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About - Preserving Brazilian Cultural Heritage - Frevo Music Scores


Throughout modern Brazilian history, frevo-- a form of upbeat music and dance-- has been a significant part of the country's traditional and cultural heritage. In 2007, frevo was officially declared as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN) and later by UNESCO in 2012.

The frevo genre is renowned by local communities as an essential component of the northeastern Brazilian carnival season, when military police officers are off duty and step into a key role in manifesting Brazil’s cultural heritage throughout the region. Performances in military ceremonies and various cultural festivals of Pernambuco allowed for musician Capitão Zuzinha and his frevo-playing band Military Police to act as a bridge between the state police and civilians. The band later changed its name to “Captain Zuzinha Frevo Band” in Zuzinha's honour, as he was the driving force that led to national recognition of the band in the 1930's and 1940's.

Captain Zuzinha and the band wrote thousands of manuscript scores throughout the early twentieth century and into the early 2000’s. These frevo scores document the historical origins of modern frevo and the genre's emergence in Brazilian pop culture. The Memorial Denis Bernardes of the Federal University of Pernambuco, which houses the documents, has partnered with Imago Institute to preserve and digitize this collection.

The materials consist of approximately 600 music arrangements, and act as part of a historical expression of Brazilian history, memory, and culture. The content has never been accessed prior to the Imago Institute’s digitization work, but will now serve as useful for research on ethnomusicology, Brazilian cultural studies, and the history of Pernambuco.