As an addendum to my last post, I thought I would throw in a quick explanation and a few videos of the type of drumming and dance I experienced in Olinda, which will be featured more in upcoming entries. The drumming and dance are both known as “maracatu,” and they are native to the state of Pernambuco, of which Recife is the capital. The African slaves that came to northeastern Brazil introduced maracatu, along with many other elements of their rich culture, which is part of the reason why Olinda and Recife in particular have such a unique flavor to them.

Maracatu is not only regularly performed in Olinda and Recife, but is one of the primary features during Carnival in both cities. I was able to return briefly to Olinda and Recife in 2007, during Carnival, and I witnessed a grand parade of maracatu in the streets of Recife Antigo. It was breathtaking. During my 2005 stay, I also became friends with some maracatu drummers (one of these was the young man I became romantically entangled with), and they taught me some of the drumming, which I loved, however poorly I attempted it.

Anyway, here are a few videos that give the uninitiated a little taste of what I experienced in Brazil. Enjoy!

Maracatu in Olinda:

Maracatu in Recife Antigo: