(REAL, Katarina. Eudes: o rei do maracatu, 2011. p. 132).
José Eudes Chagas, known as the King of Maracatu, was born in the city of Olinda, Pernambuco, in 1921. He moved to Recife when he was still a child, and he went to live in the beginning of Água Fria neighborhood and afterwards in the neighborhood of Pina, where he had a shango temple, exercising the religious leadership till his death in 1978.
In 1934, at thirteen years old, Eudes was week and ill, and the doctors could not discover the origin of the problem. Because he belonged to a very religious catholic family, especially his mother, would not admit that Spiritualist consultations were made.
An aunt, however, took him to a person who had mediumistic gifts and worked with Caboclo Daniel. According to the Caboclo, his problems were caused by two “African men” who followed him and he would need to go to a Shango yard. It was this same aunt who took him, in the mid-1930s, to Dona Santa’s yard, the headquarters of Maracatu Nação Elefante, which were closed, at that time, due to police persecutions the Afro-Brazilian worship suffered, mainly during the Estado Novo.
Dona Santa then “baptized” Eudes in Shango, in a day when the maracatu was played, during the first rehearsal of Maracatu Elefante, recommending that he should follow the sect. He would be followed by the orishas Ogum and Shango.
On 10 October 1938, Eudes (seventeen years old), Dona Santa, Aluísio Gomes and José Cabral, despite all the police persecution, founded the Troça Carnavalesca Mista Rei dos Ciganos, which would go out in the streets in carnival during the day and in the rest of the year they would promote dancing parties in praise of black divinities, ensuring therefore that the worship would continue in disguise, avoiding the repression from police. The Troça was soon affiliated to the Federação Carnavalesca from Pernambuco, which had been created in December 1936.
The first party of the “saints” was conducted in the month of December 1938, with a ball dedicated to Orishala, with all members dressed in white. It was necessary for the real objective of the Troça to be kept in secret. Hence, the Troça Rei dos Ciganos whose main patron was Ogum The Warrior, was able to celebrate, in disguise, for fifteen years all the African orishas.
Eudes decided afterwards to transform the Troça Rei dos Ciganos, in Maracatu Porto Rico do Oriente, but a great number of people wanted to continue the Troça, which continued existing even after the Maracatu was created.
The Maracatu Porto Rico do Oriente was inaugurated on 26th March 1967, with the headquarters in the neighborhood of Pina and Eudes was crowned its king on 10 December 1967, at house number 41, of the Pátio do Terço, and it was chaired by the bishop of the Brazilian Catholic Church Dom Isaac.
Eudes acted as the king, babalorisha and director of Porto Rico do Oriente from 1967 until 1978.
He was highly admired by his generosity, always offering to help dozens of followers and people in need, as well as the people who sought him for rituals and consultations in his yard. He was also supportive to other carnival groups, even if they were possible rivals. He trained the students’ maracatu Rei do Congo, even when he had health problems after he suffered a brain seizure.
José Eudes Chagas, the King of Maracatu Porto Rico do Oriente, died in Recife, on 15 December 1978.
According to the testimonial of the American anthropologist Katarina Real who helped him create the Troça and the Maracatu:
[...] With the death of this man, Recife suffered an irreplaceable loss. But instead of crying over the absence of such a dedicated king, babalorisha and carnival leader, I think we should be happy for his noble life and outstanding action in Pernambuco’s carnival. [...]
Recife, 28 July 2011.
REAL, Katarina. Eudes: o rei do maracatu. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 2001.
REAL, Katarina. A grande vitória: o carnaval de 1968. Suplemento Cultural D.O. PE, Recife, ano 15, p. 18-21, fev. 2001.
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Fonte: GASPAR, Lúcia. Eudes Chagas. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Disponível em: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar>. Acesso em: dia mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.