It was born in Pernambuco, is over 100 years old and has energy galore: it jumps, bounces, sings and shake in a frenzy rhythm. It is famous and important, its relevance to culture is well-recognized nationwide and worldwide. This is the “frevo", a musical rhythm and a kind of folkloric dance born in Recife, in Pernambuco State.
Frevo emerged in later XIX century, during Carnival, in a moment of transition and social bustle in Brazil, as a great cultural expression of popular classes. The National Frevo Day is commemorated in two dates: September 14, when its creator, the journalist Osvaldo da Silva Almeida, was born, in 1882. The other date is February 9, when historians have identified the first mention to the word “frevo", in 1907, and this is the official commemorative date.
Over the years, it gained relevance and recognition throughout Brazil, and to date it has influence over Carnival in the whole country. Included since 2012 into the Unesco's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, frevo is an important part of Brazilian and Northeastern history.
The word “frevo" is derived from the verb “ferver" (or, in the Northeast accent, “frever", boil in English), as the dance is frenzied, featuring a much accelerated rhythm. The musical rhythm of this catchy dance mixes march and another folkloric dance, “maxixe", and also features some elements from capoeira. Dancers wear jolly and colorful clothes, generally waist-tied short and tight shirts, tight pants, short pants and skirts for women. All this is accompanied by umbrellas and banners (a flag for each dancing group).
A number of carnival blocks go through the streets of Pernambuco in Carnival period, with biggest concentration in Recife and Olinda. One of the most expressive and well-known of such carnival blocks is named Galo da Madrugada (Dawn Rooster), and is 41 years old. This block has paraded in this city in Pernambuco State for the first time in February 4, 1978, with 75 people wearing costumes, accompanied by an orchestra of 22 musicians.
During the following years, it became more and more famous and thousands of revelers are admitted year-after-year in Carnival. In 1994, Galo da Madrugada received international recognition: Guiness Book awarded the association as the “biggest carnival block in the planet", when 1.5 million revelers have paraded in downtown streets. In 2018, the parade has attracted an average public of 2.3 million people to Recife's downtown area.
Learn more on the block's hystory: http://www.galodamadrugada.com.br/
The great popularity of the dance and the creativity of the people from Pernambuco have originated different kinds of frevo, namely:
This is an accelerated and instrumental music, with no lyrics, and is played by orchestras in the hills and streets. This is the first style created and is the most bustling. Currently, a frevo orchestra parades with instruments such as sax, clarinets, pistons, trombones, tubas, snare drums, drums and bombardons.
Instead of drums and metal instruments, block frevo is played by a string and wood orchestra, encompassing guitars, mandolins, flutes and cavaquinhos. This is a slower rhythm, more poetic and lyrics feature a nostalgic tone.
This kind of frevo is also sung, also known as march song, since it resembles carnival marches. Opposite to block frevo, which features a nostalgic tone, lyrics address the current context.
Located in Praça do Arsenal da Marinha, in the Recife district, the “Paço do Frevo" is a reference center for actions, projects and documentation activities on the dance. This is the ideal place to study, create, experiment and live the rich universe of histories, personalities, memories and artistic languages of frevo. Paço promotes workshops and regular concerts in four floors dedicated to activities and offers visitors a great opportunity for living Recife's Carnival during the whole year.
Learn more: www.pacodofrevo.org.br.