Meet the Masters 2019 – Mestre Toinho & Mestre Jamesson

In June 2019 Juba do Leão welcomed Mestre Toinho and Mestre Jamesson all the way from Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil.

This unique session was an opportunity to play with two delightful characters and masters from the Maracatu tradition and ask questions.

About the masters:

Mestre Toinho:

Antônio Pereira de Souza, known as Mestre Toinho, is the oldest living Maracatu Nação Mestre. He is currently the oldest active maracatuzeiro, possesses the greatest living repertoire of toadas (songs) of Maracatu Nação, besides being one of the only ones to perform the same style of baque (type of Maracatu beat) used by Mestre Luiz de França, heir to the knowledge and batuques of Leão Coroado, with whom he had a long experience. He has participated in Maracatu since he was young, counting more than 50 years of performance in the Maracatus. He met Dona Santa, the renowned queen of Maracatu Elefante, who died in 1962.

He was part of the former Maracatu Nação Cambinda Estrela, also worked in Maracatu Indiano, Maracatu Estrela Brilhante, Centro Grande Leão Coroado, Elefante, Maracatu Encanto da Alegria, and currently, is part of the Maracatu Nação Baque Forte. Mestre Toinho’s approach has a particular style, drawing on the course of his experience of batuque. The drummers who have, or have had, the chance to learn with Mestre Toinho, unanimously affirm that to play with him is to be in touch with what is most traditional in the culture of Baque Virado.

Mestre Jamesson Florentino:

Mestre Jamesson Florentino is teacher, craftsman and articulator of Maracatu Nação Baque Forte. A Maracatuzeiro from his youth, he acted as batuqueiro of Maracatu Nação de Luanda, Mestre Roberto, Maracatu Cabeça de Nêgo, Mestre Maureliano Barravento, and Maracatu Nação Cambinda Estrela. He was Mestre of Maracatu Leão da Campina and performs activities as a craftsman in the making of drums and other Maracatu instruments and in the production of skins and accessories.

One of the founders of the Maracatu Nação Baque Forte, he develops works related to education, culture and professional formation within the young Nação group, founded in 2011, with the intention of maintaining what is more traditional through the knowledge acquired with the Maracatus of the past and in coexistence with the Mestre Toinho. The union of Mestre Toinho’s vast experiences and knowledge with the active work of enriching the everyday community, imbued with the underlying meanings the practice of Maracatu as an activity of resistance by Mestre Jamesson, results in a rich meeting of both modern and timeless ways of making the Maracatu de Baque Virado.

Film by: John Grey
Translation: Juliana Pinheiro Landim & Holly Prest

Thanks: Jubacana, Juliana Pinheiro Landim, Katumba, Oldham Arts Development, Maracatu Nação Baque Forte, Timon Thalwitzer.