Words by Joao Cabral de Melo Neto
Music by Chice Buarque da Holanda
In 1905 at the Catholic, University, Sac Paulo, a semi-professiorial group staged a dramatic version of Joao Cabral de, Melo Neto's long dramatic poem, Morte e Vida Severia(Death and Life of Severino) with certain sections of the Poem set to music by the popular songwriter and singer. Chico Buarqueda Hoanda . The previous year, a military junta had taken power in Brazil. Civil rights had been restricted and censorship enforced. All protest had to be indirect. This is the context within which Morle e Yida Severina enjoyed overwhelming success...
It is today recognised as one of the landmarks in the history of Brazilian theatre, showing audiences the hardship of the rural migrants in the Nordeste. the northeast region of Brazil with their problems of infertile land, droughts, lack of irrigation, illiteracy; and an oppressive feudal landowning ,system.
The Nordeste was the first region of Brazil to be settled by the Portuguese, and up until the mid-nineteenth century was the main sugar producing region. However, sugar cane production proved more profitable in the State of Sao Paulo, leading to the decline of this industry and source of income in the Nordeste. Nowadays migration from the interior of the North Eastern states to the coastal state capitals and to the big cities in the south, especially Sao Paulo has become an accepted fact of life.
The Nordest, supplies the cheap labour: the great majority of building workers and domestic servants are Nordeslinos,. a large number of favela or shanty dwellers come from this region.
Cabral's Morte e Vida Severina. performed here in translation, features the farm labourer , Severino, who leaves his drought,stricken region to seek his fortune. Severino's journey is that of so many others like him, who find obstacles in their path such as unemployment .and a disillusioning poverty gap between those who have and have not.
These two Clonasalee performances by the C1odiagh Players are directed, and produced by Fr.Tom O'Reilly ,parish priest of Clonaslee. The music is directed by Arthur Sealy, music teacher at Mountmellick Community School.
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