Zé Pilintra

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Zé Pilintra statue.

Zé Pilintra is a folkloric and spiritual character in Umbanda and Catimbó traditions.[1]

He is widely reputed, especially among umbandistas (Umbanda practicers), as the patron spirit of the barrooms, gambling dens, and gutters (while not aligned with "evil" entities, however). The Zé Pilintra spirit is famed by its extreme bohemianism and wild partying persona, being a kind of trickster spirit.

The entity is summoned when his followers need help on domestic, business, or financial affairs and is generally regarded as enforcer of charity and is considered to be the protector of the poor.


In Umbanda, Zé Pilintra is widely believed to be an Exu.

In Catimbó, Zé Pilintra is seen as a wandering human spirit leading a phalanx of malandros.

Distribution of followers[edit]

The followers of Zé Pilintra are concentrated in the urban areas of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, but they are also found in the rural regions of northwestern Brazil, among catimbozeiros (followers of Catimba).

On media and popular culture[edit]

Brazilian composer and singer Chico Buarque based the main character of his Ópera do Malandro according to the visual style and manners of Zé Pilintra [2]

Brazilian musician and composer, Itamar Assumpção, wrote a song about Zé Pilintra in 1988, with Wally Salomão as composing partner, named "Zé Pilintra".[3]

Brazilian samba composer and singer, Bezerra da Silva, recorded a song about Zé Pilintra in 1976 on his album O Rei do Côco, named "Segura a Viola (Zé Pilintra)" (Hold the Guitar, Zé Pilintra).


  1. ^ "Instituto Imágick". 1 December 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Chico Buarque's Ópera do Malandro". 1 December 2006. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Rita Amaral e Vagner Gonçalves da Silva - Foi Conta pra Todo Canto". Retrieved 26 May 2010.