top of page

New Issue | America Series – Art – Forró

About the Souvenir Sheet

Songs are short stories told in 3 or 4 minutes. Through the idea of “Forrobodó”, the meanings of both dance and commotion were present in the conception of the block, showing stories that can be told and sung. The Northeast region theme is intrinsic to forró and in the souvenir sheet it appears with several elements, such as the mountain range that houses the forró under its feet, the starry sky - referring to the constellations of the Brazilian national flag, the São Francisco River, the Sertão (dry country side) and its cacti, among others. It also reaches the Southeast, having Dunas of Itaúnas/ES as a new pole of forró. On the stamp, the “classic” trio – the zabumba (drum), the triangle and the accordion–keeps the forrobodó lit, both the music and the commotion. An aesthetic of more rustic features inspired by woodcut works was sought. The technique used was vectorial illustration.


Intangible Cultural Heritage of Brazil

On September 6, 2005, the law that created the National Day of Forró was sanctioned. December 13 was the date chosen to honor Forró, the same day that marks the birth of the King of Baião, Luiz "Lua" (moon) Gonzaga (1912- 1989), responsible for disseminating this musical genre that, since 2021, has become Brazil’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Forró is classified as a musical super-genre, since it brings together the xote, the xaxado, the baião, the arrasta-pé/pé-de-serra, having as an instrumental base the accordion (eight basses), the triangle and the zabumba.

There are disagreements among scholars in the area about the origin of the term “Forró”. Two lines of research are presented etymologically: the first, coming from the word “forrobodó”, which according to the Aurelio dictionary means “drag-foot; spree; mockery; confusion; disorder”, is much defended by academics. The second, affixes to English words “for all “(which in Portuguese means: “for everyone”), more popular among forrozeiros (Forró enthusiasts) and musicians, even well accepted by Luiz Gonzaga.

However, without historical proof, the second theory states that British engineers, settled in the Pernambuco region during the construction of the railway network, administered by the company The Great Western of Brazil Railway Company Limited, used to promote parties open to the public and the term “for all” printed on their invitations and posters soon became the expression “Forró “ pronounced in the northeastern accent.

As for the first term, the Enciclopédia da Música Brasileira (Brazilian Music Encyclopedia) states that the word “Forró” was already used well before for all”, still in the second half of the 19th century, including with registration in 1899, for the first time, in a dictionary, strengthening the idea of the origin in forrobodó. In 1911, the word named a operetta of Chiquinha Gonzaga with its debut in Rio de Janeiro. The grammarian Evanildo Bechara states that the expression forrobodó comes from the Galician forbodó, “popular dance”, which in turn, derives from the French faux-bourdon.

The lively Forró dances of that time were held in places of barren earth, on the ground itself, and to avoid raising so much dust, while dancing, the ground was wet before the party began, in addition to the couples dancing dragging their feet, in the famous “left-left, right-right” foot step. Thus, the forró dance soon became known as “Rastapé” or “Arrasta-pé” (drag-foot).

But it was in the 1950s with the successes “Forró De Mané Vito” (Luiz Gonzaga/Zé Dantas) and “Forró no Escuro” (Luiz Gonzaga), that the singer and composer Luiz Gonzaga introduced the word Forró into the world of music, thus in fact beginning to be used.

The lyrics spoke of the way of life of the sertanejo man, portraying the habits, customs, joys and sorrows, difficulties, loves and heartbreak, memories and longing for the northeastern land, or the North, as it was called at the time. This is considered the first phase, and names such as Jackson do Pandeiro, Marinês, Dominguinhos and Sivuca followed in the footsteps of the King of Baião Luiz Gonzaga.

Artists such as Alceu Valença, Geraldo Azevedo, Elba Ramalho, Zé Ramalho, Gilberto Gil, and Nando Cordel, mixing the rhythms of Pop Rock with traditional Forró, in mid-1975, promoted the transition to the second phase, that of the Forró Universitário that inserted new instruments such as electric guitar and counter bass, opening spaces for regional artists such as Alcimar Monteiro, Petrúcio Amorim and Jorge De Altinho.

In the third phase, the Electronic Forró of the 1990s, presented a more stylized rhythm, merging the Forró with the Romantic Sertanejo style. The accordion, the triangle and the zabumba gave way to the electronic organ, the drums and other instruments that form a band composed of diverse members, including musicians, performers and dancers.

Bands such as Mastruz com leite, Magnificos, Calcinha Preta, Aviões do Forró and many others represent this phase that achieved several successes throughout the country.

Regardless of the phases, Forró lives its peak during the June celebrations in cities such as Campina Grande/PB and Caruaru/PE, the latter, known as the Capital of Forró. Both cities promote mega parties, which last an average of 30 days, of intense forró, spread over several poles that animate the forrozeiros, offering the Forró in all its phases.

But, when it comes to Forró, it cannot be denied that the rhythm infects all Brazilian states, from North to South, from pé-de-serra to the electronic style.

Through the issuance of this special souvenir sheet, Correios pays tribute to this important Brazilian musical genre, an important part of the history of music in our country and especially in our Northeast.

George Pereira


Technical Details

Stamp issue N. 20

Art: Daniel Effi – Correios

Print system: offset

Paper: gummed chalky paper

Souvenir sheet with 1 stamp

Facial value: R$ 6.50

Issue: 14,000 souvenir sheets

Design area: 38 x 38mm

Stamp dimensions: 38 x 38mm

Souvenir sheet dimensions: 70 x 100mm

Perforation: 11.5 x 11.5

Date of issue: December 13th, 2022

Places of issue: Campina Grande/PB and Caruaru/PE

Printing: Brazilian Mint

Download PDF • 321KB



bottom of page