Swirling to West African rhythms, residents of the Santa Rosa dos Pretos quilombo celebrate the recovery of a sick neighbor with a tambor de crioula, a “creole drum” festival that mixes African and European traditions.
After Brazil’s coastal forests were leveled for sugarcane plantations in the 16th century, millions of slaves were imported from Portuguese Africa. Today farms like this one in the northeast near Rio Formoso produce sugarcane for ethanol, a major export.
Terecô priest Pedro de Souza is “channeling” a menacing female spirit: A client has hired him to cast spells on her unfaithful husband. Terecô is one of the quilombos’ many hybrid religions, interweaving African and Christian beliefs with native practices
We begin with a story that defies credibility: descendants of escaped slaves still thriving in the Brazilian forest. Of the five million Africans brought to the Portuguese colony of Brazil, thousands escaped into the dense rainforest to live freely in isolated communities – called quilombos – where many of their descendants still live.