Re-enactments of slavery folk tale reflect grim realities in Brazil
Jack Chang writes in McClatchy:
About 250 groups in all perform bumba-meu-boi around Maranhao, with hundreds more re-enacting the tale across a swath of the Brazilian north.
That the festivals are most popular in Maranhao is no coincidence, de Carvalho said.
Social rebellion and institutional violence resonate in a state where the average wage is about $200 a month, the lowest in Brazil. Many in Maranhao’s parched interior barely survive by subsistence farming on land often controlled by powerful families.
For decades, governments cracked down on the performances, which were considered subversive.
“The drama of the story is always about the struggle between the dominators and the dominated,” de Carvalho said. “It’s a fight for land and a fight between the classes.”