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Vassourinhas (Carnival Club)

The place for its installation was on Rua Camboa do Carmo, in the Santo Antônio neighborhood, downtown Recife, on February 7 of the same year of its foundation.

Vassourinhas (Carnival Club)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 08/06/2022

By: Virgina Barbosa - Librarian at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco - Specialist in Librarianship and History

On January 6, 1889, a group of dissidents from the Maroim Grande carnival club, located in Pátio do Terço, São José neighborhood, met in Beberibe to establish a new club. The first suggestion was to call it Vassouras de Casaca (brooms in coats). Most did not accept the name due to the difficulty of rhyming with it, choosing Vassourinhas instead.

 

According to Teles (2009), this report of the club’s origins is from one of its founders. It was published in Jornal Pequeno on January 9, 1939, and recounted by Director-Treasurer Raul Cruz in the Jornal do Commercio of February 17, 1961. However, Rabello (1977) tells another version about the origin of the Club, based on conversation assisted by directors of the association with João Batista do Nascimento, known as Nô Pavão, former partner and former president of Vassourinhas:

 

According to him, the club was born in the neighborhood of São José [...] On the morning of a Three Kings Day, the tailor Andrade and Carrinho, Epifânio, João do Carmo, Cosme, Matias da Rocha and his brother Cabeça de Pau met in the Portuguese Winery located in Pátio do Carmo, at the corner of Beco do Sarapatel. They drank too much, and in those endless conversations came the idea of forming a club. Quite drunk, they went to Andrade’s house nearby, on a nameless lane.

 

After everyone agreed to the idea, they soon thought of what the club would be called. Vassourão was suggested. The name was not well received and, during the discussion, someone took a broom and suggested naming the club after it (vassoura), which was also not approved. Finally, it clicked: Vassourinhas!

 

It was installed in Rua Camboa do Carmo, Santo Antônio neighborhood, downtown Recife, on February 7 of the same year of its foundation. Although it was newly founded, the club participated in the Carnival of 1889 alongside other traditional or beginner associations, including: Cavalheiros da Época, Borboleta, Cana Verde, Maracatu Porto Rico, Quebrados, Fenianos, Dissidentes, and Mirandola. According to Rabello (1977), on March 5 of that year, the Daily Journal column of the Diário de Pernambuco newspaper reported: “The Vassourinhas Club, which in the same genre as that [referring to the Caiadores Club] was equally well dressed and, like the other, received applause with for its touch, songs, and dances”.

 

In the early years, the association did not have its own headquarters. Participants gathered at the homes of friends, partners, or supporters or rented spaces, often moving places. Its headquarters have been located on streets Sol, Alecrim, Estreita do Rosário, Hortas, Augusta, Pátio do Terço, Forte, and Calçadas. They are currently located in Crucilândia, in the neighborhood Afogados.

 

Since the first parade, participants worry about the costumes. Until 1891, men wore white pants and white shirts, straw hat with an artificial flower on top, and bath shoes (a type of shoe with rope-braided sole and cloth on the front). [...] The women wore a white dress, carrying plant branches in their hands, and accompanied the revelers in the parties, which lasted the whole night. (RABELLO, 1977).

 

At one time, everyone carried little brooms made of strong wood and with a spear on the tip. They served as a defense weapon in meetings with other carnival groups. A fight between Vassourinhas and Toureiros de Santo Amaro on Rua do Imperador resulted in arguments, slaps, and shootings, in which several people were injured.

 

At first, to cheer up the revelers, the Club paraded to the sound of orchestra with guitars, bladder fiddle, rabeca, and tambourine. They also counted, for a long time, with the orchestra of the 21st Caçadores Battalion.

 

The history of Club Vassourinhas is also related to the emergence of “Marcha nº 1”, a nationally known song which became the anthem of Recife’s carnival, warming, cheering up, and motivating the revelers in the streets and clubs.

 

According to Teles (2009), a report of one of the club’s founders published in Jornal Pequeno on January 9, 1939, says that “[the Vassourinhas Club] came out right at the next Carnival [of 1889], thanks to a quota of $2000 of each partner, dancing (sic) ‘if this street if this street were mine I would tile it/ with diamond pebbles for my love to walk by’”.

 

Statements from former participants say that the march was written on the same date of the club’s foundation. However, Evandro Rabello found a document of 1949 in the 2nd Registry of Special Registration of Titles and Documents which accurately reveals, in a statement by Joana Batista, the authorship and date of the composition: “The march entitled Vassourinhas belongs to Club Carna. Mixto Vassourinhas was composed by me and maestro Matias da Rocha on January 6, 1909, at Arrabalde de Beberibe in a Mocambo facing the Porto da Madeira station, the mocambo is currently a modern house”. (RABELLO, 1987, p. 24). On November 18, 1910, the two conceded the rights of the march to the Club for three thousand réis, according to a receipt signed by them, located in the entity's collection.

 

Information about Joana Batista and Matias da Rocha is scarce. Matias was one of the founders of the Club and a composer, who played the guitar. Joana was a housekeeper, she had three children with Amaro Vieira Ramos and died at the age of 74 (1952). The relationship she had with Matias da Rocha is undefined: friend, cousin, sister, wife, or unrelated.

 

The Marcha nº 1 of the Vassourinhas was composed with lyrics to be sung, which are little known today:

 

If this street were mine
I would tell them to tile it, {encore
With little diamond pebbles
For Vassourinhas to pass by

Ah!... look, my gentlemen
The father of these people, {choir
Who makes us go out on the street
Celebrating the Carnival

We are the Vassourinhas
All of us at once
We will sweep the city
With care and precision,
You know of the commitment
Which leads us to do so:
To show our badges
And sweep the city.

 

Although written in 1909, Marcha nº 1 was first recorded only in 1945 by Continental, with melody and lyrics interpreted by Déo and Castro Barbosa. According to Leonardo Dantas (1998, p. 22): "On this album, Almirante (Henrique Foreis Domingues, Brazilian singer, composer, and broadcaster) not only made a simple adaptation of Marcha nº 1, but [...] he simply wrote it new lyrics that he called 'Marcha Regresso' (!) which Ruy Duarte presented as “the true march” in his book ‘História Social do Frevo’ (Social History of Frevo)”:

 

The longing, oh Vassourinhas
It invaded my heart,
thinking that I might never,
ever see you again.
The longing, oh Vassourinhas
fills my eyes with water,
when thinking, oh Vassourinhas,
of this final departure."

 

In October 1950, Marcha nº 1 was recorded by Severino Araújo and his Tabajaras Orchestra under the name “Frevo dos Vassourinhas”, as it became known. It became the most played song of Carnival.

 

 

Recife, March 31, 2013.

 

sources consulted

RABELLO, Evandro. Vassourinhas. Recife: IJNPS, Departamento de Antropologia, 1977. (Folclore, 28).

RABELLO, Evandro. Vassourinhas foi “compositado” em 1909. Arrecifes, Recife, ano 3, n. 2, 1987.

SILVA, Leonardo Dantas. O frevo cantado nas ruas. In: BLOCOS carnavalescos do Recife: origens e repertório. Recife: Secretaria do Trabalho e Ação Social do Estado de Pernambuco, 1998.

TELES, José. Clube Carnavalesco Vassourinhas comemora 120 anos e 100 anos da doação do hino mais famoso de Pernambuco. Jornal do Commercio, Recife, 14 fev. 2009.

TORRES, Felipe. Vassourinhas é hino do carnaval pernambucano. Diario de Pernambuco, Recife, 8 fev. 2013.

how to quote this text

BARBOSA, Virgínia. Vassourinhas (Carnival Club). In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2013. Available from: https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/pt-br/artigo/zepelin/. Accessed on: month day year. (Ex.: Aug 6, 2009.)