By Laís Oliveira | Translation: Amanda Pepper
“A rádio de lá sai pela rua; não deixa o baião um minuto só. É por isso que Caruaru é a capital do forró”. If you never heard this song from the famous band “Trio Nordestino”, you probably haven’t been in the Brazilian northeast during June. Admired by the music icons like Luiz Gonzaga and Dominguinhos, Caruaru is one of the places to visit in Brazil during June. It is titled “The Capital of Forró”, because this country festival is celebrated during all thirty days of the month, with more than 200 concerts and cultural events that attract millions of people every year.
With approximately 300,000 residents, Caruaru is the most populated city in the interior of Pernambuco state. Throughout the years, the city was known as the “Princesa do Agreste” (Princess of Region Agreste). Caruaru and Campina Grande (state of Paraiba also in northeast) are constantly fighting for the title of best “Sao Joao” of the world.
The residents of Caruaru prepare the city for the big party by decorating the streets with colorful flags and balloons, food stamps with traditional food made of corn, and dance floors known as “palhoções”. They also prepare huge bon fires and rehearse traditional dances during the day and night. June is the most colorful and exciting month in Caruaru.
Cultural and historical performances like the “Bacamarteiros and Fogueteiro’s Festival” and the “Drilhas” Parade, are also a big part of the party. For those who never tried northeastern food, this is also the best opportunity to try out many recipes made with corn, like “canjica”, “pamonha”, “munguzá”, corn cake, cuscuz, “pé-de-moleque”, and “quentão” (a drink made of pepper and brandy).
As Marcos Francisco, a typical “forró” lover from Pernambuco says, “this tradition is awesome! There is no way to run from the spirit of the party, when you are in Caruaru during June. It is contagious and you feel the same atmosphere of Carnaval!” It is hard to not fall in love with the city which doubles its size, to warmly welcome the tourists and lovers of the authentic northeastern “forró” and of the rich local culture.
In addition to the wonderful traditions and festivals that the city offers, Caruaru is also the most important economical, medical, educational, cultural, and touristic pole of the region, being also famous for its traditional song, written by the composer Onildo Almeida, and performed by the one and only Luiz Gonzaga. The most famous point of arts and ceramics in town it’s called “Alto do Moura”, and it has this name in honor of a great artist called Vitalino Pereira dos Santos. Vitalino made history with his famous clay dolls, and represented generations of craftsmen.
*Photographs by Alisson Lima, nicely provided by the City of Caruaru.