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The Art of Carnival

December 30, 2009

Maracatu do Centro, originally uploaded by maxlevay.

One of the most impressive images of carnival in the northeast are the performers of Maracatu, an Afro-Brazilian tradition that started life amongst the slaves from the sugar plantations. The dramatic costumes, and the even more dramatic music and dance rituals are impressive and moving. This stunning photograph is one of many in the gallery, “The Art of Carnival: Maracatu“, the first of several galleries that will celebrate The Art of Carnival.

Carnival is Coming

December 16, 2009

Photo Source: The Prefeitura of Olinda

Carnival is held each year four days before Ash Wednesday and marks the start of Lent. In 2010 Carnival is 13th-17th February.

During Lent, Catholics are supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures, so Carnival can be seen as a farewell to the pleasures of the flesh. It is celebrated as a profane event and believed to have its origins in the pagan Saturnalia, the most of Roman festivals celebrated with foolish behaviour and the reversal of social roles.

Being Recife Guide our coverage focuses on the carnivals in Northeast Brazil, quite a different style to that in Rio and Salvador, that each have a unique expression. Carnival in the northeast is free, is focused on involvement rather than being a spectator event, and features many styles of music.  

On Recife Guide our coverage is just beginning. You can read:

Aviation Firsts in Recife: First Female Captain of a Boeing 767-300F

December 8, 2009

The first female captain of a Boeing 767-300F in Latin America was Eveline Borges. On January 23, 2006, Borges, then 34, she completed her first cargo flight as Master Chief Pilot on a flight from Campinas, Brazil to Miami, USA. The flight had stopovers in Maiquetia, Venezuela, and Bogota & Medelin, Colombia, where it faced foggy conditions. In Miami they were greeted by a beautiful sunrise.

Eveline, a Pernambucana from Recife, has been flying since the age of 17. After dropping the idea  of studying law, and surprising her friends and family who expected her to be a vet, she decided to go to flying school with the aim of being the first pilot in the family. She went from flying small planes to being a co-pilot of a Boeing-767 and, then captain of the 767 in a few years. She is still only 37 years old, and dreams of flying the new generations of large jets.

In Brazilian aviation today she has a few female colleges and jokes that, like in most professions, the skirts are taking over!

An interview with Eveline Borges was first published in AERO ANGELS

Recife Guide already includes details of other aviation first

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.

Standing Room Only

November 30, 2009

There was standing room only at the launch of Benjamin Moser´s biography of Clarice Lispector in Recife this past weekend. Also, at the talk he gave at the restored Sinagoga Kahal Sur Israel. This shows the level of interest that exits in the history of the most celebrated brazilian female writer of the twentieth century, and is an indicator of the likely interest in the Clarice Lispector Tours being developed by iMais and The Binder Group.

Moser´s book is available from all good book stores.

For more information about the tours see: Clarice Lispector Tours

CLARICE – Judia, Pernambucana, Brasileira

November 24, 2009

Clarice Lispector. Photo: Claudia Andujar

Whilst researching the forthcoming tour “Clarice Lispector´s Recife”, Recife Guide came across the New Biography “Clarice,” (Portuguese version) or “Why This World” (English Version), by author Benjamin Moser. After contacting Moser we discovered that by chance he would be coming to Recife to launch the Portuguese version of his book.

In a few days we have managed to arrange for an additional event, and have Moser agree to be involved in the creation of the tour we planned. The tour is still in early stages of development, but should begin operating in early 2010. In the meantime, let us tell you more about the events.

The book signing will be at Livraria Cultura book shop in Recife Antigo from 7pm on Saturday 28th November.

On Sunday 29th November at 5pm Moser will be in Conversation with historian Tania Kauffman at the Jewish Cultural Center of Pernambuco, in the Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel. The conversation will be about the Jewish influences in the literature of Clarice, and its relation with the mystical aspects of other Jewish authors. Tania Kauffman, expert in Jewish Immigration into Brazil, will also explain that Clarice belonged to a singular historical context in the history of the 20th century.

Event Details:

CLARICE - Judia, pernambucana, brasileira
Sinagoga Kahal Zur Israel, Rua do Bom Jesus 197/203, Recife Antigo.
29 de November (Sunday), at 17:00
RSVP: If you reserve you do not need to pay the R$5 entrance fee.
Language: The conversation will be in Portuguse

Read More About Clarice Lispector

Recife Guide recently published another article about Clarice Lispector and the biography