Tânia Arrabal

People - Cabo Frio


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Local personalities are paid tribute with the dolls. Photo: Isabela Kassow/Diadorim Ideias
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Tânia Arrabal makes the costumes, and, together with a team of artisans, also the 40 dolls carried in the "Brincareta" parade during carnival. The parade was created in 1999, inspired on the "cordões de frevo" of Olinda, capital of Recife state. The cordões are parades in which frevo (an instrumental musical style in fast tempo with trumpets, trombones, saxophones and tuba) is the music of choice. In Cabo Frio, the same dolls are given new life, depicting illustrious and folkloric local personalities.

"We make the figures with a front and a profile photo of the person as references", says Tânia. The rule of the Brincareta is to pay tribute to deceased personalities only. "Sometimes, the entire family comes to give their approval of the figure. And it has to be identical, or they will say 'it looks nothing like my dad'. When the day of the parade arrives, instead of celebrating carnival, the family members cry" says, humorously, Tânia.

Each figure is three meters tall, has 80 centimeters of diameter and weighs 15 kilos, taking 20 days of work to be made. "For the clothes only, we use about 200 meters of fabric", she adds. The figures are made from styrofoam plates. "Then, they are sanded and starched. Layers of paper, plaster and paint are added afterwards", says the artisan. 

Self-taught, Tânia began making dolls because of her son "He scribbled all over a friend's doll and I had to rush into making a new one. I had a great time and haven't stopped since", she says. The doll maker also makes solo puppet and storytelling performances. But Tânia really has fun with the Brincareta and its folklore. The decision on the identity of the dolls falls on the city Mayor. Each year, the City Administration lists the requests from the families or petitions by residents. In Cabo Frio, it is said people don't die. They turn into dolls. Part of the local tradition, the Brincareta parades during all four days of carnival, each day through different streets.

General Information

Phone: (+55 22) 2647-1060
E-mail address: taniaarrabal@globo.com
Website: https://www.facebook.com/tania.arrabal

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