Fifanos, fifaros or pife are small transverse flutes that are well known in Brazil by the northeastern pife bands. Brazilian natives also have their fife-style flutes at other scales. Some researchers believe that fife came to Brazil at the time of colonization. Others believe they are of indigenous origin. The fact is that in various parts of the world, native cultures have developed their transversal flutes.
The greatest tradition and profusion of fife bands are concentrated in the Northeast, but the sound has spread throughout the country. This form of expression can be found in all regions, in the Southeast (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais), in the South (Santa Catarina), in the Midwest (Federal District) and in the North, in tribes of the Upper Xingu . Also known as zabumba, gourd, warm woman, fife suit, among other names, they are formed by intuitive musicians.
It is hard to believe how an instrument apparently so simple and made by hand is capable of producing such rich and beautiful music, animating parties, processions and still being the livelihood of many musicians in various regions of Brazil.
“The famous Feira de Caruaru, in Pernambuco, sung by Luiz Gonzaga, and Brazilian Intangible Cultural Heritage, continues to be a showcase for bands in the region. There is the Banda de Pífanos São Cristóvão, from Panelas, in the countryside of the state. The accordion player Dominguinhos used to say: “From seeing the pife bands so much, Luiz Gonzaga was inspired to create this formation of the forró pé de serra, that is, accordion, zabumba and triangle”. The sound of these instruments also influenced Brazilian composers and arrangers such as Quinteto Violado, Hermeto Pascoal, Egberto Gismonti, Geraldo Azevedo, Naná Vasconcelos, Quinteto Armorial, Carlos Malta and Pife Muderno. ” (via: redebrasilatual)