Roosters in Recife Sing Frevo

The largest Carnival bloco in the world is said to be in Recife and you can find it on Saturday during the week of Carnival in the central neighborhood of São José. It goes by the name of the Galo da Madrugada (The Early Morning Rooster) and it’s pretty hard to miss, just find the giant shiny rooster towering above thousands of people. If you’re more of an observer, perhaps you can find a seafaring local to let you board their boat to watch from the sidelines on the Capibaribe River. However, it’s wise to be aware of what you’ll be missing out on.

The passo is the dance of the frevo, an accelerated polka-like dance best associated with Recife’s Carnival. While there’s no fighting involved in the modern-day frevo-de-rua, its origins point back to the time when knife-carrying capoeiristas traded fighting for dancing and knives for umbrellas. The frevo then spent an entire century marinating under the Pernambucan sun and eventually amalgamating with other styles such as the maxixe, the marcha and elements of capoeira.

If you find luck on your side and end up in Recife during Carnival this year, welcome the weekend with a different kind of rooster and let the frevo give you fervor…which should be easy enough since the two words are related.

Originally written for Street Smart Brazil.

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Bezerros: Creative Capital of Pernambuco

Recife Guide did a feature on the city of Bezerros in the interior of Pernambuco (about 50 min from Recife). Judging by the photos alone, it looks like a great place to be! Of special note is the Papangu Carnival and the Serra Negra region. Check out the link to know more!

For a peak at the Carnival there, see the photo slideshow below from photographer Jose Alves Gonçalves (with a song by Lenine called “Leão do Norte”).

Abadá – Colorful Shirts vs. Colorless Pants

Abadá is an African word, from Yorubá, brought to Bahia by Arabic-speaking Africans. It is a type of white bedtime dress used by the Muslims that came to Brazil as slaves.

Abadá is also the name of the pants worn by capoeiristas (players of capoeira). It is probable that this form of dress that served for prayers was also found suitable for capoeira circles. There is a legend that speaks of capoeiristas using white as a form of demonstrating their abilities: the best players would be those that maintained their abadás in impecible condition after the fight.

Yet another use is seen going back to the Carnival of 1993, when a Carnival designer launched a new type of dress to substitute the old costume sheets. In homage to a capoeira master and friend called Mestre Sena, the designer baptized the new ‘costume’ as abadá. This new name caught on and spread rapidly through Brazil aiding in the popularization of the term. Some dictionaries merely cite one of the terms while others cite both.

For Carnival

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For Capoeira