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Carnival Associations of Recife and Olinda: Frevo Clubs

Commemorative Date:
February / March

 

Carnival Associations of Recife and Olinda: Frevo Clubs

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 09/08/2019

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

[...] In Recife, starting in the decade of 1880, when slavery was abolished and Brazil was declared a Republic, the number of popular carnival associations in the streets increased, formed by urban workers, craftsmen and artisan, laborers, salesmen, marketers, household staff. When they performed in public, they brought all kinds of people together: vagrant people, wanderers, homeless boys, capoeira fighters. Among the pedestrian carnival clubs, the most popular ones were the clubs followed by music bands or brass instrument orchestras that executed the exciting carnival songs, later known as Pernambuco songs and, finally, by frevo: Caiadores, Caninha Verde, Vassourinhas, Pás, Lenhadores, Vasculhadores, Espanadores, Ciscadores, Ferreiros, Empalhadores do Feitosa, Suineiros da Matinha, Engomadeiras, Parteiras de São José, Cigarreiras Revoltosas, Verdureiros em Greve, among so many others. In the midst of clubs and troças, frevo and the Pernambuco step. In the beginning of the XXI century, it was agreed that frevo was created in 1907, the year when it was found the first record of the word frevo in a local newspaper, the Jornal Pequeno, in the issue of February 9, 1907. [...]

Rita de Cássia Barbosa de Araújo, Carnaval no Nordeste do Brasil, 2009.

Known to be plural and multicultural, the Carnival of Pernambuco – besides the various manifestations all over the state – stands out in the cities of Recife and Olinda. These popular and cultural manifestations bring colors, dances and music from the three people that originated the Brazilian people: black, white and native.

There’s a huge diversity in carnival associations that entertain revelers before, during and even after Carnival. The frevo clubs, troças, groups of carnival dancers, doll clubs,  maracatus (type nação or baque virado and baque solto or rural), caboclinhos, native tribes, carnival bulls, bears (La ursa), samba school and afoxés are the highlights.

Originates from professional corporations that existed in the city of Recife in the end of the XIX century, the frevo clubs today are composed by other social classes, but always with large participation by the people. Unlike troças, their parades take place at night.

From their old organization, they still keep the banner and some characters such as the Bat, the Death and the Devil. The old Capoeiras, known as being angry and bullies, were replaced by dancers and the military bands were replaced by brass instrument orchestras. The formation is usually a, abre-alas (or a banner holder), majorettes, front ladies, dressed in velvet, silk and lamé, representatives of the administration, highlights, cordão groups, the banner holder, dancers, orchestras and, in some cases, carnival floats. 

For the organizers of frevo clubs, the banner is the decorative item that requires the most care from the associated. It is the flag that represents them. The older and more long-lasting, the better. For that reason, some of them are embroidered with golden thread.

The orchestras in the frevo clubs need an actual music band to perform street frevo, whose melody is responsible for the choreography of the step and by the revelers’ dance. They promote frevo on the city’s streets and contribute to the spirit of Carnival. 

Currently, there are, among others, the following mixed carnival frevo clubs in Recife and Olinda, some very old, founded in the end of the XIX century and still going:

Bola de Ouro

Found on September 15, 1912, on the Rua do Bola, in Santo Amaro. Currently, its headquarters are on the neighborhood of São José. Its symbol is a golden ball and its official colors are yellow and black.

Girafa em Folia 

Created as a Troça (smaller carnival association, that parades during the day) on May 7, 1960, in the neighborhood of Guadalupe, in Olinda. Today, its headquarters are located in Areias, Recife. They have a giraffe as their symbol, that is on the banner and the association, surrounded by confetti and streamers. Their official colors are the same as the giraffe, yellow and black..

Lenhadores

Founded on March 5, 1897, from the dissidence of the a group of the Clube das Pás, and its first headquarters was in the neighborhood of Boa Vista (Rua da Glória). Currently, the headquarters are in the Mustardinha neighborhood. Their symbol are two crossed axes and their official colors are green, red and white.

Pás Douradas

Created on March 19, 1888, as the Bloco das Pás de Carvão, by a group of coalmen of the Recife Port. In 1890, it changed its name to Clube Carnavalesco Misto Pás Douradas. Their headquarters is located in the neighborhood of Campo Grande and its symbol are yellow and golden coal shovels. Their official colors are green, yellow and red. 

Vassourinhas

Founded in the neighborhood of São José, in Recife, on January 6, 1889. Their symbol is a broom and their official colors are yellow, blue and white. Today they have their own headquarters and operate in the neighborhood of Afogados. The song Marcha nº 1 de Vassourinhas is one of the most played ones in the Carnival of Pernambuco.

Pavão Misterioso 

Founded on May 25, 1975, in the neighborhood of Peixinhos, in Olinda, as a carnival Troça, it became a Club in 1989. The name came from the song and soap opera entitled Pavão Misterioso, a great success at the time. Their symbol is a peacock and their official colors are pink, yellow and red. In 1990, the headquarters of the club were transferred to the neighborhood of Ibura.

O Galo da Madrugada 

The Mask Club O Galo da Madrugada was created on January 24, 1978, in the neighborhood of São José (Rua Padre Floriano, 43) by a group of friends, lead by the carnivaller Enéas Freire. Their symbol is a rooster that changes its appearance every year and it does not have any official colors.

Maracangalha 

Founded on September 6, 1958, in the neighborhood of Torre, Recife, as a Troça called Agripina. In 2000, due to its growth and success, it changed from the category if Club to Mixed Carnival Club Maracangalha, whose official colors are yellow and red. Their symbol, displayed in the banner, is a woman on a beach similar to Maracangalha, in the coast of Bahia.

Arrasta Tudo 

Founded on March 8, 1937, in the Recife neighborhood of Beberibe, it originated in the Troça Meninas de Ouro, that paraded around the neighborhood in 1936, collecting money from the inhabitants to pay for drinks and food during the Momo period. Their symbol are two iron rakes, cleaning instrument that is used to drag leaves and other debris. Ten years after it was created, in 1947, this Troça turned into a Club. Their official colors are blue and white

Transporte em Folia 

Founded as a Troça on September 20, 1936, their banner is green, red and yellow, with the depiction of a truck charged with sugar in the middle. In the 1980s, it entered the category of frevo club. Their headquarters is in the Recife neighborhood of Afogados.

Reizado Imperial [spelling of the time]

It was also founded as a Carnival Troça, on January 11, 1951, on Bomba do Hemetério, in the neighborhood of Água Fria, in Recife. Their banner is symbolized by a king, that represents the main character of the Reisado celebration. Their official colors are red, yellow and blue. In 1987, it entered the category of frevo club. 

Pão Duro 

Founded on March 16, 1916, as a Carnival Troça, by a group of young men in the neighborhood of Pina. In the Carnival of 1917, they paraded with their first banner, made with sailcloth and painted in red and green; in the middle, there was a coat of arms of Pernambuco and two angels surrounding a loaf of bread. In 1993, they ascended to the category of frevo club, keeping their symbols and colors.

Even with all the difficulties to obtain funding for carnival parades, there are about fifty frevo clubs that participate on the carnival of Recife and Olinda. Over 25 of them are affiliated to the Federação Carnavalesca Pernambucana.

Recife, January 23, 2013.
(Update: november 24, 2016).

sources consulted

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ALVES, Leda. Carnaval não é brincadeira. In: CATÁLOGO de agremiações carnavalescas do Recife e Região Metropolitana. Recife: Associação dos Maracatus de Baque Solto de Pernambuco; Prefeitura do Recife, 2009. p. 11.

ARAÚJO, Rita de Cássia Barbosa de. Carnaval no Nordeste do Brasil, 2009. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: 18 jan. 2012.

ARAÚJO, Rita de Cássia Barbosa de. Festas: máscaras do tempo: Entrudo, mascarada e frevo no Carnaval do Recife. Recife: Fundação de Cultura Cidade do Recife, 1996.

BANHOLZER, Marília. Clubes de Frevo: orgulho em portar o estandarte, 2010. Available at: <http://ne10.uol.com.br/canal/carnaval-2010/noticia/2010/02/08/clubes-de-frevo-orgulho-em-portar-o-estandarte-213433.php>. Accessed: 21 jan. 2012.

CATÁLOGO de agremiações carnavalescas do Recife e Região Metropolitana. Recife: Associação dos Maracatus de Baque Solto de Pernambuco; Prefeitura do Recife, 2009.

PASSISTAS de frevo [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: <http://www.vermelho.org.br/noticia/175318-1>. Acesso em: 18 nov. 2016.

SILVA, Leonardo Dantas (Org.). Blocos carnavalescos do Recife: origens e repertório. Recife: Governo do Estado de Pernambuco, Secretaria de Trabalho e Ação Social, Fundo de Trabalho ao Trabalhador, 1998.

how to quote this text

GASPAR, Lúcia. Agremiações carnavalescas do Recife e Olinda: clubes de frevo. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 August 2009.