Project: Water
Magazine Article
Project Support

Home Page

Fire Adventure
(bike across Canada)

Water Adventure
(sail 'round the world)

Earth Adventure
(backpack the Andes)

Air Adventure
(to be determined)

Carnaval in the Pouring Rain Previous Log
Date: 22 February 2009 Next Log
South America > Brazil > Pernambuco > Recife
Log Menu

View Larger Map

Dressed for Success: Clive, Zach, Cody, SamThe rain began to pour down but the band played on.

Reaching up into the sky with palms skyward, we embraced the cold drops thundering down, streams running through our hair, dripping down our noses, around the curves of our grinning mouths, and soaking what - if anything - remained of our costumes. Our feet stomped wildly in ankle-deep puddles in the cobblestone streets, and all around us, people shouted at the top of their lungs "Eu quero Frevo!" (I want Frevo music!).

A few kilometres away on a sailboat, hastily left with a hatch wide open, a cabin began to fill up with rainwater, soaking its interior, saturating the bedding and destroying a book lying beside the pillow.

Carnivalitas!Trapped - albeit voluntarily - by thousands of wet bodies in all directions, embracing, dancing, kissing and singing, I smiled at the futility of worrying about it. One can only stomp their feet, raise their arms and celebrate life with strangers and friends alike and listen.. as the band played on.

We have come north to the eastern tip of Brazil for one of the largest street parties in the world to dance to the Frevo.

This is Carnaval in Recife, Brazil.

To explain about Recife's Carnaval, I'll just cut and paste from the Associated Press:

Eu quero Frevo! FREEEEEEVVOOOOO!!!Jelly-limbed dancers with tiny multicolored umbrellas, frolicking to frenetic frevo rhythms, make carnival in Recife unique and for residents second to none. Recife's frevo music, which is accompanied by a frantic tip-toe dance in which participants leap into midair splits and fold themselves like contortionists as they land, forms a carnival tradition distinct from the better-known samba.
While Rio de Janeiro's famed Samba parade is broadcast to millions of adoring fans, Recife's bash is perhaps Brazil's best kept secret. In recent years, revelers turned off by Rio's commercialism and tired of being confined to the stands have begun looking elsewhere to cities like Salvador da Bahia. Those in search of a Flapperita!more intimate carnival have been heading to Recife and the neighboring colonial hilltop town of Olinda.
Here, the vibrantly colored costumes and huge puppets may be dwarfed by the Rio's gargantuan floats and armies of uniformed dancers, but the lack of pomp is compensated for by the proximity. Recife also offers up a potpourri of rhythms with names that seem to flow from poetry, like "maracatu," ''cabolco," ''coco" and "ciranda."

In Rio's there's just one, Samba," explains Alceu Valenca, a Brazilian popular musician and fixture of Olinda's carnival. That may be so, but in Recife one carnival rhythm stands above all the others and that is frevo.

Midnight Rooster: Let the onslaught of double entendres begin! On Saturday, an estimated 1.5 million revelers turned out for the "Galo de Madrugada," or Midnight Rooster, in Recife's city center where a procession of frevo bands wow the crowds with the fast-paced marching band music that recalls Dixieland jazz.

Onward North back to the Caribbean... stay tuned!

Photo credits: Kim - aka Capt Spicy (and the Californicators), as well as our good friend Donna H.

Carnaval by Day
Carnaval or Bust!
Entering Olinda by Day

Whoa! Amazonian!

Chaos in the Streets
Oysters in the Midday Sun
Danger! Danger! Do not ingest!
The Grand Poobah!
Peacocks Should Smile More
Fun for the Whole Family
Yo Spike!
To be honest, I don't know what a conxita is..
Scuse us.. coming through..
Everyone Loves Watermelon
What Carnaval is All About
Do Not Kiss Strangers At Carnaval
No telling what strange diseases are out there..
These Boots Were NOT Made for Walking
Stumbling one's way through Carnaval
Nothing to See Here
Just a routine search, warrant not required..
Making New Friends
Court Jester
The Royal Family
The Town Crier
Clowning Around
Carnaval By Night
Entering Olinda at Night
Carnaval Grog
Everything in Moderation?
No! This is CARNAVAL!
Clive takes one for the team.
Homer on Drums
I Partied With Batman!!
Derek and Natalia
Recife After Midnight
Zach and Cody
Tango meets Frevo
Sam loves Carnaval
"Okay.. THAT was definitely madness!"
:: Inukshuk ::

:: Fire ::
:: Water ::
:: Earth ::
:: Air ::