The Nostalgia Group, one of the most traditional lyrical Carnival groups of the Pernambuco Carnival, was created in 1973, having as its intellectual and aesthetic creators Antonio José (Zoca) Madureira and journalist Marcelo Varella. It was born from a joke between friends and from a Carnival march composed by Edgard Moraes, in 1962, entitled Valores do passado (Values of the Past), which intended to relive carnivals from the beginning of the 20th century.
Up to Zoca’s move to Campina Grande, in Paraíba, the rehearsals were carried out in the backyard of him and his wife, Sevy Madureira. The backyard had already been the location of the rehearsals of the Quinteto Armorial (Armorial Quintet), a musical group connected with the Movimento Armorial (Armorial Movement), of which Zoca was a violinist.
In the 1974 Carnival, the Bloco da Saudade, with a little over twenty people, hit the streets, passing in front of the house of Edgard Moraes to pay homage to him. They sang the song Valores do passado which, with the composer’s authorisation, became the group’s anthem:
Bloco das Flores, Andaluzas, Cartomantes (Group of the flowers, Andaluzas, Fortune Tellers)
Camponeses, Apôis Fum e o Bloco Um Dia Só (Peasants, Apôis Fum and the One-Day Only Group)
Os Corações Futuristas, Bobos em Folia (The Futuristic Hearts, Dancing Clowns)
Pirilampos de Tejipió (Fireflies from Tejipió)
A Flor da Magnólia (Magnolia Flower)
A Lira do Charmion, Sem Rival (Charmion’s Lyre, Unrivalled)
Jacarandá, a Madeira da Fé (Jacarandá, The Faith Stick)
Crisântemos Se Tem Bote e (Chrysanthemums Have Boats and)
Um Dia de Carnaval (A Day of Carnival)
Pavão Dourado, Camelo de Ouro e Bebé (Golden Peacock, Camel of Gold and Baby)
Os Queridos Batutas da Boa Vista (The Darling Batons of Boa Vista)
E os Turunas de São José (And the Turunas of São José)
Príncipe dos Príncipes brilhou (Prince of Princes shone)
Lira da Noite também vibrou (Lyre of the Night also vibrated)
E o Bloco da Saudade, assim recorda tudo que passou (And in this way the Nostalgia Group records all that went before)
From that year onwards, the group made a promise to always pass in front of Edgard Moraes’ house before its parade.
For a group to parade during Carnival, all the behind-the-scenes administrative and organisational work is needed. Also, to put the Nostalgia Group on the street they needed to assemble an orchestra and find a way to pay them, create costumes, plan an itinerary and rehearse with a choir.
In the early years, Sevy Madureira was responsible for the general administration of the organisation. She provided the snacks for the marching practices or musical rehearsals of the group, which took place at her residence, as well as paying the expenses and creating the costumes.
In 1976, musicians such as Antonio Jaime, Narciso do Banjo, João do Cavaco and Emiliano Araújo joined the Nostalgia Group, who, for a long time, gave their support to the orchestra, under the musical direction of Zoca Madureira.
The order of the members of the group were as follows: the children at the front, followed by the women, then the men, and finally the orchestra.
The Group paraded in Recife’s city centre: Praça Maciel Pinheiro, Rua da Imperatriz, Rua Nova, Pátio de São Pedro and visited the house of Badia, at Pátio do Terço. It’s itinerary also included the neighbourhoods of Cordeiro, Água Fria, Várzea, Afogados, Casa Forte and also the neighbouring city of Olinda.
In the beginning, “assalto (assault)”, an old tradition of Carnival groups, was used. This consisted of visiting a variety of residences whose owners offered drinks and food to the Group’s participants. The organisation prepared in advance a list of who could be “assaulted” and worked out the places that the group should pass by.
For getting the party-goers around, firstly a truck and, in later years, a bus were rented.
Due to the constant growth of the Group, increasing the group’s resources to pay its expenses was needed. Therefore, the Book of Gold was created which paid tribute to the people who financially contributed to organisation. Raffles were also held, as well as selling records to fund the Group, once donations from members became insufficient.
Red or blue shorts and a white t-shirt with the organisation’s name was the costume worn by the block on its first parade through the streets of Recife and Olinda.
The first flag was of red satin, bearing the name of the group and a teardrop below. In 1977, another in blue satin was made. As there should have been a shield or fan, and not a flag, being a Carnival group, when alerted to the oversight, the group commissioned the piece which has been its registered brand until today: a blue and red mask with a silver teardrop.
Carnival groups generally do their marching practices close to the Carnival period. These events serve as rehearsals for the entire musical repertoire with orchestra and choir and generate funds to pay the group’s expenses.
The five marching practices or rehearsals of the Nostalgia Group are really crowded. It is one of the most important pre-carnival shows in the city. Thousands of party-goers show up to sing frevo songs and songs that recall old Carnivals and celebrate the beauty of Recife. The public is extremely diverse, and the large majority already knows the songs. Those who don’t can learn them by buying songbooks that are sold with the Group’s entire repertoire.
For a long time the rehearsals were held at the Associação Atlética Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil Athletic Association) (AABB) Hall, in Recife. From 2006, they began to take place at the Clube Náutico Capibaribe hall, in the Aflitos neighbourhood.
The last rehearsal is the well-known and packed Baile da Bloco da Saudade (Nostalgia Group Ball), which includes the participation of various artists, invited members of other organisations, as well as the now traditional presentation of Claudionor Germano, considered to be one of the most popular interpreters of Carnival music of Pernambuco.
In January 2008, at the Serviço Social do Comércio (Commerce Social Service) (Sesc) Santa Rita, in Recife, the História do Bloco da Saudade (History of the Nostalgic Group) exhibition took place, bringing together photographs, costumes, trophies and newspaper clippings to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the organisation.
Recife, 31 January 2008.
(Updated on 21 August 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2011.
BEZERRA, Amílcar Almeida; SILVA, Lucas Victor. Evoluções: história de bloco e de saudade. Recife: Bagaço, 2006.
BLOCO da Saudade tem seus 35 anos de história contados em exposição. Disponível em:
<http://pe360graus.globo.com/diversao360/matLer.asp?newsId=116334>. Acesso em: 29 jan. 2008.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Bloco da Saudade (Nostalgia Group). Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.