SP), os Kariri Xocó (Porto Real do Colégio – AL) e a Casa Fanti-Ashanti (São Luís – MA). The collection also brings together a DVD with seven short films of about fifteen minutes on each group. “

The Hyper Women of the Alta Xingu

A quick note on this. Every once in a while I’m reminded of why I fell in love with Brazil (no, it’s not because of naked indigenous women). This country is endlessly full of interesting stuff. Hopefully I can get my hands on this documentary at some point.

“Deep in the rain forest of Mato Grosso, on the upper reaches of Xingu river, the Kuikuro Indians make preparations for an age-old singing and dancing ritual: the Jamurikumálu, the most powerful ritual that Indian women can celebrate. “Jamurikumálu” means “superwomen”. One of the older women of the village feels that she doesn’t have long to live and desires nothing more than to be part of the ritual one last time. The problem is that the only woman in the village who knows all the songs is also seriously ill. The other women nevertheless start reconstructing and rehearsing the songs, with lyrics that are often humoristic as well as explicit as regards love and sex. After all the battle of the sexes is the driving force in the universe.

The three directors, Carlos Fausto, Leonardo Sette, Takumã Kuikuro, including an Indian who lives in this area, have captured the beauty of the Jamurikumálu with a great eye for detail. In many breathtakingly spectacular shots the viewer is drawn into the ritual and follows the participants as they fall into a magical trance. This remarkable documentary is far more than an ethnographic report, it is a brilliant immersion in Kuikuro culture.”

Premiado o Melhor Filme em Festival Internacional de Curitiba 2011

Escola do Frevo – Pernambuco

In the comments of my recent article on Carnival and Frevo in Recife (you can find a link to it a few posts down from this one), a video was posted about a Frevo school in Pernambuco which won 2nd place at an international dance contest in New York. Excellent stuff!

Minha Mulher Não Deixa, Não – Reginho

At the risk of being a slight hypocrite (by saying I’m allergic to BS), I’d like to “like” the efforts of Reginho who is doing “tecnobrega” (ie, not tecnobrega, but perhaps produced in the same manner). He’s got a catchy tune with a rather créu-like dance, and in time, of course, for Carnival. Apparently, it’s been a hit for the last two months (and, hey, anything is better than “Rebolation”)


Lundú Marajoara – Flirtatious couple dance

(The tourism company which does these boat shows is called Valeverde)

The Lundu, originally a dance done by African slaves in Brazil, also gained popularity among the white middle class and upper crust and became Brazil’s first national dance. Initially though, the Portuguese court and the Vatican itself banned the dance due to its sexual nature yet when the dust settled, it became popular once more. Upon its return, it was still kept hidden from public displays and therefore went ‘underground’, finding followers mainly in three Brazilian states, São Paulo, Minas Gerais and in Pará (on the island of Marajó).

What differentiates Lundú Marajoara from the other styles of Lundú is principally the form of dress, which is also used in the Carimbó. The women present themselves with beautiful long colorful skirts, white blouses, necklaces, bracelets and flowers in their hair. The men wear light blue or white pants and either no shirt at all or a white shirt with Marajoarian designs. Both dancers are barefoot.

A flirtatious couple dance, usually accompanied by a guitar, but sometimes a thumb piano or drums, Lundu is related to the Spanish fandango and other new-world dances like the Argentine Zamba, Cueca and Bolero – they all involve, to some degree, handkerchiefs, castanets, and holding ones’ arms above their heads. The point behind the dance is said to involve a man asking a woman to go to bed with him, although his invite isn’t manifested verbally but rather physically. Initially, the woman is supposed to deny the man but after persistance, she gives in at which point the dance ends.

Carimbó – The magical song of the Amazon

(foto: ParaTur)

The Carimbó is considered an indigenous musical style, however like other Brazilian cultural manifestations, it mixed with and received other influences. Its name in Tupi refers to the drum (curimbó) with which the rhythm is marked. The carimbó itself as African origins which are present in the percussive rhythm and both its Portuguese (the snapping sound made with the fingers and the palms in certain parts of the dance) as well as European influences, or rather the melodies of the colonizers. Appearing in the area of Belém in the Salgado region (Marapanim, Curuça, Algodoal) and on the Island of Marajó, it became a traditional dance which later, when influenced by a more modern rhythm, lent to the creation of the Lambada and the Zouk (a musical style from the French West Indies).


In its traditional form, it’s accompanied by drums formed from tree trunks. At some point, the name of these drums came to be called “curimbó”, which is a corruption of the word Carimbó. They are also used together with the maracá, an indigenous rattle used in ceremonial war dances.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, more modern instruments were added to the Carimbó (such as guitars) as well as cúmbia and merengue influences from Colombia. The modern rhythm became popular in the Brazilian Northeast and gave birth to the lambada, which spread internationally (ironically popularized by a Bolivian musical group, Los K’jarkas).

The original instrumental formation of the carimbó was composed of two curimbós: one on top of the other in reference to the timbers or tones (agudo and grave) of the instruments; a wood flute (generally made from ebony or acapú wood, deriving from the Northeastern rustic flute made of bambu and used by the first Christians to pay homage to the Virgin Mary), maracás and a rural guitar with four cords, later substituted by the handcrafted banjo (made of wood, nylon chords and deer skin). Today, the instrumental part of the carimbó incorporates other wind instruments such as flutes, clarinets and saxophones.

Additional history

Being the preferred music of the Marajoan fishermen, although not yet known as carimbó at the time, the rhythm spread across the Guajará bay (where Belém is situated) by these fishermen and landed on the beaches of the Salgado region of Pará. In a region neighboring the cities of Marapanim and Curuçá, the genre solidified itself, earning the name it carries to this day. Maranhãozinho, in the municipality of Marapanim; and Aranquaim, in Curuçá, are two of the places that in recent times have reclaimed the paternity of the genre. In Marapanim, in the Salgado region in the Northeast of Pará, the genre has been cultivated well in the annual event known as the  “Festival de Carimbó de Marapanim — O Canto Mágico da Amazônia” (“Carimbó Festival of Marapanim – The Magical Song of the Amazon”), in the month of November.

For an idea of how the curimbó instrument sounds, see the video below!

To hear some of the Carimbó music, here’s Pinduca singing Garota do Tacacá (a song about the best dishes from Pará)

For more of an idea of what the dance looks like, see the video below

The Ritual

The dance is presented in pairs. It starts with two rows of men and women facing the center. When the music begins, the men follow the women while clapping as a way of inviting the women to the dance. Immediately, the pairs form, turning continually around each other and at the same time forming a big circle that goes counter-clockwise. At this point, the indigenous influence shows itself, when the dancers make certain body movements with their bodies thrust forwards and one foot in front of the other. The women, full of charm, customly have fun at their partners by holding the ends of their dresses, waiting for the moment when their partners are distracted in order to hit them in the face with this part of their clothing. This always provokes shouts and laughs from the other dancers. The gentleman that is booed by his own companion is forced to abandon the dance area. At a determined moment in the carimbó dance, one couple goes to the center to enact the famous turkey dance or “Peru de Atalaia”, where the gentleman is forced to pick up a hankerchief his partner dropped using just his mouth. In case the gentleman doesn’t succeed, his partner hits him in the face with her dress and subjected to the boos of the others, must leave the dance area. If he succeeds, he is applauded.