Getting together erudite and popular. That is the main goal that guides the work of Francisco Amâncio da Silva – our Maestro Forró. The musician, composer and arranger, founder of the Bomba do Hemetério Popular Orchestra, has already earned two important cultural awards of the state and of the country, respectively: the Leão do Norte medal (2011) and the Ordem do Mérito Cultural (2012). This year, Recife people will thank Maestro Forró for his contribution to the culture, paying homage to him in Recife City Carnival 2016.
History – At the age of five, Maestro Forró began to make presentations playing zabumba with his father, Amâncio do Coco, who was born in the city of Aliança and, in spite of having become the most important icon of Coco de Roda in the area of Bomba do Hemetério, created an universe made of several popular rhythms. “He is one of the strongest influences on my development. My father brought here all the cultural diversity of Zona da Mata and its maracatus, cirandas, cavalos marinhos* and others”, remembers Forró. In the streets of Bomba do Hemetério, he would watch rehearsals and parades of maracatus Nação Elefante and Leão Coroado, as well as presentations of Tribo Canindé (caboclinho), Reisado Imperial and other popular groups.
In the meantime, Forró started to be familiar with erudite music. His oldest brother, Givanildo Amâncio (Maestro Gil), became a pianist. So Forró had his first classes of academic musical language at Dom Vital School, in Casa Amarela, where he was part of a band. By then, people would call him “Forró”. He continued the studies in the late 1980s, at the Recife City Professional Center of Musical Creativity, and later at the Federal University of Paraíba (1993), where he specialized in trumpet, with Naílson de Almeida Simões. The education also had courses with American Charles Schlueter (then, playing the trumpet at Boston Symphony Orchestra) and with maestros Manoel Carvalho, João Batista Gonçalves and François Carry.
Before the Bomba do Hemetério Popular Orchestra – his most famous work –, Maestro Forró had already visited many countries as music director, arranger, composer, actor and musician in several projects. One good example is the work he developed with Maracatu Nação Pernambuco, in tour in Pernambuco, Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília, Fortaleza, Salvador) and other countries (France, England, China, Switzerland and the USA). Among his best memories, we can list his participation as musician/instrumentalist and arranger of the theater play “The Comedy of Love”, at the 17th National Theater Festival of São José do Rio Preto (1997) and his work in the theater play “Auto da Compadecida”, for eight years (1996 – 2003). Both directed by Marco Camarotti.
* maracatu, ciranda and cavalo marinho are dance rhythms from the state of Pernambuco.
Partnerships – One of the highlights of Maestro Forró’s career is the partnership he makes around the world. Musicians like Hermeto Pascoal, Rembert Egues (Cuban) and Okay Temiz (Turkish) have already been with him on the stage in projects such as O Andante, a TV show currently exhibited in Rede Globo, which establishes the link between Brazilian and other countries’ cultures. There were also invitations for the prestigious Caribbean Festival (2015), which takes place in Cuba and is one of the most important festivals in Central America, and for the International Music Show of Olinda (MIMO), in 2009.
Maracatu Nação Porto Rico
Maracatu Nação Porto Rico is celebrating! It is the 100th anniversary of the association this year, and Recife City Carnival will pay homage to it.
Its Queen, a highly respected person of maracatu, Yalorixá Dona Elda, does not hide the expectation. Leading the association for over 30 years, she celebrates: “I am very happy and really willing to parade. Can’t wait to enjoy the Carnival!”. During these 100 years, the group faced several difficulties. Due to lack of incentives and strong repression to popular festivities in the country in the 50s, the association was almost extinct. It reappeared in the following decade, guided by Zé Ferida, in the region of Água Fria.
In the end of the 1970s, as the Black Movement got stronger, Afro celebrations could find again their space, and maracatus de baque virado were back on the streets, captivating the public with its court.
For those who are watching, the steps of a maracatu during Carnival may be just an artistic presentation. However, for those who are really part of the group, the parade is also a ritual.
The strong religious connection is symbolized by the Queen, usually Yalorixá, and her Kalungas, dolls that represent ancestry. As great reverence for gods, it is the moment to celebrate and exalt the Orixás.
When Carnival begins, drums announce the parade and the Real Court enters the avenue with its exuberance. In 2016, Maracatu Nação Porto Rico celebrates 100 years of resistance and splendor.
If it depends on love and proud of its sons, its singing will never be silenced. Axé!
Clube Carnavalesco Misto Pão Duro
It was founded on March 16th, 1916, as a result of a game played by a group of boys on the beach of Pina. When hungry, they looked for food at a close bakery, but all they could find was old bread. Without options, they bought it. One of the boys, to make fun of the situation, put the bread on a stick and walked the street jumping and singing. That’s how they came up with the idea of founding the Clube Carnavalesco Misto Pão Duro.
In 1917, the association was on the streets for the first time, with a standard painted red and green, and at the center an emblem with a shield of arms from Pernambuco and two angels holding a piece of bread. In October 1993, it became a Carnival Club, joining 100 people. The first house of the club was in the neighborhood of Cabanga, but nowadays it is in São José. They have their own compositions, like March Nr 1 Oven, and march “The key and a secret”, both written by José de Barros.
Currently, the president of Clube Carnavalesco Misto Pão Duro is José Levino Xavier dos Santos, 80 years old, who has been leading the group for about 30 years. Due to financial problems, over the past few years Mr. Levino faced the challenge of paying for all clothes and ornaments for the parade.
In Carnival 2016, when the association will receive homage and will be known by everyone enjoying the party in Recife, Mr. Levino will try to take to the streets the most beautiful parade of the club. “I will do everything to take Pão Duro to the streets with enthusiasm in the Carnival. It is hard for someone as poor as I am to get to this important position, receiving homage. I am really happy”, he speaks, with a smile on his face.