People - Vassouras


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Luis Carlos Rodrigues, known as Cacalo, 54, is the leader of the group Associação Afro Jongo Caxambu Renascer (Afro Jongo Caxambu Renascer Association). In charge of 50 members, many of them his own relatives, he is responsible for the preservation of the black culture, developing activities related to jongo (a dance and musical genre of communities of African origin), capoeira, and maculelê (an Afro-Brazilian dance) in local schools.

Cacalo started the group in 1998, when he discovered, almost by accident, a cultural heritage within his family: his paternal grandfather, "a big old 2.10-meter-tall black man named Waldemar Grande", was a talented jongo dancer.

Cacalo. Photo: Isabela Kassow / Diadorim Ideias

Wrongfully imprisoned for stealing a radio, he asked a jailer for a can of sausage and cut his own belly. "I found out about this tragedy from a stranger. With the suicide, my father had no strength to continue the tradition, but gave me the necessary information", explains Cacalo. His father, José Rodrigues dos Santos, was the president of a major samba school in Vassouras,the extinct Unidos do Parque Mello Afonso, and set up a Umbanda Center that has been active for 40 years.

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Address: Vassouras - RJ
Phone: (+55 24) 99249-0930

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