Tia Ciata

Last updated
Tia Ciata
Tia Ciata Minc.png
Tia Ciata, c.1900
Hilária Batista de Almeida

OccupationCook, mãe-de-santo of Candomblé
Known forEarly figure in samba
Spouse(s)João Batista da Silva

Tia Ciata, born Hilária Batista de Almeida (1854-1924) was a cook, mãe-de-santo of Candomblé, and an influential figure in the development of samba. [1] [2] She was born in Santo Amaro, Bahia, and initiated in Candomblé in Salvador by Bangboshe Obitikô (Rodolfo Martins de Andrade). She was a devotee of deity Oshun and became the iyakekerê, or second most important leader, in the terreiro of João Alabá in Rio de Janeiro. "Ciata", the name by which she is now known, is a variant on the Arabic name Aycha; it was a common feminine name among the Muslim community from Portuguese Guinea that formerly resided in Rio de Janeiro. [1]

Tia Ciata arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1876 at the age of 22 and worked as a vendor at a food stall. [2] She lived on Rua Visconde de Itauna in the neighborhood of Praça Onze (now Cidade Nova), an area which became known as "Pequena África", or Little Africa. It was here that Tia Ciata became one of the main progenitors of Afro-Brazilian culture of early favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Samba musicians, composers, and dancers regularly gathered in her home; her residence may be one of the birthplaces of the genre. [1] [2] Samba evolved in Ciata’s back yard. Here you would find future giants of the genre including Pixinguinha, João da Baiana and Heitor dos Prazeres [3] .Ciata’s yard became a trendsetting cultural hub where new samba composers and songs could find popularity before the existence of radio in Brazil. The first samba recording, Pelo Telefone , a composition by Donga (Ernesto Joaquim Maria dos Santos) and Mauro de Almeida, was recorded in the residence. Like Tia Citata, the vocalist of Pelo Telefone was from Santo Amaro, Bahia. Police persecuted Black musicians and practitioners of African-Brazilian religions, despite the individual liberties promised by the 1891 constitution. Ciata grew smart at evading repression. A true samba party would necessarily require the presence of drums, which have always been negatively associated with the African-Brazilian religious cults. So Ciata would wisely place the samba musicians in the back yards, supposedly the most hidden and safest part of the house. In the entrance hall, the house’s most visible and audible space, brass and string instrumentalists would be playing ‘choro’ music – considered more erudite, and hardly linked to anything close to ‘Black magic’. When the police came, Ciata would say she was hosting a choro gathering and things would normally be fine for the rest of the night. [4] Ciata’s parties gained legitimacy thanks to a chance encounter with the president. As a practitioner of the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé, she was highly respected for her spiritual wisdom. When President Venceslau Brás (1914-1918) sought a cure for a long-term leg infection that no doctor could treat, an adviser recommended Ciata’s herbal treatments. [5]

She married João Batista da Silva, and had fourteen children. The couple became noted figures in Pequena África of Rio, and Tia Ciata was honored annually at the Rio Carnival until her death in Rio de Janeiro in 1924. [1]

Related Research Articles

Samba Brazilian musical genre

Samba, also known as samba urbano carioca or simply samba carioca is a Brazilian music genre that originated in the Afro-Brazilian communities of Rio de Janeiro in the early 20th century. Having its roots in Brazilian folk traditions, especially those linked to the primitive rural samba of the colonial and imperial periods, is considered one of the most important cultural phenomena in Brazil and one of the country symbols. Present in the Portuguese language at least since the 19th century, the word "samba" was originally used to designate a "popular dance". Over time, its meaning has been extended to a "batuque-like circle dance", a dance style, and also to a "music genre". This process of establishing itself as a musical genre began in the 1910s and it had its inaugural landmark in the song "Pelo Telefone", launched in 1917. Despite being identified by its creators, the public, and the Brazilian music industry as "samba", this pioneering style was much more connected from the rhythmic and instrumental point of view to maxixe than to samba itself.

Music of Brazil Music and musical traditions of Brazil

The music of Brazil encompasses various regional musical styles influenced by African, American, European and Amerindian forms. Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles such as forró, repente, coco de roda, axé, sertanejo, samba, bossa nova, MPB, música nativista, pagode, tropicália, choro, maracatu, embolada, frevo, brega, Brazilian funk, modinha and Brazilian versions of foreign musical styles, such as rock, soul, hip-hop, disco music, country music, ambient, industrial and psychedelic music, rap, classical music, fado, and gospel.

Jorge Amado Brazilian writer (1912–2001)

Jorge Leal Amado de Faria was a Brazilian writer of the modernist school. He remains the best known of modern Brazilian writers, with his work having been translated into some 49 languages and popularized in film, notably Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands in 1976. His work reflects the image of a Mestiço Brazil and is marked by religious syncretism. He depicted a cheerful and optimistic country that was beset, at the same time, with deep social and economic differences.

Samba (Brazilian dance)

Samba is a lively dance of Afro-Brazilian origin in 2/4(2 by 4) time danced to samba music whose origins include the Maxixe.

Chiquinha Gonzaga

Francisca Edwiges Neves Gonzaga, better known as Chiquinha Gonzaga was a Brazilian composer, pianist and the first woman conductor in Brazil.

Axé (music)

Axé is a popular music genre originated in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in the 1980s, fusing different Afro-Caribbean genres, such as marcha, reggae, and calypso. It also includes influences of Brazilian music such as frevo, forró and carixada. The word Axé comes from the Yoruba term àṣẹ, meaning “soul, light, spirit or good vibrations”. Axé is also present in the Candomblé religion, as “the imagined spiritual power and energy bestowed upon practitioners by the pantheon of orixás”.

Brazilian Carnival Annual festival in Brazil

The Carnival of Brazil is an annual Brazilian festival held the Friday afternoon before Ash Wednesday at noon, which marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period before Easter. During Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term "carnival", from carnelevare, "to remove meat."

<i>Black Orpheus</i> 1959 film by Marcel Camus

Black Orpheus is a 1959 romantic tragedy film made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus and starring Marpessa Dawn and Breno Mello. It is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is itself an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. The film was an international co-production among production companies in Brazil, France and Italy.

Maria Bethânia Musical artist

Maria Bethânia Viana Teles Veloso is a Brazilian singer and songwriter. Born in Santo Amaro, Bahia, she started her career in Rio de Janeiro in 1964 with the show "Opinião" ("Opinion"). Due to its popularity, with performances all over the country, and the popularity of her 1965 single "Carcará", the artist became a star in Brazil.

Elza Soares Musical artist

Elza da Conceição Soares, known professionally as Elza Soares is a Brazilian samba singer. In 1999, she was named Singer of the Millennium along with Tina Turner by BBC Radio.

Samba-reggae is a music genre from Bahia, Brazil. Samba reggae, as its name suggests, was originally derived as a blend of Brazilian samba with Jamaican reggae as typified by Bob Marley.

Nei Lopes

Nei Braz Lopes is a singer, composer, lawyer, writer and historian, working primarily with the Brazilian genre of samba and African-Brazilian studies.

Raymundo Sodré

Raymundo Nonato Sodré, is a Brazilian musician known for working in rootsy styles of music outside of the mainstream. He was raised by his mother, filha-de-santo in a terreiro of candomblé Angola outside of Ipirá run by her mãe-de-santo sister. It was in this house of candomblé that Sodré learned to drum. He later learned to play guitar, taught at first by his mother.

Clementina de Jesus Musical artist

Clementina de Jesus was a Brazilian samba singer born in Valença, Brazil.

Pedra do Sal

Pedra do Sal is a historic and religious site in Rio de Janeiro, in the neighborhood of Saúde. The site was originally a quilombo village. An association group still lives there, formally known as the Community Descendents of the Quilombos of Pedra do Sal. The site was recognised in 1984 by INEPAC, the Institute for State Cultural Heritage.

Mercedes Baptista

Mercedes Ignácia da Silva Krieger, known as Mercedes Batista or Mercedes Baptista was a Brazilian ballet dancer and choreographer, the first black woman to join Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro's corps de ballet.

Heitor dos Prazeres Musical artist

Heitor dos Prazeres was an Afro-Brazilian composer, singer and painter. He was a pioneer samba composer and participated in the first samba schools in Brazil. Later in life he became known by his paintings.

Candeia Brazilian singer, composer, and musician

Antônio Candeia Filho better known as Candeia was a Brazilian samba singer, songwriter, and musician.

Donga (musician) Brazilian musician 1890 - 1974

Ernesto Joaquim Maria dos Santos, most known as Donga, was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. He composed what is considered the first recorded samba, the 1916 song Pelo Telefone.

Neuma Gonçalves da Silva was a Brazilian samba dancer. She began dancing samba in a small group at age seven and was president of the Mangueira samba school for multiple terms, establishing the institution's children's and female's wings. Neuma housed several temporarily homeless people, and took some students to her home to learn to read and write through a literacy programme featuring local swear words invented by her. She was a member of the Superior Council of the Samba Schools throughout the 1960s and performed on four albums. A 2001 song about Neuma was written by the composer Arlindo Cruz and a overpass and school were named after her.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Lopes, Nei (2015). Dicionário escolar afro-brasileiro. São Paulo: Selo Negro. p. 162. ISBN   9788587478955.
  2. 1 2 3 Penglase, Ben (2016). "Tia Ciata". Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (2nd ed.). Oxford African American Studies Center.
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/feb/17/her-name-is-rio-aunt-ciata-the-guardian-of-samba-who-created-carnival-culture
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/feb/17/her-name-is-rio-aunt-ciata-the-guardian-of-samba-who-created-carnival-culture
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/feb/17/her-name-is-rio-aunt-ciata-the-guardian-of-samba-who-created-carnival-culture