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Manuela Nascimento



I was born in 1986 in Santo Antônio de Jesus, a city located in the Recôncavo South of Bahia, approximately 187 km from the state capital Salvador. Recôncavo is the name given to the region that surrounds the Bay of All Saints and the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia. This territory, since the beginnings of the formation of Brazil, was characterized by great economic production and cultural life, considerably marked by the great influence of the black population, prevalent in the region. It was in this region that I was born and raised.

I am a professor of history with a Master Degree in Regional and Local History, having graduated from the University of the State of Bahia (UNEB), a university that as Gilberto Gil says, gave me a “ruler and compass.”     It was there that I learned to be a black feminist woman who understands that without challenging racism, machismo and all the oppressions that surround us, we will not be able to build a just and democratic society. And the classroom, writing and research are the tools I have chosen to amplify these ideals.

I developed research and textual productions in the master degree program that are related to the life histories of the black populations and their afro-religious experiences. It was with these research projects on life experiences and resistances that I started out with Juci Reis, a production partner and friend since university days, and which resulted in Africadeus: The Repercussion of Black Music. In 2013, I was invited to participate as   a researcher on the Africadeus project, produced by Juci Reis, which resulted in the first release in Brazil of the first album by the Afro-Brazilian percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Naná Vasconcelos, which until then had only been released in France. We were contemplated for the FUNARTE Arte Negra prize and we began this journey of echoing the ancestral sound of black Brazilian music that sublimely translates all our history and memory in Brazil and in the world.

I researched and wrote the text. Black music in Brazil is the reference that denotes a new meaning of black music: “organic forms and the ancestral relation” and how that transcends the concepts of harmony and melody. This can be noticed in similar processes made by Afro-American and Afro-Caribbean musicians, giving rise to styles such as jazz, blues, danzón, guaracha, and the incorporation of marimba or dimba (kimbundu),   an instrument of African origin, already in existence for hundreds of years. And that in the sixteenth century, intercultural exchange led the marimba to the Americas, where it was adapted and is now part of the music of several countries, especially Guatemala, the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas in southern Mexico, and Nicaragua.