1. Can you briefly explain the roots of the Maracatu? Where in Brazil it originates and how it ended up in Toronto?
Maracatu is a cultural manifestation that has a very rich and complex past. It originates from the North East of Brazil in the state of Perambuco, in the cities of Recife and Olinda. There are many aspects of ‘Maracatu Baque de Virado’ but primarily it comes from the tradition of the music that was played during the celebration of the coronation of the African Kings and Queens during Portuguese Colonial Rule in Brazil. After Brazil’s independence it transformed in some of its manifestation but remains a thriving creative force for the communities today! It was brought here to Toronto by two young people in 2002 whom I call the mother and father of the Toronto Maracatu scene: one Brazilian
woman, Aline Morales and one Torontonian, Alex Bordokas.
2. Without giving too much away, can you tell us what an audience member can expect at the show?
First and foremost you can expect to experience this epic percussive phenomenon as led by the exquisite voice and musical talent of Aline Morales!
What’s amazing is that this show touches on the origins of this music, (sharing only some of its socio-political significance and past) but it’s also an opportunity for the audience to learn about each cast
member’s discovery journey and how much it has impacted and transformed their lives.
3. It sounds like the show is equal parts Brazillian and Canadian – how easily was it to blend the two cultures?
My goal for this show was to embrace as much as possible the awesome diversity of our group which goes beyond merely Brazilian-Canadian dynamics but also into other cultural inheritances but most
importantly it explores this theme of identity and ‘home’. One of my favourite moments is when we are playing a traditional Afro-Brazilian beat to underscore a Tagore song from Bangladesh! I think there are at least five languages spoken on stage throughout our piece.
4. The protests in Brazil surrounding the displacement of communities in preparation for the World Cup and the Olympics was prominent in the headlines for weeks (finally); does MARACATU YOU! get political?
Our show doesn’t require any effort to ‘get’ political, it simply is because it is about the music and there’s no question that the music of Maracatu is extremely political as it comes from an enslaved
community who dared to celebrate who they are and where they come from with pride in the face of oppression, a most powerful act of rebellion.
5. From what I’ve read about the show, the energy of it practically jumps off the page; is this an important part of the show? How do you want the audience to feel when they leave?
I am so glad that the uplifting energy of the music and of our production is translating! We end the show by inviting the audience up onto their feet to dance with us outside into the streets!