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Bumba-meu-Boi  

Kazadi Wa Mukuna

(Ox Festival)

Bumba-meu-Boi, the brincadeira (‘play, amusement’), is an indigenous secular folk drama first documented in the early 19th century denouncing prevailing social conditions in Brazil. The drama contains dialogue, music, and dance. The performance of Bumba-meu-Boi periodically adapts to contemporary realities and offers participants a devotional opportunity to renew their personal covenant with an adopted saint (see Cascudo, 1952).

The narrative of Bumba-meu-Boi follows a storyline that revolves around the symbolic theme of the death and the resurrection of the master’s ox of reproduction (for a complete transcription of the storyline recorded in Maranhão see Mukuna 2016). The presentation of Bumba-meu-Boi involves such characters as the Boi Estrela (‘Star Ox’), Amo the Portuguese master, his wife Dona Maria, Pai Franciso the African slave, his pregnant wife Mãe Catirina, the priest, chief of police, Indians, and sundry allegorical characters called Cazumbas.

In the state of Maranhão the festival of Bumba-meu-Boi occurs during the ...

Article

Giurchescu, Anca  

Speranța Rădulescu

(b Romania, 1930; d Copenhagen, 4 April 2015). Romanian-Danish ethnochoreologist. She worked as a researcher at the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore in Bucharest from 1953 to 1979. She contributed to the foundation and development of scientific research on traditional dance in Romania, where she conducted extensive fieldwork, filming dances and rituals in over 200 villages. Her main interests concerned the contextual study of dance, the analysis of dance structure, the processes of dance improvisation, and dance as an identity marker for the Roma minority group. She also investigated the way traditional symbols were manipulated in Romania for national and political power legitimation.

After 1980 she lived in Denmark, where she conducted research on topics such as continuity and change in the traditional culture of the Vlachs (a Romanian speaking ethnic minority of Serbia) living in Denmark, the Romanian healing ritual căluş, and on the theory and methods of field research in contemporary society. She was the Honorary Chairperson of the ICTM Study Group on Ethnochoreology and the leader of the Sub-Study Group on Fieldwork Theory and Methods, a Board member of Danish National Committee for ICTM, and Doctor Honoris Causa of Roehampton University, London. She had a great number of publications and a fruitful activity as a lecturer on an international level. In her last years, she worked with Margaret Beissinger and Speranța Rădulescu on the volume ...

Article

Nigun  

(Heb.: ‘melody’; pl. nigunim

In the liturgical music of the Ashkenazi Jews, an early form of centonized chant, also known as nusa . Among the East European Ḥasidic Jews, the term refers to a type of vocal music, often sung to nonsense syllables and accompanied by dancing, of which one of the important forms is the ...

Article

São João Festivals  

Jeff Packman

Brazilian celebrations featuring music, dancing, rural-themed costumes, and seasonal foods in honor of a trio of Catholic saints, the corn harvest, and the arrival of the rainy season. Brazilians use ‘São João’ to refer festivities marking the birth of St. John on June 24th (an official holiday in the northeast) as well as all the festas juninas (June festivals), celebrations that begin before the feast of Saint Anthony on June 13 and end after commemoration of Saint Peter on June 29. The most prominent music and dance of the period is forró, a complex of practices rooted in the sertão, the hinterlands of Brazil’s northeast. Group figure dances, quadrilhas, are also common. A variety of other, localized music and dance helps commemorate the season in particular locales, usually in combination with quadrilhas and forró.

Forró refers to several related vocal genres including baião, xote, arrasta-pé, and xaxado that accompany couple dancing during parties also called ...