RECIFE , Pernambuco , Brazil

Caboclinho: rythm of Pernambuco

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caboclinho, Pernambuco "Caboclo" is the word in Portuguese to designate the offsprings of marriages between blacks and indians; "caboclinho", literally, means "small caboclos".

Traditionally caboclinhos make their presentations in Recife, in Olinda, Nazaré da Mata, Carpina, Tracunhaém, Camaragibe, São Lourenço, Paudalho and in the states of Alagoas, Paraíba e Rio Grande do Norte. The traditional characters from the tribes of the caboclinho are: the king (cacique), the queen (cacica), the captain, the lieutenant, the guide, the fore-guide, the perós or indiozinhos (the name given originally to the natives by the colonizers), the flag bearers, the caboclinhos (masculine), the caboclinhas (feminine), the witch doctor, the hunting caboclinhos, the princesses and the healer.

The orchestra is made up of the following instruments: pipes (made of a kind of bamboo called taquara) caracaxás (a kind of rattle or maraca), and drums. Katarina Real describes the sound that is given off by the pipes (gaita) as follows : "...the melodies, scales and tones contain an oriental exoticism - they are truly impressive - Hindu, Chinese, North American Native, Inca, none of which is at all European".

Concerning the musical elements, Roberto Benjamin informs that "...they were extracted from native ritual cults, which have survived semi-secretly, despite the persecutions that the magic-religious manifestations have suffered". Always wearing loin clothes and feathered headdresses (of emu, ostrich and peacock), the caboclinhos also wear a number of other decorations - bracelets, feathered arm bands (caboclos), necklaces made of beads and seeds, small calabashes on the waists, large arrows (for the girls) the above mentioned 'preacas' - the bow and arrow.

The musicologist Guerra Peixe, comparing the caboclinhos with many other folkloric manifestations, concludes that, "The presentations of the caboclinhos is the most original of the Recife carnival".

Source: The city of Recife.