capoeira


  • Ápio Patrocínio da Conceição - M Camafeu de Oxóssi
    10/Oct/1915 - 26/Mar/1994
    103









    📻 Velhos Mestres

    M Camafeu de Oxóssi, 1967 and *1968
    < >
    • 01.
      Quem quiser moça bonita
      3:55
    • 02.
      Paraná
      3:38
    • 03.
      Samba do mar
      2:39
    • 04.
      Adeus Corina
      3:31
    • 05.
      Sou eu maíta
      1:50
    • 06.
      Vou dizê a meu sinhô
      1:53
    • 07.
      Babá mixorô
      2:50
    • 08.
      Moriô
      2:12
    • 09.
      Ojo matin dolaie
      1:50
    • 10.
      Afoxé loni
      2:34
    • 11.
      Alá filá lá
      2:30
    • 12.
      Adabaô no mafé
      2:08
    • 13.
      Ala la la ê
      2:12
    • *01.
      Ogum
      1:55
    • *02.
      Exu-Onã
      3:21
    • *03.
      Oxum
      3:28
    • *04.
      Oxóssi
      2:55
    • *05.
      Oxalá
      2:49
    • *06.
      Crioula pariu mulata
      2:20
    • *07.
      Bahia minha Bahia
      4:52
    • *08.
      Canto contado
      3:20
    • *09.
      Confirmação de Oxóssi
      3:33

    M Camafeu de Oxóssi, 1967 and *1968



    The ABC of M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    1915 - Was born on 4th October on Gravatá Street, in Nazaré neighborhood of Salvador, son of Faustino José do Patrocínio and Maria Firmina da Conceição.

    1945 - Got his first stall on the Modelo Market.

    1961 - Was one of the first students of yoruba course in UFBA.

    1966 - Traveled to Dakar to the I Festival Mundial da Arte Negra with M Pastinha, M Gato Preto, M João Grande, M Roberto Satanás and M Gildo Alfinete.

    1967 - Recorded his first LP Berimbaus da Bahia (listen above), in 80-s relaunched by the name Berimbau.

    1968 - Philips recorded his second LP Camafeu de Oxóssi (listen above).

    1969 - Lost everything in the fire of the Modelo Market.

    1971 - Inaugurated, by the side of his wife Toninha, a restaurant in the new the Modelo Market.

    1976-1982 - Was president of the Afoxé Filhos de Gandhi.

    1994 - Died on 26th March.

    The photo gallery

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi and Diaulas Riedel
      Mercado Modelo
      1961
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi and Diaulas Riedel
      Mercado Modelo
      1961
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Jorge Amado, M Camafeu de Oxóssi et al
      Mercado Modelo
      1961
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi
      1970
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Mirabeau Sampaio, ?, Jorge Amado and Camafeu de Oxossi
      50 years of literature
      Salvador, 1981
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Mirabeau Sampaio, Rodolfo Coelho Cavalcante, Jorge Amado and Camafeu de Oxossi
      50 years of literature
      Salvador, 1981
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Rodolfo Coelho Cavalcante, Jorge Amado and Camafeu de Oxossi
      50 years of literature
      Salvador, 1981
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Jorge Amado and Camafeu de Oxossi
      Salvador
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Jorge Amado and Camafeu de Oxossi
      Salvador
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Rodolfo Coelho Cavalcante, Jorge Amado and Camafeu de Oxossi
      Salvador
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • Jorge Amado and Camafeu de Oxossi
      Salvador
      Photo and collection: Zélia Gattai

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • The front cover of the LP of 1967

    • The front cover of the LP of 1968

    • The back cover of the LP of 1968

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • M Bigodinho (berimbau),
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi (berimbau),
      M João Grande (pandeiro),
      Caribe (pandeiro)
      M Pastinha's academy, Pelourinho

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • Jorge Amado and M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • Bateria:
      M Gato Preto (pandeiro),
      M João Grande (pandeiro),
      M Gildo Alfinete (berimbau),
      M Roberto Satanás (berimbau)
      Playing: M Pastinha and M Camafeu de Oxóssi
      Morro do Gato, 1966

    • Bateria:
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi (berimbau),
      M Gato Preto (berimbau),
      M Roberto Satanás (pandeiro),
      M Pastinha (pandeiro)
      Playing: M Gildo Alfinete and M João Grande
      Modelo Market, 1966
      M Gildo Alfinete's collection

    • Bateria:
      M Gato Preto (berimbau),
      M João Grande (berimbau),
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi (pandeiro),
      M Pastinha (pandeiro)
      Playing: M Gildo Alfinete and M Roberto Satanás
      1966
      M Gildo Alfinete's collection

    • Bateria:
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi (pandeiro),
      M Gildo Alfinete (pandeiro),
      M Roberto Satanás (berimbau),
      M Gato Preto (berimbau)
      Playing: M Pastinha and M João Grande
      Morro do Gato, 1966
      M Gildo Alfinete's collection

    • Bateria:
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi (berimbau),
      M Gato Preto (berimbau),
      M Roberto Satanás (pandeiro),
      M Pastinha (pandeiro)
      Playing: M Gildo Alfinete and M João Grande
      Modelo Market, 1966

    • Bateria:
      M Gato Preto (pandeiro),
      M João Grande (pandeiro),
      M Gildo Alfinete (berimbau),
      M Roberto Satanás (berimbau)
      Playing: M Pastinha and M Camafeu de Oxóssi
      Morro do Gato, 1966

    • The trip to Dakar:
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi,
      M Roberto Satanás,
      M Gildo Alfinete,
      M João Grande,
      M Gato Preto,
      M Pastinha
      1966

    • The trip to Dakar:
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi,
      M Roberto Satanás,
      M Gildo Alfinete,
      M João Grande,
      M Gato Preto,
      M Pastinha
      1966

    • The trip to Dakar:
      M Pastinha,
      M Roberto Satanás,
      M Gato Preto,
      M Gildo Alfinete,
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi,
      M João Grande
      1966

    • The trip to Dakar:
      M Gato Preto,
      M João Grande,
      M Pastinha,
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi,
      M Gildo Alfinete,
      M Roberto Satanás
      1966
      M Gildo Alfinete's collection

    • The trip to, bateria:
      M Gato Preto,
      M João Grande,
      M Camafeu de Oxóssi
      Squatting: M Gildo Alfinete and M Roberto Satanás
      Dakar, 1966
      M Gildo Alfinete's collection

    • M Gildo Alfinete and M Camafeu de Oxóssi
      Dakar, 1966
      M Gildo Alfinete's collection

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi with a blue jacket
      Lavagem do Bonfim, Salvador, 1964
      Helinä Rautavaara's collection

    • M Camafeu de Oxóssi, his wife Toninha and Jorge Amado
      Modelo Market's restaurant

    • ?, Zélia Cattai (the wife of Jorge Amado), Jorge Amado and M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    • Fotos de Jean Solari

    • Read below

    • Read below

    • Photo: He, who managed to face the fire of the Modêlo Market without tears crys thinking about the future of Jorge, the step-son. He doesn't want the boy to go through what he's gone through.
    • Read below

    • Read below

    • Read below

    M Camafeu de Oxóssi

    The text

    • page 2

      -

      In Itamarati, they told us: he knows Bahia the best. Nobody plays berimbau in Brazil like he does, affirms Dorival Caymmi.

      A cordial creole, says Jorge Amado. Reporter Maurício
      Azêdo went to look for this character, about whom they tell and spread stories.

      He encountered a simple man, a real bahian.

      CAMAFEU DE OXÓSSI
      Magazine Realidade
      January 1970

      From the back of the corridor comes the uproar of feminine voices. The girls of a public school celebrate the end of the school year. Under a plaque of the bar called Ponto Certo, a blonde with short hair sings a song. Suddenly, the yelling and the laughs stop, the choir grows louder and someone makes a beat on a piece of wood:

      „Happiness, / I passed the college entrance exam, / But the faculty / Is private, / Private, / It is private…“

      - Where is Camafeu de Oxóssi?

      The fat Valdemar Bôca-do-Mundo, so called due to being outspoken, abandons his tent for a while, points to the back of the corridor and says with confidence and a boyish laughter:

      - I bet you two pints of beer that he is in the middle of this merriment.

      Who comes in doesn]t see the group, only hears the singing, that comes from the row of small shops, each little more than 1 meter deep and 2 meters wide. As buy miracle, each box has an infinity of articles squeezed in: berimbaus and atabaques, necklaces and bracelets of all types and colors, old and discolored images of saints, baskets and bags and fibre hats, silver and cheap tin baubles, metal and clay figures, gear for the candomblé rites, long rosaries of wooden pieces, dolls dressed as bahian women, a thousand little things, that are mounted and balances on the counters, on the shelves, on the walls, on the slats of woon full of hooks. All of the richness of the folklore, of the religion and of the customs of the people of Bahia is here in this small and suffocating territory: the Popular Market de Salvador, the successor of the unforgettable Modêlo Market, that the fire devoured last year.

      - Camafeu? He should be there at the back.

      In the last row of boxes, where the schoolgirls are stirring it up, are located the bars and their delights: the famous cachaça from Santo Amaro, the cocktails of Surinam cherry, passion fruit, lime and coconut, the lambretas – a shellfish to be eaten with special sauce, a little spicy, that „warms up the insides“.

      And from exactly there at the back comes Camafeu de Oxóssi, the face and the arms black contrasting with his shining white clothes: linen trousers and shirt impeccably starched and passed. In the shirt pocket two inseparable companions: a pack of filter cigarettes and a ballpoint pen to note down errands, to keep accounts. This time he is not wearing flip-flops, as he is used to, but shoes. Aninha, a dark girl, a marrying type, is surprised with such elegance:

      - Mister Camafeu, you look so posh!

      The black man smiles with the unexpected, innocent praise. He is 54 years old, Aninha only seventeen, she could be his granddaughter.

      - Right so, my child. Today I went to the Church of Senhor do Bonfim to see my Saint George, the battle warrior.

      To his side is a couple of teachers from São Paulo, with whom he went through the straight corridors of the Market, explaining them the signification of the things that jumped from the tents, that obstructed the passage.

      Camafeu de Oxóssi takes the visitors to the box number 7, his home of business, dedicated to his protector: Tent of Saint George. The couple came attracted by his fame, that has spread around Bahia and even reached the South on the reports of newspapers and magazines, in the tourist comments, in the recollections of many friends of Jorge Amado. Camafeu de Oxóssi: the king of the berimbau, one of the great composers of Bahia, the capoeira mestre, the master of candomblé mysteries, the man who talks yoruba, the nago language, with his african brothers.

      This very moment, in front of the couple of teachers is another Camafeu, the little trader that does not know how to take advantage his fame to the benefit of his business and who, in the moments of flight of fancy, comes crashing down in a mixture of pride and discouragement:

    • +

      page 3

      Legends: he spoke to the queen, had a drink with the prince

      - I'm a millionaire of fame, but poor monetarily.

      It's his own fault, says Mr Nenen, owner of another tent. Mr Nenen, father of thirteen children, doesn't want to talk to anyone, but Camafeu doesn't know how to take advantage of the oportunity God gave him.

      - If he wanted to, he could concentrate 65 percent of all the movement in the Market. With all that fame...

      Mr Nenen shakes his head, with a tut:

      - Uh, if it were me…

      The Market: a fiest

      Camafeu de Oxóssi's fame grew with the old Modêlo Market, from which there rests only a pile of bent metal, the only thing that the fire spared. The Market, founded in 1907, had a priviledged position. At the back, the Lacerda elevator, that connects the Lower Town to the Higher Town and through which passes almost all the people of Salvador. In front, the sailboats' quays, that on Saturdays transforms into an anthill. Together with the quays swarms the street business: in the baskets, improvised tents or on the ground, on plastic or paper, there are living and slaughtered chicken, pigs, ducks and turkies; cashew, mango, pineapple, the jambo which is so rare in the South; fish, lobster, crab; the delights of bahian cuisine. From the sailboats, with a hand supported on the railing of the quays, men burnt by the Sun offer the copioba flour; that came just now from the inland mills.

      - Eight hundred a kilo, citizen! You'll take how many kilos?

      The Modêlo Market - an obrigatory visit of all the people that passed by Bahia - had an international fame, and to this Camafeu de Oxóssi certainly contributed. He and another tent-vendor, João Rodrigues, started the business of regional articles, that made the Market the real synthesis of Bahian things. There was no tourist that would skip to search him, nor to exalt his strange fascination, after seeing him. And nobody in Salvador stopped going there at least once a week. It was the obrigatory place of bohemians, of intellectuals, of businessmen, of simple people, all meeting for a chat without hurry, a lime cocktails with shellfish, a roda de samba.

      - When you wanted to meet someone - says Nilda Spencer, teacher of the School Theatre of Bahian University -, it was only to go to Modêlo Market on Saturday: everybody was there.

      And the Market prospered. Rare was not a day when a tent sold for more than 1 million old cruzeiros, or almost 2 million. A little box was worth a fortune: there were people who got an offer of 30 million old ones as payment, but didn't sell.

      - There, a guy would enter nude, and come out dressed and eaten - says the tent-vendor Naim, 43 years old, 43 of Modêlo Market.

      Camafeu de Oxóssi had four boxes, and some of the most sought of. Mainly by the tourists, important visitors - teachers, embassadors, intellectuals - brought by Jorge Amado and the painter called Carybé. That one gave special charm to Camafeu's tent, painting bahian motives on nine hardboard plaques of the boxes, on a day when he went to look for his friend and didn't find him. Camafeu turned a type of image if bahian folklore into flesh and blood. The man of the berimbau, of samba de roda, of candomblé - the most typical bahian.

      - A crafty creole – all say.

      A world of a legend ends

      England's Queen Elizabeth's visit to Modêlo Market helped Camafeu de Oxóssi a little. Elizabeth made a visit of twelve minutes, received as a present from the vendors a box of jewelry made of jacaranda and a bunch of baubles with eleven typical pieces of Bahia: 2,260 kg of silver. While the royal entourage went around the Market, where they passed on a long sisal carpet covered with flowers, Camafeu played the berimbau, in homage of the visitors.

      The ones that didn't see the cerimony had news that went from mouth to mouth:

      - Camafeu gave the present to the queen.

      - Camafeu gave a berimbau to Prince Philip.

      - The prince had a cocktail with shellfish. Camafeu de Oxóssi offered it.

      - Camafeu organized it all.

      Behind the legend, the historic truth. It is guarded by the modest Mr Naim. It was he who organized the homage to the queen, ran a list for the present, when he heard of the visitors' interest to go to Market, where the prince had already been, during one of his earlier visits to Brazil. And nobody from the Market gave anything to the queen, because the royal protocol doesn't allow it: the present was given to the governor, who gave it to Elizabeth. Did they give a berimbau to the prince? Yes, they put one in his hand, and he passed it on right away, as soon as he saw one of his subjects waving his hands. The prince had a cocktail? It's not known. What is known is that who ever tells a story adds something.

      This fantastic world of Camafeu de Oxóssi collapsed suddenly. The Market was already condemned, as a obstacle to the urbanization plan of Salvador, city that tears up avenues and renovates itself, looking to reconcile tradition and progress. An accident shortened its end: on the dawn of the 1st of August last year [1969], the fire started no-one knows how ("in four different places", many people swear until today) and in minutes devoured everything.

      Camafeu was still at home when he heard the news, given by his friend Othello Tornin, lawyer, teacher and journalist. Othello, man of his fifty years, and one of the few who knew the exact origin of his friend's nickname: the film in series Yellow Camafeu, shown during the 30-s. The hero of the film used a cameo - a type of jewelry - and was so sharp, that they saw in him right away the personification of the black Ápio Patrocínio da Conceição, who added to the nickname "de Oxóssi", as an homage to the Saint George, his protector.

      It was early, Camafeu had just woken up, on the day of the fire. Othello Tornin was upset, but Camafeu thought it was nothing, some little thing, not suspecting that it was "that catastrophy", as he says today. Impassive, he asked one thing:

      - Is there time for me to take a shower?

      Cry? Only he can't

      All of Bahia cried for the end of the Modêlo Market, except Camafeu de Oxóssi. Sure he wanted to cry, seeing only wreckage of everything, the smoke still coming from the blackened things, from thing that he so liked. But he didn't have this right, he, the happiest of the Market: the friends, the vendors, the people who frequented the Market, all expected from him a word of comfort. Almost nobody had insurance, many stayed with nothing. Camafeu had only a phrase, before consoling the most downcast, strong men who cried like children:

      - If it burnt, it's burnt. Oxóssi will give me everything again. Also to Camafeu, the Market meant everything, his reason to live. Only those plaques painted by Carybé were worth millions. And not only for this: the tent buried a difficult past, of uncertain days. Before putting it up, in 45, Camafeu de Oxóssi did everything: was a shoeshiner and peddlar, seafarer and docker, a mechanic of domestic appliances and a game banker on carnivals, a perfume seller and naval worker.

      Together with the arabs of the Pelourinho, the oldest neighborhood of Salvador, he learned the arts of the business. From early on he had to start the adventures of life. His father, master-stoneman, died when he was seven years old; to his wife, a bahian woman who sold tidbits and sweets on a stand, he only left the weight of raising the children: sixteen of them. Camafeu started to help to support the house when he still had short pants: he carried meat and bananas, to earn 1 500 reis weekly. Later, he was a naval worker: he worked the whole day and, after cleaning the equipment, still had to fetch firewood and take it to the home

    • +

      page 5

      Glories: Jorge Amado and Caymmi say that he is the greated on the berimbau

      of the master, to earn 5 thousand reis per week. To him, to stop up the ships is the worst profession in the world.

      - I've never seen a naval worker doing well with life. I knew many: Mestre Virgílio, Mestre Isaías, Mestre Ovídio, Mestre Gororó. All died poor. I know what this is like. My master had a rule: when I messed up, I got a beating.

      And not only from the master did he get a rap on the head. Flustered with earning on her stand, without being able to look after the sixteen children, the black bahian woman warned her neighbors: "If you see this boy causing trouble, you can hit him". The boy, Camafeu was thrashed around without knowing by whom. But the lesson was learned: he was always bold, since childhood making friends in Pelourinho and in Maciel to go and quarrel with other boys in Tororó; he was even respected by the terrible sand captains, the child thieves spread around. A little boy, he got to know all the rodas of double-dealing. He was not a malandro, but knew how to defend himself, playing capoeira or making use of his fists: he was an amateur boxer.

      - Yes, I had time for everything.

      Toughened up by the suffering, Camafeu didn't cry near the destroyed Market. He kept it strong, consoled the inconsolables. Later on, alone with his friend Othello Tornin, the black Camafeu crossed his arms on the table of the restaurant Continental, held the head and cried like a child who loses his toy.

      At night, on the docks, his back turned to the warm ashes of Modêlo Market, the black Camafeu sang for hours and hours. With his guttural voice, the verses of samba de roda filled the Bahian night.

      „I went to sleap rich,
      Woke up poor…“

      The anguish burns like pepper

      Now it's the melancholy of the new market, the Popular, installed in an old scrap metal yard made in a hurry to receive the nearly two hundred tent vendors. The place is far from the center, nobody knows it, the Market doesn't have that joy of the Cairu Square any more. The sales have gone down.

      - Hm… Here? The sales don't reach not even 10 percent of what they were in Modêlo Market - says Mr Nenen, one of the despaired ones.

      For twenty days, Camafeu stayed still, without money. What saved him was the help from Jorge Amado and Carybé. He could then start the business again: he bought goods and spread them on the sidewalk of the Alfândega Square. Almost thirty years later, the black Camafeu became a peddler again. He and others, such as Mr Nenen.

      - With all these children, can I stop? Can I?

      In the beginning there were some who wanted to return to the Cairu Square. It was possible to reconstruct the Market in the same place. Many hoped for an heroic gesture from Camafeu de Oxóssi, wanted from him the magnetism of a leadership. The journalist Vasconcelos Maia, ex-parliamentary of the state, complains that the new market is so far away. Slim, with more white hair than he should have with his 46 years ("these are the signs of many battles"), Vasconcelos thinks that right after the fire there was a psychological climate - such was the popular commotion - to reconstruct the Market on the spot. Even the State would gain with this: the Modêlo Market was a place of tourist attraction, a source of revenue for Bahia.

      - If Camafeu had appealed to the mayor, I guarantee that the Market would have not left this place. And it wouldn't have taken much effort: the outer walls stayed standing.

      Camafeu didn't want to be or he can't be a leader? He tried to do some thing, there in the old Modêlo Market. He thought to establish an association of vendors, he started to speak to some of them. Almost all were sluggish. He gave up:

      - Each to their own, God for all of us.

      Valdemar Bôca-do-Mundo, a fifty-year-old but full of energy, doesn't conform to this indolence, he waits the whole day for the buyers who don't come.

      - You want to know a thing, Camafa? 98 percent here are some boys... Nobody wants anything. We could reunite the people, vendors, women, boys, the devil, and go to the mayor to explain the situation, to ask for a solution. But nobody wants anything! You know why?

      Because there on the Market, says Valdemar Bôca-do-Mundo, "there are many people with a full stomach". And start to count the examples on his fingers. There was one who lost 540 bucks on one day, all know that they place dominos for 10 bucks a game. Another day, three buses full of tourists arrived, and no vendor wanted to move the car so that the bus could stop. It looked like no-one needed the shoppers. About the fire, Valdemar Bôca-do-Mundo tells the practical things:

      - Lets say the new building costs 1 billion. There's about a hundred of us. Who here cannot give 10 million to share the costs?

      The Black Camafeu is in the "office", a bar next to the Market, having a beer. He hears Bôca-do-Mundo, smiles, but doesn't say neither yes or no. Ten thousand new cruzeiros...

      Who knows about Camafeu's situation is his wife, Dona Toninha, a beautiful dark-skinned woman, teeth so white they look like pearls, about twenty years younger than he is. After the fire, the creditors delayed the time limits, but now the deeds are due. At night, Camafeu talks in his sleep, gets up, is always quiet. Dona Toninha knows the reason:

      - The worry with the debts to pay sting like pepper.

      Who talks yoruba in Bahia?

      Besides the São Jorge Tent, Camafeu has another one. There is a yoruban inscription, with capital letters, with a fine stroke, well designed: "Ílè qdará ní-pwpq bábà Miòsossi qbá Kétw". He translate what is says: "A very good house of my father Oxóssi, king of the Ketu nation".

      Camafeu took part of the yoruba course that was promoted by the Center of Afro-Oriental Studies of the University of Bahia, that hired a nigerian teacher for, Benese Lasebikan de Tundê, for this means. During four years, from 1961 to 1964, Camafeu went to the classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays; in the end of the course received a diploma, consumed by the fire of the Modêlo Market.

      - The language is tonal, I had a good ear, it was easy to learn - says Camafeu.

      The ethnologist Waldeloir Rêgo, author of a scholarly book about capoeira (Capoeira Angola, Editôra Itapoã, Salvador, 1968), tells that he also matriculated to this course, but gave up after first lessons, doubting the teacher's knowledge. He thinks he didn't lose anything, but saved time. Waldeloir is a light mulatto, tall and elegant. He is 37 years old, but everybody give him 27 maximum. According to Jorge Amado he is presented to outsiders like this:

      - This is the guy who knows the most about candomblé here in Bahia.

      Waldeloir says there's a lot of confusion when it comes to using yoruba in the bahian rites:

      - Here, in Bahia, nobody, absolutely nobody, talks yoruba correctly. When many of the people know only the orikis or the greetings, which are necessarily short.

      But Camafeu says that learning yoruba on that course was of great importance for him on the I International Festival of Black Arts, that took place in Dacar, Senegal, in 1966, with the participation of 33 countries. He was there with a bahian delegation group, together with the saints-mother Olga de Ala-Ketu and capoeira masters, such as Pastinha, Gato and João Grande, among others. Thanks to knowing yoruba, he could talk to the nigerian delegation. And more: the songs and rhythms that he presented, with his capoeira group, reached the africans' senses more than the ones sung by Ataulfo Alves and Elizeth Cardoso, for example, that were also a part of the delegation.

      - Ataulfo Alves, who later suggested to record an LP together, his songs on one side, mine on the other, was only pleased when he sang his batuque Pai Joaquim d’Angola. This the creoles there understood.

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      page 6

      Camafeu plays the berimbau, pandeiro, agogô (a metal instrument with two bells of different sounds, which you hit with a metal stick also), atabaque, reco-reco, plate, spoon, box of matches.

      - With a berimbau in his hands, nobody is better than Camafeu de Oxóssi - says the composer Dorival Caymmi.

      - The greatest berimbau player in Bahia is Mestre Gato - says the scholar Waldeloir Rêgo.

      Nor god, nor genius

      Camafeu de Oxóssi lived the biggest moment as composer and singer in the Festival of Black Arts in Dacar. After the first presentations, he was invited to give an extra show, to Olga de Ala-Ketu dance. In one of the exhibitions, on the Friendship Stadium, he was heard and applauded by 10 thousand people.

      As an artist, however, he had more suffering than glory. For the first LP, recorded in 1964 in Continental, he didn't get anything. What's worse: another recording studio, Musidisc, re-edited the same material, and didn't ask for his authorization nor paid him a dime. For the second LP, edited by Philips, Camafeu was happier: he received 130 new cruzeiros. Many times he showed the Continental his interest to receive something, because "the situation is not to be understood". Facing his insistence, the sent him a message from São Paulo:

      - The best is for him to come and discuss this personally.

      The artistic quality of the LPs didn't satisfy Camafeu either. On one of the recordings, made "raw", as he says, the technicians came to Salvador on Thursday, recorded on Friday and left on Saturday.

      - It's bad, brother - he complains.

      - No, Mr Camafeu, it's very good.

      - See, the choir is weak, we could do better.

      - No, Mr Camafeu. You can leave it as is, because it'll be great.

      On the second LP (Philips 632916-L, 1968), Camafeu recorded ten tracks, with three of his own songs and seven of public domain: candomblé songs, samda de roda, accompanied by berimbau, atabaque and the choir. The disc's importance, however, is not so much in Camafeu's compositions, but mainly in the fact that he and his companions had collected songs of the Bahian people.

      In his unconditional admiration for Camafeu, the Professor Othello Tornin praised the compositor's gifts of the friend. Camafeu improvises verses to play with the companions of the Market, the Professor Othello hurries to suggest him that he would note down the lyrics, so that these fruits of sudden inspiration wouldn't get lost. In reality, Camafeu only wants to have fun.

      Who demands more from Camafeu, at the back, is waiting for a miracle. Because he didn't have any school other than life: he went only to the first year in the School of the Master Craftsmen, a public college. For the second year, there were no free places: when the mother had some time to look for the school for the boy, from her work as a sweet-seller, the time limit to matriculate had already passed. And for the family, in the end, Para o segundo ano, não encontrou vaga: quando a mãe dispôs de um tempinho para cuidar da escola do garôto, em sua faina de doceira, já se havia esgotado o prazo para as matrículas. E para a família, no fim de contas,

      Photo: Berimbaus, atabaques, saint images, baubles, hammocks: The synthesis of Bahia in his tent, a [..] of Camafeu, who ended up making international fame on the Modêlo Market.
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      page 7

      Among legends and glories, Camafeu doesn't sleep: debts

      it was better that the little Ápio deliver meat and bananas, gaining some money, instead of going to the school.

      In the same school now studys Camafeu's adopted son. Chico, a dark-skinned boy of fifteen years, son of his friend Chico da Gameleira, as Camafeu calls him. He is in the third gymnasium year. The step-father would like he to continue the studies and cries thinking about the boy's future:

      - I don't want him to go through what I've gone through.

      This routine: the despair

      Saturday morning, Camafeu de Oxóssi is dressed in all white. Today there's the pilgrimage to the Church of Bonfim. The folks of his candomblé shrine, the Axé Opô Afonjá, one of the most famous of the city, will make their prayers. It's a miracle of religious mixture of this fascinating Bahia: the feast period of african sect ends with praying in a catholic temple.

      Worrying when opening first the tent, leaving Chico of the Chico da Gameleira taking care of business, Camafeu de Oxóssi was late, he didn't find anybody in the church any more. But he's going to the Axé, a neighborhood far away, to beg a pardon from the ialorixá, Mãe Ondina, a fat black woman, with big eyes on the well-preserved face, the appearance of a landlady, but sweet in her saints-mother's chair. Camafeu also couldn't go, two days earlier, to the offering to Iemanjá, in the waters of the bay of All the Saints. He is obá de Xangô, a post of honour in the cult,

      A man without ambition, wants to try to forget his problems in the tide, navegating on the Oxóssi the Warrior, his old motor boat.

      but he's relaxed in his obligations. „Mãezinha“, as they treat her, is lenient: she knows Camafeu well, and knows that he is like that, a little loose. But she wants to consult with him about a problem with the shrine.

      - São Jerônimo will recarnate. Do you know somebody you can trust for the job?

      Mãezinha is saying that the image of São Jerônimo has gotten bad with time, and needs to be reformed. Camafeu promises to take care of this.

      - I do. It's Aluísio, there in the Pelourinho. I will talk to him.

      Camafeu had other reasons he was late. When he was going to leave the Market, he had gotten into a discussion about the ever-present topic: the indolence of the business. Mr Barroso, the owner of the tent next to him, even had a meeting:

      - I'm not talking about myself only. After the fire I set up my business outside, I don't need this here. With my two tents, four employees to pay, a week's income is this: 40 new cruzeiros. And the ones that depend on this as a living?

      - Coming back from Axé, Camafeu finds the same exasperation. Now the one to shout is Valdomiro, a tall man, fat, a giant, a bahian with abaric blood. He reproves the tent-vendors' passivity, says that will go alone to the mayor "to say a few things" about the problem. He's face is red, and he holds his little son by the hand.

      - Sixty seven new cruzeiros a week! Can anybody live with an income like this? And me, who has seventeen mouths to feed?

      Camafeu comes in silence, he hears everything from his tent. And inquires from Chico of the Chico da Gameleira how much was the income during the four hours he was away. The boy hands him the two notes:

      - Two cruzeiros.

      Who knows Camafeu de Oxóssi?

      The brazilian film maker Rui Polanah wants to make a film about Bahia. He gathered information, searched for sources, knocked on Itamarati's door, wanting to know which people he should look for in Salvador. In the Cultural Division they gave him a single advice:

      - Look for Camafeu de Oxóssi.

      Camá, Camafa, Camafeu, Camafeu de Oxóssi: a man who's a victim of a misconception, transforming him into a myth, he who only thinks about surviving at the misfortune that he encounters as a simple man. A simple man who's praised by many and few know. Not even Mr Naim, who "was born at the Market" and who knows everything that happens there. Mr Naim says this:

      - I never saw Camafeu crying.

      The only one who knows the real Camafeu de Oxóssi is Dona Toninha, the girl whom he was looking for in the little town of São Gonçalo dos Campos, to make her his wife, friend and companion. She knows about Camafeu's wish to rebuild the house, bought with the sacrifice when the old Market was still there. About his sleepless nights, the mass of creditors shadowing his nights. About his escape on the motor boat called Oxóssi the Warrior, which he puts to the sea to get away from his problems. About this pride, about the loftiness with which he refuses to turn to his brotherly and outgoing friends like Jorge Amado and Carybé.

      She knows about his lacking ambition, about the fatalism with which he faces the life, since the Modêlo Market's funeral. About the fear that he has of dying suddenly, after seeing, one by one, his mother and all his brothers dying. She knows about the conformity of Ápio Patrocínio da Conceição, the simple man who's inside Camafeu de Oxóssi, the millionaire by fame only.

      - I have no fantasies, Toinha. I'm a realist, I do what I have to.

      - You are very resigned, Ápio. We need to face the things.

      A sunny Sunday, there goes the black Camafeu de Oxóssi on his boat, the battle warrior, tired of battle.

      THE END


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