RECIFE , Pernambuco , Brazil

Afoxé - traditional rythm of Pernambuco, Brazil

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afoxe, Brazil Afoxé:

The musicologist and conductor Guerra Peixe, in his classic "The Maracatus of Recife", suggests, in a more diverse form, that afoxé derives from the Sudanese word ÀFOHSHEH, and mentions that it also has 'remote characteristic' connections with maracatu. Guerra Peixe further mentions that he once heard in a maracatu in Recife, references to the expression "African Afoxé" and that in Bahia, the word is used to indicate a type of Salvadorian Maracatu. According to Arthur Ramos it was also used there as a name for, "the profane festivals in the special places used for African religious rites in Bahia". Guerra Peixe guarantees that "the word certainly appeared in Recife, due to the religious influences imposed by the Sudanese on the Bantus". He distinguishes between the terms Nation, designated to a group administrated by a negro governor, and afoxé as in the African afoxé, a profane-religious festival held by the nation at an opportune moment. The term afoxé seems to have been restricted between maracatu participants, since the authors who have dedicated themselves to the study of maracatu have never registered the word.

Raul Lody affirms that the melodies sung during the afoxé processions, are practically the same as the orôs, which were the ijexá religious songs, sung during the Afro-Brazilian religious ceremonies. He adds that, " the orôs are begun as a solo and are then repeated by everyone present, including the instruments. Generally, the person who has an elevated position within the group sings the solo". Contrary to popular belief, Afoxé is far from being a mere carnival attraction. It has strong roots in the religious manifestations of the candomblé (the African religion previously mentioned). The anthropologist Raul Lody further states that "The practioners are fundamentally linked to the cults of the orixás (the gods)". This is one of the reasons that afoxé is very often referred to as 'Street Candomblé" and is used to honor one of the gods, normally the god relevant to that particular group. In Pernambuco, afoxé reappeared with the Negro Unification Movement at the end of the 70's, as a way of reaching the majority of the population through music, and to amplify the debate on awareness.

Nowadays, there are in existence four afoxé groups in an advanced stage of organization. They are: The Araodé, The Alafin Oyó, e o Oxum Panda, all from the city of Olinda. In Recife there is the Ilê de Egbá Afoxá, based in the district of Alto José do Pinho.

Source: Website of the city of Recife.