Tributes of the Lavadeira Festival

Dona Selma do Coco


Dona Selma do Coco
Singer / Songwriter

"The Coco de Roda comes from my grandmother, my father and my mother. I used to go with them to the Coco de Roda, and that was touching me." Dona Selma

Selma Ferreira da Silva (1935), was born in Vitoria de Santo Antão - Pernambuco. A singer and songwriter of Coco de Roda, she spent her childhood in the countryside, where she became acquainted with the traditional music from Pernambuco, especially the Coco de Roda, at the traditional Brazilian event São João Festival, celebrated in June. She moved to Recife, got married, had 14 children and was widowed at the age of 30 years. By this time, already living in the Historic City of Olinda, had to support her family selling tapioca whilst singing to attract tourists.

In her spare time she began to promote the Coco de Roda in her house, which soon gained fame and led her to participate in popular shows and venues in Recife and Olinda. In 1996, with the popularity of the Manguebeat Movement, she was invited to participate on the Abril Pro Rock Festival. At the age of 60 years, a radical shift took place in her artistic career. Dona Selma sudden experienced fame, she recorded her first CD, My Story, in 1998, with songs written in partnership with Zezinho. In the following year, the album was recognized with the Sharp Music Prize. Thereafter, Dona Selma participated on the Lincoln Center Festival in New York, and the Jazz Festival New Orleans, in addition to concerts in France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal and Germany. Invited by the Berlin Cultural Institute, she recorded Herois da Noite, alongside African singers. Also in Germany, she recorded her album Cultura Viva.

In 2007, with 50 years of artistic career, she received from President Lula the title of Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit. In 2008, she received the title of Living Heritage of Pernambuco, thereby taking the responsibility to preserve, promote and maintain her skills and artistic Knowledge towards the popular culture.


Tata Raminho de Oxossi


Tata Raminho de Oxossi
Babalorixá (Male Spiritual leader)

Tata Raminho de Oxossi is a Babalorixá of the Oxum Opará Temple. He is a very important personality present in African-Brazilian religious demonstrations and in popular groups in Recife and Olinda.

In the 80s, Pernambuco had a period of intense political, social and cultural movement for the African-Brazilian culture. Raminho de Oxossi founded the first Afoxé in Pernambuco, the Ará Odé (Afoxé People of Odé), which develops workshops on oral tradition, dance and music of African traditions in Olinda. Since then, the Afoxé became an African rhythm always present in the local culture, maintaining through music the debate about black consciousness and freedom.

In the ceremony of the Night of the Silent Drums (Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos), which takes place on Monday of carnival in Recife. The Babalorixá Tata Raminho de Oxossi is responsible for conducting the ceremony, where he sings songs and recites prayers for the Ancestral Spirits (Eguns), which are celebrated with pride by Gege, Kêtu, Nagô and Angola nations. At midnight, the lights of the Pátio do Terço (the area where the ceremony takes place), are turned off and the drums are silenced, then begins the ritual that celebrates the meeting of African Nations (religious roots of African descendants groups) in Recife. "The Night of the Silent Drums is a reverence for the ancestors of African-Brazilians who fought for freedom, social and racial justice".


Mestre Salustiano


Mestre Salustiano
Musician and Craftsman.

“They are the seeds and I am the root” Mestre Salustiano

Salustiano Manoel Soares (1945 - 2008), the Master Teacher Salustiano or simply Salu, a former cane cutter, born in Aliança – Pernambuco. He lived among folk artists since his childhood, when he learned to make and use the rabeca (type of a violin). He was encouraged by his father, a great fiddler - João Salustiano.

Considered one of the best rabequeiros in the country, he was the precursor or "spiritual mentor" of the Manguebeat movement. Mestre Salustiano inspired artists like Antonio Nóbrega, Chico Science and Nação Zombie, Mestre Ambrosio Group, among others. He was one of the greatest masters of the popular culture in Brazil and a key person to maintain alive the Ciranda, Pastoril, Coco de Roda, Maracatu, Caboclinho, Mamulengo, Forró, Viola improvisation and other types of folklore in the Northeast of Brazil.

Salu was one of the greatest Cavalo Marinho dancers of the region, playing various characters such as arrelequim, Dama, galante, Mateus. He was also a singer and story teller of the plays. He was an eclectic craftsman, making from rabecas to costumes for the characters of the plays such as Bumba-meu-boi, Burra, masks for the Cavalo Marinho and Mamulengos.

He has recorded four CDs: Sonho da Rabeca, As três Gerações, Cavalo Marinho, Mestre Salu e a sua Rabeca Encantada.

He was one of the founders of the Cavalo Marinho, Boi Matuto (1968) and Maracatu Piaba de Ouro (1997) and Mamulengo Alegre.

In 2002, realizing an old dream, he founded the "Casa Rabeca do Brazil", in Olinda. A space dedicated to the preservation of culture and tradition of Pernambuco with performances such as Maracatu Rural and Cavalo Marinho, workshops, dances and concerts with regional music throughout the year.

He was awarded with the titles: Doctor Honoris Causa by the Federal University of Pernambuco, "Reconhecido Saber" by the State Council of Culture of Pernambuco. Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit, received from the hands of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. He also received the title of Living Heritage of Pernambuco State. He traveled to several countries such as France, United States, Cuba and Bolivia and to most of the Brazilian states showing his art.


Dona Elda Viana


Dona Elda Viana (Mãe Elda)
Queen of Porto Rico Maracatu.

“Candomblé is Maracatu, it is for us to be proud in the avenue...” Mãe Elda

Elda Ivo Viana, a woman with a strong personality, was born in an evangelical family in the neighborhood of the Mangabeira/Casa Amarela - Recife. At the age of 17, in Rio de Janeiro, already married, met the African-Brazilian religion, first Umbanda, then Candomblé, later with a strong knowledge of various roots of African faith, such as the Nagô, Angola and finally Gegê, where she is involved until today, for over 40 years.

Mother of 4 biological children, but inside the religion she is considered mother of several followers. Nowadays, she is retired from the public service. As a teacher, she was responsible for the literacy of many children of her community. Nowadays, she devotes her life to projects and actions that apply art and culture in order to make a better world.
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