Frevo and its history

Paço do Frevo

In the street and for the streets: Frevo was born! Know the rich history of this movement that originated in Recife and draws crowds wherever it goes.

Before 1900
Frevo was born from the streets and for the streets. Get to know some of the most important moments that preceded the first citation of frevo as the cultural expression that is known today.

The antecedent of the Carnival arrived in Brazil in the form of entrudo, a European party in which revelers took to the streets, equipped with balls of flour, mud and water.

Revelers in costumes and slaves engaged in a joyous and dirty war during the three days before Lent.

With the expansion of the army, military bands became more common and they were responsible for the origin of frevo as music.

There was a rivalry between two famous 19th century military bands: the Fourth Artillery Battalion and the National Guard Corps. They were so popular that they added two blocks with capoeiristas to the front, displaying their dance moves and canes and knives to threaten the rivals.

The capoeiras were obligatory figures in front of all the bands, dancing and pirouetting. They were known for their complicated steps and sharp whistles.

Around 1856, a rivalry began between the capoeiras, defenders of the rival musical bands. Their taunts often turned into fights.

From capoeira, frevo inherited the acrobatic dance, transformed through the years into different types of steps.

“Our capoeira is, before everything, the young man in front of the music march, armed with a club, challenging those of the opposite party who, among praises of some, and “die!” of others, breaks into hostility and fights, which often result in injuries, and even fatal cases!” (Pereira da Costa, 1908)

Masquerade ball in Recife.

While the public space was for the people, in the private halls the elite imitated Venetian masked balls, to the sound of a more sophisticated music, like the waltz. With the urban reforms, the street parties attracted the elite and the carnival gained a new face.

The composition "Zé Pereira", the first known carnival music, is an adaptation of the French march "Les Pompiers de Nanterre" and was successfully launched at the Carnival of Recife in 1887.

With the Abolition of Black Slavery in 1888 and the Proclamation of the Republic the following year, the carnival societies grew in number.

Also called pedestrian clubs, they were made up of artisans, factory workers, shopkeepers, clerks and urban workers.

Predominated the clubs that "dragged" all kinds of people, those who followed the sound of bands or the metal orchestras. The carnival marches appear, later known as Pernambuco marches and finally by frevo.

After 1900
On the first floor of the Paço do Frevo, the Hall of Time tells the story of Frevo after the year 1900. To illustrate this period, we selected 10 remarkable years of frevo since its first mention as a cultural expression until today. To read more details, click on the image for each year, below.

The word Frevo is used for the first time in Jornal Pequeno, Recife. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Appears in Recife’s carnival the frevo ‘Vassourinhas’, sort of a hymn to Pernambuco’s carnival. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Founding of the Bloco Carnavalesco Misto Batutas de São José. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Maestro Duda do Recife, musician, composer, arranger and conductor, was born. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Frevo invades Bahia. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Antonio Nóbrega, musician, instrumentalist, composer, performer, actor and dancer, was born. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Foundation of the clubs Vassourinhas e Lenhadores de Brasília. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Bloco da Saudade: a new age of the carnival of Recife starts, with the resurgence of lyrical blocks. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Frevo steps on the Brazilian scenery. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Frevo is recognized as a Brazilian imaterial heritage. Learn more: click and zoom in.

Where is Frevo headed?
Thinking about the future of Frevo, is investing in a permanent process of reflection, creation, experimentation and diffusion that stimulates innovation and creation of new products, business models and creative chains.

Frevo is a living and changing expression, marked by permanent dialogue between the past and the contemporary world. It involves memory, history, and an identity in constant formation. When we see people learning the dance moves, as well as the appearance in the radios of new musical compositions, we perceive the guarantee of its continuity.

Credits: Story


Mayor: Geraldo Julio
Vice Mayor: Luciano Siqueira
Secretary of Culture: Leda Alves

President: José Roberto Marinho
Secretary: Hugo Barreto
Executive Superintendent: Nelson Savioli
General Manager of Heritage and Culture: Lucia Basto
Institutional Development Manager: Flávia Constant


General Coordination: Mariângela Castro

Relations with Partners, Communication and Press Office: Hugo Sukman, Claudia Lamego, Rodrigo Cobra e Renata Couto
Administrative and Legal Support: Ana Érika Marques: Isabella Giusini, Carlos Carletto, Flávio Muniz, Luis Henrique Cordeiro, Cássia de Oliveira, Christian Mouron, Ana Luiza Bernart, Severino Jauhar, Solange Távora, Regina de Paula Vasconcelos, Aline Mazzarella, Luana de Freitas, Andréa Farroco e Adriana Manhães

Design and General Direction: Bia Lessa
Curatorship: Bia Lessa and Maria Lucia Montes
Curatorship of the Timeline: Leonardo Dantas Silva and Maria Lucia Montes
Carnival Glossary Curatorship: ​​Claudia Lima, Geraldo Vital and Mario Ribeiro
Contributors: Carmen Lelis, Lindinaldo Junior, Mario Ribeiro and Zélia Sales
Architecture: CAT Arquitetura
Production Management: Lucas Arruda
Research Coordination: Maria Lucia Montes e Maria Borba
Content Producer: Danilo Watanabe
Architectural Assistance / Timeline Room: Lucia Vaz Pato
Visual Communication: Cubículo
Sound Design: Dany Roland
Researchers: Joana D'arc Sousa Lima, Gleyce Kelly Heitor, Janine Primo Carvalho de Meneses, Nicole Cosh e Mariana Dantas
Video Team / Reception: Ana Paula Carvalho, Danilo Watanabe, Dany Roland, Juruna Malon e Maria Borba
Lighting: LD Studio
Dance Room By: Antônio Nóbrega
Music Room By: Hugo Martins
Video Direction / Dance Room and Music: Quito Ribeiro
Third Floor Photos By: Bruno Veiga
Special Effects / Traca-traca: R4 Metais
Timeline Book: KJPL
Art Painting: Leila Bastos
Text Revision: Maria Lucia Resende
Translation: Primacy
Administration: Eduardo Correia

Project Management and Works: Velatura Restaurações
Architecture, Restoration and Acoustics: GRAU - Grupo de Arq. e Urbanismo
Building Facilities: NORTECH Engenharia
Structure: ENGETI Consultoria
Air Conditioning: INTERLAN - Planejamento Térmico
Audio Project and Installation: AUDIUM - Áudio e Acústica
Digital Systems: KJPL ARBYTE
Optic Fibers: ZERO UM Informática
Signing: Dora Levy Design

Building and Restoration: CONCREJATO
Electrical Installations: RTS Construções
Air Conditioner: PADRON - Climatização
Building Facilities: JME Engenharia
Data and Voice: OMNI do Brasil
Special Glasses: Avec Verre
Hydraulic Tiles: O & S Tinoco Restauração
Partitions and Plasterboard: PERFIL Empreendimentos
Joinery: Ecomadeiras, Vitor Móveis e Divino Ofício
Lift: Elevadores Otis
Metallurgical Services: R4 Metais
Painting: TAKK Construções
Signing: KZ VISUAL Merchandising
Special thanks to all the associations, musicians, composers, conductors, dancers, researchers and technicians who collaborated in the realization of the Paço do Frevo.

Institute of Development and Management - IDG
Chairman of the Board of Directors: Ricardo Piquet
Director of Institutional Development: Alexandre Fernandes Filho
General Manager of Paço do Frevo: Eduardo Sarmento
Institutional Development Manager: Joana Pires

Creation of Virtual Narrative: 6D
Screenplay: Beto Martins and Betho Alves
Executive Production: Natália Erre and Paulica Coelho
Video Editing: Raoni Vidal

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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