Group Title: CARIFESTA I - 1972
Title: Viva Bahia and Carifesta by Oliver Hunter
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Viva Bahia and Carifesta by Oliver Hunter
Series Title: CARIFESTA I - 1972
Physical Description: Archival
Publication Date: 1972
Spatial Coverage: Guyana -- Georgetown
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099690
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text




The strange story of the Bahians and the famous folk grjup from

Bshia (Viva Bahia) which will be participating in CARIFESTA and reflect

in micro-cosmic fashion the rhythmic heartbeat and lovable heritage of

100,000,000 Brazilians begn'r four hundred and sixty years ago.

Then, Indian cannibals with threatening warclubs, poison darts,

war paint and feathered headdresses watched in amazement as a white being

arose like a silver fish from the blue waters with a magic stick that

belched fire and brought down a bird out of the blue in a flash of lightning.

"Caramuru! Caramuru! A Godl A God!" They cried and gave the

C-zciaue's daughter Peraguacu as a gift to this "sun of the thunderclap"!

And so the Bahian the Brazilian ....was born.

For that god was none other than Diogo Alvares, a shipwrecked

Portuguese sailor who climbed ashore on the sacred spot that is now the

City of Salvador de Bahia de Todos os Santos.

The Viva Bahin folk group, which will be coming for CARIFESTA,
bring with them, in sDng ,nd dance, tales of strange rituals...Candomble

and Capoeirea.... all the magic and enchantment that covered the Brazilian

scene from that day centuries :go when Alvares landed on the shores of


It has been said that every Brazilian both Vourng and old who

lives outside the State of Bahia has three dreams ....that of shaking the

hands of Kirg Pelo; seeing the Viva Bahia perform at concerts that draw

hundreds of thousands of people; and the last and most important dream

is to walk through the streets of 3-hi and visit the shrines of their store at the Sea Francisco Church with its pulpit and

interior all gilded in gold.

It is strange how a friendly EBrzili:n would speak excitedly

and with pride of his country's development....of the Rio Amazonas, which

the natives saoy washes for six months and falls for the some period....
of Sao Paulo where daily a thousand children are brought into the world

and 500 extra vehicles join the busy traffic in its 24,000 streets. He

would talk of Rio De Janeiro....the city of Festivals and easy going life

where the endless beckoning beach, the samba, carnival and football are

b-lvays present and of course he must speak of Pele the football hero.


- 2 -

And then the stranger may ask him about Bahia. Strange how the face

of the Brazilian guest changes....there is a sudden twinkle in his eyes and

his voice takes on a tender, lovable, whisper like form...."Ah Senor.....

Bahia!" He would explain almost musically and all of his drezilian pride

erupts in all its splendour in his bosom.... for Bahia is like the cultural

Mecca of Brezil.

Our Braziliia friend will love you so much because you love to hear

about his Sahi3....and he will tell you all. He would talk and talk, get

hungry and not know it. The Brazilian loves talking about Bahia the

cradle of Brazil.

An introduction to the folk-art and life of Bahia is an introduction

to a fairyland-like the Viva Bahia and all that it means. They

portray in their song and dance....the many festivals....street festival,

church festivals, strange voodoo festivals....unique festivals that bare

the mark of the mixed Brazilians blood ....their mestize culture and


It is an introduction to the Festival of the Immaculate Conception

when the people prepare mounL'ins of food and the world famous Capoeira

wrestlers rush into thj throbbi' crowd before the church, in the streets

and the plazas and do a "dance fight" to the t.nging bows and rhythms of

the berimbau.

The Capoeira a form of wrestling was brought to Brazil from
Angola in the holds of slave chips. The agility and strange techniques

of the Capoeira fighters made them almost invincible and as a result
there were many police decrees, persecutions and violence. The old

Capoeira giants-like "Gods 3eloved Swmuel" who were as quick as lightn-'

ing and fought until they were about 80 years old became legends in their

lifetime and are now folk heroes.

Today in Bahia even +t' children still hear tales of these famous

wrestlers. There -as the celebrated Ecsouro (the beetle) for example

who is not forgotten in Reconcave....There is Chico Porreta, the hero

of legendary fights against the militia. Even the Governors, the people

and his fellow wrestlers said that he had a pact with Lucifer...."he

would disappear in a puff of smoke just when the soldiers thought they

had him cornered"....

Many more have left their names in Bahian annals and the hearts of

the people. Like Ze Dou, Tibiri da Folha Grossa, Pantalona, Sessenta

and Gazumba the butcher.

.... 3/

Najo was said to be a monument of courage; he went down fighting

barefisted against five armed fishermen in front of St. .l* '.'s Fort.

It is felt by many people that the greatest .'-i te specialist today

would have been cut down in minutes by these famous Capoeira fighters

of Brazil. There is still Capoeira in Bahia and other parts of Brazil

today....but the Copoeire now fight to music .... this sport of death

is now infused with rhythmic movement, love and life, It is felt that

Capoeira done by the Viva Behia Group will be the biggest attraction.


One learns that January brings the great festival of "Our Lord of
Z omfim" when the entire population of rahie virtually move all of their

belongings to the sacred hill. Come Thursday and Saturday and Sunday on

which the high holidays always fall and with them come thousands of women

"Bahainas" with sacred s,'nG, water and a million flowers to "wash the

Church and perform the Procession of the Waters" rites that their

forefathers have enacted for hundreds of years.

It is in this unique feast that the awe of Afro-Brazilian religious

fervour blooms in all its majesty....and here too maybe more than anywhere

else in the Caribbean and Latin America many religions and fused into one

by the masses.... the Indian, i.',iro, Portuguec'. and the lot.

Here the people honour a catholic saint Our Lord of Bomfim and the

greatest of African deities in Brazil....Ozala the Universal Father;

and in February the whole of Bahia go down to the waterside to offer

gifts to the lIthc: of Waters "Yemanja", All of these colourful cere-

monies transform Bahia into a world of unique religious folk Carnivals

infused with images of devotion and the land.

And equally exciting presentation of the Bahia folk group will be

imrais of Candopble representing the religions which the slaves brought

with them from .many African regions especially the Congo, Ketu and


In Bahia alone there are some 1,000 Candomblcs or voodoo temples

registered leg1llJ. And since each Candomble has many ceremonies there

are some 3,000 strange but dazzling ceremonies annually in Bahia alone

in which the rich and poor, prosperous midrJle class or petite bourgeoisie

gyrate in solemn fashion to the beat of drums controlled by "alabes".


- 4 -

In B-hi- these spirit houses -re in c'._r corner and the

r.Jh-rent-- ere '..'hite, Indian, ".';-r. and all thct make up the Brazilian

pot-u-,rri. The C-ndomble now deas not belong to Africa but to Brazil,.

G'3--'..', C lboclo and the rest E.l n-: to the land and the Brazilians,

the B3hi-ns are proud of them.

But what of the artistic craftsmen of Bchia. To the folk

crtisan, making intricate silver ware and copper figures, turning out

the traditional ceramics of ,'-r-~;iFinho and unique w Id c-rvings

depicting clenched fist with thunb between forefinger including the

forearm is an art th.t is said t. have been cjiven originally by the

aged elders in villc-.s b-ck in .:: to the slaves who were coming

to the new world as a remembrance 7f their homaland.

Tr. ",:,.:c'' c silver clsp with chain cnd fruit is also

still mode. This ornament was Jiven to the r-:zili'-, slsva by his

master. The cc-r.. rative the slave tha mora silver fruits wore

added to his clasp by the master. The more silver fruits mcant that

the slcve was nearer tc freedrm. In the case cf death t1h ":,rc-"

paid for a funeral in the style the slave deserved.

The literary -s.ct of the 2razilion Cultural scene is

dominated by C:rlos Drummond De Andrado, Indeed his phenemenal

development has pnrclell.d -11 sf the lit rary movements in Brazil.

Hi' works appears to be inffIu.nced cr-itly by EurLpocn techniques
and images.

n,. r the rising figures on the Brazilian literary scenn

is Jo Cabr-l De MNlo N-tc.. To Caribboun raat'jrs 2rfili:n litcruture

is dominated by the s'cialogic-l studies -f Gilba-rtc Froyre and the

novelist, Jorre Amnado hcse works have been translated int- m-ny


Profass-r ', the Cultural Att-che tc the Brazilian

Emb-ssy in Gu -n- h s d.-ne a groat de-l by way .tf explaining the

Brazilian Li: r-ry scene to thu Guynnese ..-1!

In B-'-i" the p4uplU's s7ul blow up in rnth.r, cclour and

dance and strong ritual ann the Vivae 3hia rr-- c0-tures all this
n-eic of the people. Bahi- is the birth pleco cf ':-zil and the Viva

-;:hia gr-.u- captures the birth thre-s :f its mother, the cry, joy,

love and lifo 2f the child. Fron the hoart of Bohie tho Vive

P-.hia will bring the whole enchanting world of DBrzil tc the world

of C RIFE.ST,\.I

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs