The Saint in the Devil's Workshop

  • Zé Diabo

    Zé Diabo (and notice the beautifully unintended Exu trident here!)

    Zé Diabo is a metalworker...maker of the agogôs used by the Filhos de Gandhy and other afoxés here in Salvador. He also makes stylized representations of the orixás for houses of candomblé.


    Zé got started in this 50 years ago, beginning as a helper for the master metalworker who gave Zé his nickname ("diabo" is, of course, "devil", but there's nothing nefarious about Zé...his master used to send him off on errands yelling "Vá diabo!" -- something along the line of "Get going you little devil! -- and the name stuck). Zé's full name is José Adário dos Santos ("dos Santos" being, of course, "of the Saints").

    For fascinating metalcraft and agogôs at non-tourist prices, you might consider paying Zé a visit at...

    Oficina São José
    Ladeira da Conceição da Praia, 26
    3322-4744 / 9602-2378

    ...and if you do so, you may just find yourself attended by Zé's own little diabo, son Joselito...

    Zé and his agogôs. Foto by o maravilhoso Adenor Gondim