Prologue(Senzala.1The Maroons, at ease around a fire,2 listen to the mysterious sounds of the forest. Night. The freedom cry of Zumbi, heard from far away, overwhelms the sounds of nature. The confraternity confabulates: the memory of the Hero, already a legend, is for them a reason to believe in freedom. An old Maroon, the storyteller, explains to the young ones the meaning of Zumbi’s voice, accompanied in his narration by a musical base of belly berimbaus (four players) and a tambourine. Accompanying the narrator is a chorus of three women and three men.)among the malungos4 of his faction.
MALE CHORUS: He was a god and a wise man
He was a chief and a King.
NARRATOR: He was highly reputed
among the malungos of his faction.
ENTIRE CHORUS: He was a commander and a King.
NARRATOR: In his quilombo there were
Maroons from different clans.
There were good ones and bad ones
loyal ones and traitors.
FEMALE CHORUS: Maroons from different clans
were there in his quilombo.
ENTIRE CHORUS: There were traitors too.
NARRATOR: Selected by the gods
to help his siblings
he was able to follow the orders
to accomplish his mission.
MALE CHORUS: Selected by the gods
to help his brothers.
FEMALE VOICE: He was able to follow the orders
NARRATOR: They believe he came from the Congo.
Some believe he came from Guinea.FEMALE CHORUS: Sent by Olorum5
Some believe he came from Guinea.
NARRATOR: They believe he came from Congo.NARRATOR: Kosi abá6 Olorum!
That’s the great salutation.
FEMALE CHORUS: As great Governor and Judge
Zumbi revealed himself.
ENTIRE CHORUS: With justice and freedom.
FEMALE VOICE: With justice and freedom.
NARRATOR: In Zumbi’s justice
There was no racial hatred.
MALE CHORUS: Just the right to live
NARRATOR: There was no racial hatredIn Zumbi’s justice.
NARRATOR: Wherever he appeared
The impossible didn’t exist.
He had the calm of Oxalá
He had the strength of Xangô.
FEMALE CHORUS: The impossible didn’t exist.
Wherever he appeared.
NARRATOR: He encouraged love and unity
 Senzala: Lodgings of the slaves, conceptually and materially the opposite of the casa grande (big house), where the Master lived. See Gilberto Freyre, Casa Grande & Senzala: formação da família brasileira sob o regime da economia patriarcal. Recife: Global Editora, 2003: 11-25; 164.
 Quilombo: hideout of the runaway slaves or Maroons, usually located in the forest or mountains; these were organized communities, which could also include fugitive Whites and Amerindians. Palmares was the most famous quilombo in Brazil, which developed in the colonial period, between 1605 and 1694, in a region belonging to the state of Alagoas; it seems to have reached around 30.000 inhabitants and, according to the anonymous text Relação das Guerras de Palmares (1678) was governed by the king Ganga Zumba. In 1676, after being attacked by troops led by Captain Fernão Carrilho, Ganga Zumba tried to sign a peace treaty with the Portuguese, agreeing to their proposed encroachment of their settlements and their demand that runaway slaves should be returned to them. However, Zumbi, Ganga Zumba’s nephew, refused to accept these terms and soon became a leader of the rebellion. Due to his bravery, he gained the respect of the Maroons and was elected king of the Quilombo and Ganga Zumba’s successor. See Thornton (2008), and Carneiro (1958).
 Malungo: companion, comrade. We leave this word untranslated, since it was the name that Afro-Brazilian slaves used for each other; it indicates a person of the same condition or of the same country. It derives possibly from either Kikongo “Mualungo” (in the boat) according to Câmara Cascudo (1954, pp. 540-541), or from the word “Mah’ungo,” which means neighbour.
 Kosi abá: Kosi seems to be a mistranscription of Kosè, which means “Amen;” “abá” means “old”. See José Beniste, Dicionario Yorubá-Português, (São Paulo, Bertrand Brasil, 2011). This prhase is more likely to be part of the better known “kosi oba afi Olorun,” a ritual salutation which means “there’s no other lord apart from god,” where “oba” means “King.”
 Quilombola: members of a quilombo.
 Odudua, or Oduduwa, is also called by the titles “Olofin Aye,” “Olufe,” or “Olofin Oduduwa:” he represents the power of the womb, that brings forth existence, and is one of three manifestations of the supreme god. Historically, he was the first king of the city of Ile-Ife in the ancient Yoruba kingdom, now in the territory of Nigeria.
 Song and dance for Xangô, divinity of Yoruba origin.