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Maracatu

"The maracatu originated in the city of Recife in Pernambuco, where it is a central feature of the carnaval celebration. Its origins are obscure. At one time a dance-ceremony of the cult of Xango, the maracatu also includes many elements apparently preserved from the coronation rites of African kings, and was performed by slaves in colonial Brazil who had been forced into Catholicism. Thus, the maracatu draws from Candomblé, from Christianity, and from African tribal rituals of allegiance and accession to power. The characters of the dance include a king, queen, ambassador and prince. The central figure is the dama-do-paco ("court lady"), who carries the calunga, a small doll dressed in white which is thought to represent the power of the king or the gods. Rhythms used are specific to various sections or themes of the parade as it moves toward the crowning of the king, and are played on various drums (including the caixa and zabumba), percussion instruments and ago-go bells." ("Brazilian rhythms for drumset", Manhattan Music, Inc., 1991: 9)

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