Based in West Oakland, Maracatu Pacífico is a community-based performance group that brings Afro-Brazilian maracatu music and dance from Northeastern Brazil to the SF Bay Area.
Maracatu is a popular folkloric tradition from the area around Recife in Pernambuco, Brazil, with roots going back to the colonial era and the heritage of the enslaved Africans. Today, many maracatu nações (“nations”) continue this tradition, acting as musical and religious centers for communities of color. In addition, due to resurgence in popularity of, and interest in, maracatu, many non-traditional groups have sprung up bringing the opportunity to play maracatu to more and more people. Maracatu continues to grow, spreading out to other cities in Brazil and across the world.
We use the traditional instruments of Maracatu: the alfaia (rope-tuned bass drum), gonguê (bell), abê (shekerê), and caixa (snare drum). Our dancers perform traditional Maracatu movements.
Maracatu Pacífico draws its inspiration from both traditional Maracatu Nações (especially Estrela Brilhante do Recife and Maracatu Leão Coroado), and more modern, non-traditional maracatu groups like Maracatu Badia and Maracatu Nação Pernambuco. We owe great thanks to these groups (and their mestres) for keeping this rich and powerful culture alive and for their inspiration, teaching, and example, especially to Pitoco de Aira of Estrela Brilhante and Nininho of Maracatu Badia for traveling here to teach us. Maracatu Pacífico strives to maintain the utmost respect for this culture, and we constantly work to deepen our understanding and improve our practice.
Maracatu Pacífico was founded in late 2012 under the leadership of director Eric Hoffman, with an emphasis on community and personal development through the study and performance of maracatu. Before that some of us played in Bateria Lucha/Maracatu Luta under director Derek Wright before that group disbanded in late 2012. Our community is a diverse group united by our passion for this music.