Sonntag, 23. Juni 2013

Farewell…and maybe goodbye…

It was quiet in Recife early morning. The sun was shining, 26 degrees already at 7am. Not much traffic, not many people in the train to Joanna Bezerra. I met some volunteers from other areas on my way to the Arena. By the way, yesterday evening I met a volunteer from Zambia, studying in the States, in Recife since June 2 already. Musa, we will stay in touch! Of course I took my time for my daily coffee at Rodoviaria, I’m sure these ladies will miss me, they started to make my coffee already when they saw me coming! And of course our bus driver for our short transfer to the Arena, my “amigo”, it was pleasant to join in his bus!

At the Volunteer Centre it was already quite busy as the STS volunteers, Spectator Services, had to start between 10-11am. In that area 240 volunteers are working, just on match-days.

In the Media Centre however it was still quiet. About 10 people should have started to work at 9am, half of it was around. According to our planning all the rest should start by 11am latest. But wonder wonder, at 11:30am we were still waiting for 35 volunteers, only 1 Team-Leader was present in time. A major part was at the Hotel of the Tahiti National Team to bring them a real Brazilian present, a small umbrella, called Frevo. Frevo is a wide range of musical styles originating from Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, all of which are traditionally associated with Brazilian Carnival. The word frevo is said to come from frever, a misspeaking of the Portuguese word ferver (to boil). It is said that the sound of the frevo will make listeners and dancers to feel as they are boiling on the ground. The word frevo is normally used interchangeably either to mean the frevo music or the frevo dance. The frevo music came first. By the end of the 19th century, bands from the Brazilian Army regiments based in the city of Recife started a tradition of parading during the Carnival. Since the Carnival is originally linked to religion, they played religious procession marches and martial music, as well. A couple of regiments had famous bands which attracted lots of followers and it was just a matter of time to people start to compare one to another and cheer for their favorite bands. The two most famous bands were the Espanha (meaning Spain), whose conductor was of Spanish origin, and the 14, from the 14th regiment. The bands started to compete with each other and also started playing faster and faster, louder and louder. Some tough men used to go ahead of the band, opening space to its parade by bullying people on the streets and threatening them with capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art and dancing) and knives. Eventually, when the bands met each other in the streets, fights between the capoeiristas were inevitable. These fights normally ended up with many wounded and even dead. In order to end with this violence wave, the Police started to pursue the capoeiras and arrested many during their exhibitions. They reacted in a clever way by carrying umbrellas instead of knives and also disguising the capoeira movements as dance movements. The frevo dance was born.

In the same spirit of competition that made it to be born, the Frevo dance was developed by transforming the capoeira movements into the quasi-acrobatical movements of the Frevo dance. Each dancer worked hard in order to develop a new movement which required much rehearsal, strength, endurance and flexibility and the fight between the groups moved from the physical to the aesthetical field. Frevo dance movements include jumps, coordinated fast leg movements, leg flexions, tumbling etc.

Frevo dance is now known as passo and Frevo dancers as passistas. The clothes of the passistas also developed from regular clothing to a skimpy attire that is more appropriate for the movements. They are also very colorful, so they can be more visible in the crowd.

The umbrella also developed from regular black umbrellas with wooden handles to a small and also colorful umbrella. Umbrella movements are part of the dance and doing acrobatics with them is a common practice. It's not uncommon to see passistas throwing umbrellas in the air, do some movement, and catch them again. They also pass the umbrellas between their legs. The most common movement is just swinging the umbrella and passing it from hand to hand while executing regular movements.

Starting in the 50s, one of the biggest contributors to the passo is the master Nascimento do Passo. It's said that he added more than 100 different movements to the dance since then. He also founded the first Frevo school in Recife in the late 90's. The image of the passista is one of the most prominent icons of the carnival of Pernambuco.

American pop-star Cyndi Lauper is dancing the frevo when she sings her song "Maybe He'll Know".

Most of the volunteers arrived at the Media Centre at about 1pm. It is really frustrating to see how 1 single person can influence a whole working day. Hours of discussions were wasted, the planning was of no use at all. And the same person initiated a lot of unnecessary activities for the rest of the day. If I do not come back next year then it is only because of how this person acted today. Unacceptable!

Most of the day I stayed at the Media Centre. We had 1 person who did not feel well today. With the temperatures outside as well as in the Centre I am surprised that we only had one. And for a short time we had a strange smell of smoke in the Centre. Most probably it was because of the air-conditioning system. What would we have done if there would have been an emergency? Was this ever practiced? Don’t think so.

The game itself was not really interesting, 8-0 for Uruguay. The Brazilian fans were shouting all the game for Tahiti. Does it really make sense to let such a country participate in such a tournament?

After all Media activities were performed we all went to pick up our certificate, and to join in a closing party. Sergio, this man is really wonderful, took me home and organized my taxi for tomorrow morning. To celebrate Sao Joan there are quite some fireworks around, and just next to my place there is loud music played. Let’s see if I get some sleep before my long travel home. As soon as I am back home I will finalize my Confederations Cup blog with some last thoughts and feedbacks and for sure I will post the pictures then!


  1. Bert, thanks for everything! It was wonderful to follow the impressions of a foreigner on the Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, the event, people ... Too bad we did not have much contact. Success and see you soon! Good trip!

  2. Bert do not let 1 person disappoint your whole event. According to your block you did enjoy the event. You even changed some persons from starring people in to caring people. The bar lady's and the bus driver. Proving that Brazilians are loving caring people and not the zombie's they seems to be in public transport. (just minding there own business looking to nowhere and nothing) Just be back next year when we have a little bit more time to unfreeze and have fun with all of them. Talk to you soon!