||Joaquim Guedes da Cunha Rego has became known all over Brazil as Master Vavau, but his life had always been hard. By taking part in the regional festivals of Paraíba, he became a master puppeteer. He made puppets and came up with a story for each character – usually involving a farmer and his daughter, a cowboy, a priest, a soldier, monsters and so on.
After the death of Master Vavau the Centre of Popular Culture of Paraíba tried to revive his story, and for that they called upon his son, Edvaldo do Nascimento da Cunha.
In 1986 at 2 years of age, he already used to follow his father around and enjoy the stories he told. At 14 he had his first performance as a puppeteer, replacing his father who was ill. “Today, three years after my father’s death, I have decided to continue with his work and keep the name Vavau.” Unemployed, he lives off his performances which are infrequent. “My father could make 68 different voices. I can make several, and will one day equal him. I have to make new puppets. Sometimes I name them after people in the audience which makes them laugh. Things are difficult because now everyone has a TV and children don’t play outside anymore. Back in my father’s time he used to perform outside the shops, and at the end of every story the cowboy Benedito was arrested. Then he used to say that we needed R$ 30.00 to release the cowboy, and that’s when we’d pass the hat around for people to put some money in it. The cowboy was set free, and the story continued.”