Have you ever had someone improvise a song-poem about you? No? Well, it happened to me, and may very well happen to you, if you ever find yourself wandering inside the crafts market in downtown Recife - the building that used to be the old penitentiary. Just make sure you take a tape-recorder along. I didn't - it's the sort of thing you don't really expect will happen, isn't it? - and the embolada this singer-poet created in my honor is lost forever! The pandeiro is the percussion instrument of choice. 

The embolada is a poetic-musical form with stanza-and-refrain structure, declamatory melody and fast tempo. It is very popular in northeastern Brazil. It may be improvised or not, and recited by one person or more, as in the desafios (challenges) between two singers and the cocos, traditional dances of northeastern Brazil. 

Caju & Castanha are the best-known embolada masters, with several CDs and a live DVD, all from Trama in São Paulo.

Check our Music from Northeastern Brazil Page for their CDs also. And, of course, if you can still find it, Zeca Baleiro's CD Vô Embolá is wonderful.

Music & Folklore