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The Art of Carnival: Maracatu

December 1, 2009

Maracatu do Centro, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

 

Maracatu has its origins in the old institutions of the Black Kings, well known in France and Spain as early as the 15th Century and in Portugal from the 16th Century. In Pernambuco, explorers were already documenting the presence of the Black Kings as early as 1666. Documents on the history of slavery dating from 1674 can be found at the church of Our Lady of the Black Men’s Rosary, Saint Antônio, Recife. They recount coronations in the Congo and Angola.

 The various Maracatu groups each represent “Nations” of Africa. The most famous include Elephant Nation (1800), Crowned Lion Nation (1863), Shinning Star Nation (1910), Indian Nation (1949), Porto Rico Nation (1915) and the Camninda Star Nation (1953). Each group preserves the African traditions of their ancestors.

The assembly of each Maracatu Nation usually comprises a deep bass drum, a tarol (a kind of trombone), two war drums and nine bongos. Sometimes a ganzá (large maraca) is also included.  A musical climax is followed by a single beat, increasing violently with each new beat. The queen is group leader, and her first whistle blow indicates the music is coming to a stop. The second whistle signifies the complete stop which is executed with careful precision by the whole group.

This gallery illustrates some fo the characters and characteristics of Maracatu. 

  
 
 
 

Piabinha, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

 

 

Encontro de Maracatus de Baque Solto, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

Encontro de Maracatus de Baque Solto, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

Encontro de Maracatus de Baque Solto, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

FLOR DE MARACATU, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

Maracatu Leão Formoso, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

Rei do Maracatu, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

Desfile de Maracatu no Passódromo de Olinda, originally uploaded by Prefeitura de Olinda.

Maracatu Piaba de Ouro, originally uploaded by Prefeitura de Olinda.

Emoção do caboclo de lança em sua evolução, originally uploaded by Prefeitura de Olinda.

Retratos do Carnaval, originally uploaded by Carlos Silva Filho.

Maracatu, originally uploaded by Carlos Silva Filho.

CARNAVAL 2009 – RECIFE-PE, originally uploaded by Fernando Donasci

carna02, originally uploaded by Fernando Donasci.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Catherine permalink
    October 3, 2012 11:39

    A tarol is a shallow snare drum, not a trombone (there are 2 types of snare drums used in maracatu – the tarol, and the caixa de guerra, which is has a deeper shell). Also we don’t use “bongos” but sometimes use timbals?

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