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Emiliano Benevides ©2003

The Maracatu comes from the coronation festivities created by the Portuguese for the Congolese people in Brazil. During these ceremonies the 'Congo king' was elected-only people of Congolese descent were allowed to vote. This 'Congo king' had no real power, it was only a symbolic position. The first documented ceremony occurred in 1711 in Olinda.

The dance traditionally is followed by percussion instruments only. In the music you find strong mystic and religious elements.

There are 2 types of Maracatu- Maracatu Nação o Maracatu Baque-Virado, and Maracatu Rural or Maracatu Baque-Solto.

Maracatu Nação/Baque-Virado is the original ceremony and rhythm. It went through some changes after slavery was abolished in 1888, and almost became extinct. It became a celebration for the Three Kings and for Carnival.

Maracatu Rural/Baque-Virado originated in the second half of the 19th century in the small towns and countryside of Pernambuco. During the carnival they go on a pilgrimage from city to city and at the end they have an great encounter of Maracatu in Recife.

The groups are called nations and each one has their own unique style which gives the parade a wide variety of colors, music and dance.


Tambores ( Alfaia or Bombo ) A large drum similar to the Surdo. Usually it is divided in 3 different sizes or tones- low, medium & high.
Chocalhos- Shakers
Caixa de Guerra & Tarol- Snares
Guonguê- It is like an agogô & it is used in some afro-Brazilian religious ceremonies.

Some CDs that I would recommend:

Maracatu Nação Pernambuco.

Contemporary music using Maracatu rhythms:
Carnavals Du Bresil- Rio, Recife & Bahia-Live Recording- on the Playasound
Antônio Nóbrega-Na pancada do ganzá.
Lenine & Lula Queiroga--- Baque Solto
Carlos Malta & Pife Muderno
Chico Science & Nação Zumbi-Da Lama ao Caos.

Emiliano Benevides

Emiliano is endorsed by: MAMELUCO.COM & he uses Contemporânea instruments.