Batuque Book

What is Batuque Book and how was born


Tarcísio Resende (Photo by Marcelo Bulhões/Thercles Silva)


Climério de Oliveira (Photo by Marcelo Soares)

When I, Climério de Oliveira, knew Tarcisio Resende in a few time I perceived that we had some common thoughts with me as regards music, I invited this percussionist to play in the group Os Caba and later in Chá de Zabumba. In addition to being a new member of our group, we also shared a childhood connection with music, maracatu and other traditions occurring in Pernambuco. We also had, each in his own way, rhythmic patterns, notes and melody verses of maracatu and Coco that we shared with the students in our classes. That’s the way then we perceived a common dream: to learn more, organize our learning and pass to our colleagues, students and other stakeholders the knowledge on traditional sound practices. We wanted to do something as a bridge between people and musical traditions accessible to diverse audiences in Brazil and in other countries. However, initially, we thought we’d produce a songbook of Maracatu and it was with this proposal we approved a project in Funcultura (a cultural encouragement law by the Government of Pernambuco State) . To our surprise, before we did any voluntary disclosure, the Recife newspapers began looking for us to interview and publish full-page stories on the news: “Pernambuco would have a maracatu songbook”. (Diário de Pernambuco, 10/13/2004). However, we soon realized that the term songbook was reported to be a book with encrypted melodies and lyrics of popular songs of media success. We wanted to dive into the details where the encrypted melody did not penetrate and make something closer, at least minimally, to the readers of musical experience the maracatus. We began to think of together to put into the same work more than one media ( printed books and CD ROM/ DVD) and “languages “, so to speak, such as text, recorded music, photography, audio-visual, descriptive scores, sketches etc. In addition, we wanted first hand information because I had already started on ethnographic field research by linguist Maria Ines Aiala (UFPB) and ethnomusicologist Carlos Sandroni(UFPE).

In this perspective, we sought to understand the meanings of tradition addressed, their collective processes, community, musical and socio-cultural aspects of the makers, in short, we sought to understand the tradition from the point of view of the people within, the insiders. We went through an experience with traditional groups, trying to follow the knowledge of teachers and community leaders.

As what we wanted to build a multifaceted work, we were dissatisfied with the label “songbook” which, by the way, sounds inappropriate for our work, we could not use it as a label, since the anglophone term out patented Almir Chediak in Brazil, who has built extraordinary series of songbooks of corner-authors of the MPB. So, we lived a happy moment, because we are about to launch work, but at the same time melancholic, for not having a name that gives justice to the multimedia product. I remembered a phrase I read in Blindness by José Saramago in 1995: “Within us is something that has no name, this thing is what we are.” Ah… it had to be solved! And it was. In a meeting I had with Carlos Sandroni, who was helping us to review the scores, I expressed my melancholy and he suggested jokingly, “If you are not a songbook, it may be a drumming book “. Eureka! Thank you, Sandroni, for helping us with this delivery.

Over time, we understand that our work is not just physical products such as books, CD-ROMs and DVDs, but cover other actions: research, courses, workshops, lectures to music, experiences, participatory performances, shares of musical experience and information, organizing events and other similar projects. The series is taking shape; already launched some volumes: Vol 1 – Maracatu: baque virado e baque solto; (book + audio CD & ROM); Vol 2 – Cabocolinho: (book + audio & ROM); Vol 3 – Forró: a codificação de Luiz Gonzaga (book + DVD); DVD 1. Maracatu Nação: Leão Coroado, Porto Rico e Encanto da Alegria (the DVD has a different material from that published in Batuque Book Vol. 1).

Currently Tarcisio and I are not producing together. The demands require the individual dedication. Nonetheless, separate or together, we intend to continue producing according to the circumstances. I am engaged in research that will generate the Batuque Book Frevo, a huge challenge, given the complexity and the collection of that tradition. The project aims to generate a number of physical products and cultural activities.

We are on the road!


Traditional music of Brazil; Brazilian popular music; popular traditions; maracatu; frevo; caboclinho / traditional music of Brazil; Brazilian popular music.