Deluxe digipack edition with bilingual booklet, featuring 126 coloured pages.
The arrival of Portuguese settlers marked the beginning of the progressive westernization of habits, economy and the use of space, subjecting politically and culturally the populations of indigenous and African substrate. Keeping with the disintegration of subordinate identities, values like the Portuguese language, Catholicism and market economy became prevalent, although significant traces of indigenous and African cultures can be found to the present day, in customs and regional religious practices.
O cavalo marinho de Mestre Gasosa
Each specific kingship is recognized by the name of their Master. Master Gasosa’s Sea Horse (Master Gasosa was the nickname of night watchman José Raimundo da Silva) is also known as Sea Horse of Bayeux, city where their members reside, for the excelence and impact of their activity.
According to Mestre Gasosa, the complete toy requires the presentation of 28 characters. These days, however, it features a variable number, almost always depending on the remuneration, time available and the conditions of presentation. The more frequent characters are: Master (leader of the group) and Mateus, responsible for the main speeches and dialogues, who lead the the chanting; Birico and Catirina (a man with his face painted in pink, wearing a dress and a woman’s wig), who reinforce the previous functions; Foreman, Galantes (two rows of soldiers, with about five people each) and Dames (two boys or more recently two girls) who perform the collective dances, sometimes with their Master or other characters.
The music of the sea horse
The members of the Sea Horse of Bayeux use three expressions to subdivide their repertoire: “aboio”, a strophic way of singing, with no instrumental accompaniment, used by herdsmen to tanger cattle; singing or toada, of varied formal type (a – strophe of ternary rhythm of a recitative type/chorus with a binary rhythm; b – strophe/chorus or solo/answer, both with a clearly defined binary rhythm); and dancing, also formally varied. While the specific shape and function of the “aboio” are immediately apprehensible through the importance of the ox in the developement of the toy, distinguishing singing and dancing is a subtler task, for the singing with a binary rhythm is danced, while several dances are executed over sung musical excerpts.
What can be observed, however, is that the pieces called “cantos” either present characters, ou reveal important moments of the plot in their texts, while the dances emphasize a certain choreography such as the interwining of arches ornamented by ribbons ou certain types of tap dancing.
All of these genres are sung in an open voice; in the “aboios”, the intensity is far superior. The stanzas are usually sung alternately by two singers (Mestre and Mateus, in the recorded examples) and sometimes concluded in unison. Unison is also the predominant interval when the format is stanza/chorus, although singing in parallel thirds is maybe used by some singers.
Whenever the singing is collective (in unison or in thirds) the main voice is slightly anticipated in relation to the others.