Chama Verequete, ê, ê, ê, ê / Chama Verequete, ô, ô, ô, ô
Chama Verequete / Chama Verequete...
Chama Verequete, oh! Verê / Oi, chama Verequete, oh! Verê
Call Verequete, hey, hey, hey, hey / Call Verequete, ho, ho, ho, ho
Call Verequete / Call Verequete...
Call Verequete, oh! Verê / Hey, call Verequete, oh! Verê
(Chama Verequete – Call Verequete)
The song sung on the Mina terreiro (Candomblé yard) in the suburbs of Belém was the origin of Augusto Gomes Rodrigues’ nickname, a singer and composer born in 1916, in Quatipuru in Pará’s Bragantina region: Verequete. Mestre Verequete, as he was called, was one of those responsible for the popularisation and dissemination of carimbó, a rhythm and dance from Pará that gained national recognition in the 1970s and 1980s.
Motherless at three years of age, from childhood he was influenced by Amazonian cultural events as his father, Antônio José Rodrigues, was the “owner” of the pássaro junino and boi-bumbá. At seventeen, he moved to the town of Capanema. In the 1940s, he settled in Icoaraci, in the Belém district, where he founded Pássaro Guará and the Boi Pai da Malhada, keeping up the family tradition. Illiterate, he worked as a stoker, a foreman’s assistant at Belém’s Air Base, a surveyor’s assistant and a butcher.
In the 1970s, he invited carimbó groups from the state’s interior to enliven the June festivals he organized. One time, lacking a group, he decided to form his own, the Grupo Uirapuru do Verequete, which later came to be called Uirapuru da Amazônia. 1971 marked the recording of their first album as a group: Uirapuru da Amazônia – o legítimo carimbó (The Real Carimbó). According to the master, this would have been the first carimbó record released by a record label.
The artist became renowned and performed in several states. However, in the 1980s, he disbanded the group because he thought he was being cheated, returning to activity only in 1994. In the meantime, he sold barbecue in front of the house where he lived.
Conceived in a more “traditional” style, Verequete’s carimbó was called “stick and string” or “root carimbó” because it did not use guitars. A great promoter of the rhythm, the master wrote about two hundred songs, including the hits O carimbó não morreu (Carimbó Hasn’t Died), Xô, peru (Shoo, Turkey), Morena penteia o cabelo (Brunette Brushes Her Hair) and Chama Verequete, the latter a song used at Casas de Mina rearranged by him to the sound of carimbó instruments. Over his artistic career, he recorded ten records and four CDs.
Married twice, he was the father of five children – four from his first marriage, and a daughter from his second, to Josenilda Pinheiro da Silva, known as Dona Cenira. He had twenty-two grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. In 2003, he suffered a stroke. From then he survived on a small pension and the support of a pharmacy that gave him medications. He received little money from copyright resources.
During his lifetime, he was honoured by the “Verequete – King of Carimbó” project that promoted concerts and CD productions (remastering and reproducing songs from vinyl records released by Verequete until 1995) and a book. He was also character in 2002’s short film “Chama Verequete”, directed by Luiz Arnaldo Campos and Rogério José Parreira.
An icon of Pará popular culture, in 2006 he received, from President Lula, the title of Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit, awarded by the Ministry of Culture.
Verequete passed away in Belém in 2009. His legacy remains alive, inspiring masters and carimbó groups, including the one he founded that has a son and one of his grandsons as members.
O carimbó não morreu,
está de volta outra vez
O carimbó nunca morre,
quem canta o carimbó sou eu
Sou cobra venenosa, osso duro de roer
Sou cobra venenosa, cuidado vou te morder
Carimbó hasn’t died,
it is back again
Carimbó never dies,
who sings carimbó is me
I am poisonous snake, a tough bone to grind
I am poisonous snake, watch out or I’ll bite you
(O Carimbó não morreu – Augusto Gomes Rodrigues – Mestre Verequete)
Recife, 9 May 2014.
Translated by Peter Leamy, April 2015.
CAVALCANTI, Alexandra. Morre Mestre Vereque. Amazônia, Belém, 4 nov. 2009. Available at: <http://www.orm.com.br/amazoniajornal/interna/default
.asp?modulo=829&codigo=441513>. Accessed: 8 maio 2014.
COSTA, Tony Leão da. Música, literatura e identidade amazônica no século XX: o caso do carimbó no Pará. ArtCultura, Uberlândia, v. 12, n. 20, p. 61-81, jan.-jun. 2010. Available at: <http://www.artcultura.inhis.ufu.br/PDF20/t_costa_20.pdf>. Accessed: 8 maio 2014.
LEAL, Luis Augusto Pinheiro. O carimbó e o mestre Verequete – PA. Revista Raiz – Cultura do Brasil. Available at: <http://revistaraiz.uol.com.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=579&Itemid=190>. Accessed: 08 maio 2014.
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Source: MORIM, Júlia. Verequete. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.