Salvador da Bahia, Brazil Central
The Deep Guide to Brazil's Essentiality
Sprawled across broad equatorial latitudes, stoked and steamed and sensual in the widest sense of the word... limned in cadenced song...
its very name born in heat and embers, Brazil is a conundrum wrapped in a smile inside an irony.
Plus, You Can Be a Relay Torch Bearer for Music!
For Music from Salvador! For Music From Wherever YOU Are!
Human ChainLinks Carry Musical Knowledge Across the Globe
There is a musical conundrum in the world, a puzzle so blatant that most people are unaware that it even exists. While it seems that in superwired modernity we have clear and free access to the world's music, we don't. Case in point: There is brilliant music here in Salvador, Bahia that you will never know about unless you are here (and I'm not talking about Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso and other major-label war horses; nor schtickmaster Carlinhos Brown). Major labels can get the word around, but the paradigm has changed and is continuing to change.
So we built a "book" into which anybody can write and recommend, and anybody can follow these recommendations, should they see fit.
Subject: In music, all too often it's you can't get there from here. This is absolutely unnecessary nowadays and we're working to change it (with a lot of help from our friends).
- We are all very well connected: You and me and Quincy Jones. And Nicholas Payton and Tommy Peoples. And Joshua Bell and Mick Jagger. Plus every living musician and producer out there. Via the phenomenon known as Small World/Six Degrees of Separation
- If we turn these intangible relations between musicians (and the people who listen to them) into tracks which can be followed, there will be a way, within a few short hops, for anybody to potentially reach any musician anywhere in the world (even if they've never heard of them).
- That's the theory. How do we put it into practice? Like this: Let people create followable connections to musicians (and others) in an online codex (codex is Latin for "book"). As in life, the connections themselves will be interconnected, meaning that people can move from musician to musician to musician (or any member) throughout the system.
- e.g. Herbie Hancock connects to a genius bass player known to him and his erudite friends. That guy connects to a singer in Cape Verde. She connects to a singer in Rio de Janeiro, who connects to a widely unknown band in New Orleans. They connect to a magnificent gypsy jazz guitarist who lives in a trailer in Belgium...
- Beyond world-wide-wired interlinkability, codex pages can also be linked out to everything else one might want findable: website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channel, Spotify, Soundcloud, music download sites, etc.
- The beautiful upshot of all this being that for the first time since man began making music over 30,000 years ago, musicians across-the-board are within reach of the world-at-large. By way of a musical democracy curated by the deepest, most subtle and powerful recommendation software ever devised: the collective human mind.
- I hope you'll be a part of it! (Non-musicians welcome too.)
- I'm an American who's lived for the past twenty-two years in Bahia, Brazil, where among other things I opened a record shop (Cana Brava Records) devoted to the primordial samba of the Bahian backlands and where I spend the time I can out in the small communities (fishing villages usually) where this music still exists.
- "Sparrow" is the English-language version of what Brazilians call me...Pardal. David Dye was here last year and I organized a show for his World Café:
- I work with masterful but far-from-the-mainstream musicians who inspired the creation of a system of human chainlinks to carry knowledge of them and their music -- and that of others -- out into the world beyond the horizon.
- Before moving to Brazil I lived in New York city and "rescued" unpaid royalties for Led Zeppelin, Mongo Santamaria, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Philip Glass, the estate of Duke Ellington, Jim Hall, Ray Barretto, Airto Moreira, Astrud Gilberto, The Cadillacs (Earl Carroll), The Flamingos (Jake and Zeke Carey), among others.
Candomblé: West African Deities
on a Far Shore
Locations of houses of candomblé in Salvador!
It's night in Salvador and you
hear drumming. It may be coming from one of the numerous terreiros
de candomblé scattered throughout the city. Most
terreiros will permit visitors to attend their
ceremonies. Should you go, dress
respectfully. Trousers for men, and women should wear longer skirts. White is best because it is respectful to all the orixás.
("Orixá" is commonly translated as "god". A more accurate representation would perhaps be "saint". Candomblé posits a monotheistic supreme being -- usually referred to as Olodumaré or Olorum (in candomblé ketu) -- with the orixás being called upon as intermediaries between earthbound humans and the all-powerful, much as a Christian will pray for a saint's intercession on his or her behalf.
Orixá is by far the most common term in Bahia for these entities (the candomblé ketu term), although they are also referred to as Nkisi in candomblé angola and Voduns in candomblé jeje.)
If you speak Portuguese and would like to find information with respect to various houses of candomblé, where they are located, what nights they hold their ceremonies, and when they have their special festas, a good place to go is the FEDERAÇÃO BAIANA DE CULTO AFRO BRASILEIRO, located at Rua Portas do Carmo, 39 (1st floor) in Pelourinho.
City of Women: Mãe Stella (center)
It's said that Salvador has a (Catholic) church for every day of the year, they're all over the place. But this number -- or whatever the true number is -- pales in comparison to the number of terreiros de candomblé in Salvador. An amazing project, the Mapeamento dos Terreiros de Salvador truly and literally puts this into perspective, detailing 1,155 terreiros (and this doesn't include Itaparica!), with maps, satellite and other photos, leaders' names, addresses and contact and other information.
The practice of candomblé was at one time prohibited in Brazil (unofficially for centuries, and then officially by law between 1937 and 1945, during the Estado Novo of dictator Getúlio Vargas, who at the same time ironically, as part of his plan for the manipulation of the popular consciousness as a means for the further consolidation of his power, promoted Brazilian music and music which promoted Brazil, e.g. Ary Barroso's Aquarela do Brasil), and thereafter in Bahia a licence was required, the same that was required by nightclubs and gambling establishments. After a personal appeal by Mãe Stella of Ilê Axé Opô Afonjá to the governor of Bahia (Roberto Santos, in office from 1975 to 1979), this requirement was lifted, and new terreiros sprouted -- for the most part among the more humble neighborhoods -- like singing flowers weaving to the lovely melodies and gloriously complicated rhythms calling down to Salvador Iansã and Yemanjá, Dandalunda, Oxossi and Xangô...
Xangô in Cachoeira
CASA DE OXUMARÉ
Address: Rua Pedro Gama, (no number) - 2nd Travessa - Federação
The address for this terreiro is in Federação, but unless you
know the winding backstreets of the neighborhood you'll never get there. The terreiro is very easy to get to from Avenida Vasco
da Gama, however (there is an entrance at Vasco da Gama, 343), and
thus the locale is located conveniently close to the city center.
Arriving from the Vasco end, however, means climbing steps, lots of
steps -- one hundred and four of them to be exact.
The full name of the house is Ilê Axé Oxumaré.
It was founded around 1900 and is descended from the Ketu Nation.
Ceremonies begin at 8:00 p.m. (or so) on Wednesday nights, and last
two to three hours. Visitors are welcome.
Address: Av. Vasco da Gama, 463 - Vasco da Gama
*Mãe Altamira Cecília dos Santos
Casa Branca (White House), or
Ilê Axé Yá Nassô, is usually cited as Salvador's first house of candomblé, but it might be better said to be Salvador's oldest continually functioning house of candomblé because candomblé was practiced in the senzalas and on the terreiros of the sugarcane plantations both before (and after) the house was established. The "house" (in an organizational sense) was first located on the Ladeira do Berquo -- now known as Rua Visconde de Itaparica -- behind the Igreja (Church) da Barroquinha (the church is easily visible from Praça Castro Alves; it burned in 1983 but the structure still stands).
are on Sunday nights, beginning at 8 p.m.
GANTOIS (Ilê Axé Yá Massê)
Address: Alto do Gantois, 23 - Federação
was the house of famous Mãe Menininha (mother
of Mãe Carmem, who now presides over the terreiro...a lovely song in Mãe Menininha's honor was composed by Dorival Caymmi; Dona Ivone Lara -- first lady of samba -- sings the
Candomblé Angola on the Beach!
February 2nd, 2012. A group from Irará, Bahia at the Festa de Yemanjá. A woman to the left has been possessed.
In Salvador's neighborhood of Castelo Branco.
Salvador da Bahia: Arts & Essences
Music of Candomblé
Mateus at a terreiro de candomblé in São Francisco do Conde
Without the resources to build cathedrals, their temples of worship simple houses within the means of runaway or freed slaves, African-Brazilians reached inward for what they could project out, and the result of their soul-searching was soul-stirring music and dance. These are the Tincoãs of Cachoeira, Bahia (a tincoã is a bird native to the region), in extremely rare footage. Mateus, their primary composer (building on melodies and rhythms of candomblé) is the only surviving member of the group. The lower quadrant features another song of Mateus' taken straight from candomblé (and elaborated upon). The first singer there is Thalma de Freitas, accompanied on piano by her father, Maestro Laércio de Freitas. Second voice is Mateus' daughter Fabiana, and Mateus himself plays guitar.
The deities which are the subjects of the song are both mother figures, the first being Yemanjá, and the second Nanã. Saravá!
As for Mateus himself, he was brought up in the terreiro Roça do Ventura, a Jêje candomblé in Cachoeira. The Jêje house in Salvador is Bogum, in the neighborhood of Engenho Velho de Federação...a principal runtó (ordained drummer) is Luizinho do Jêje.
Ederaldo Gentil's Beautiful Carnival Homage to the 50th Anniversary of Mãe Menininha's Ascension to the Leadership of the Gantois House of Candomblé!
Mãe Menininha (front center right), 1940-41
The world lost and Heaven (Orum) gained Ederaldo Gentil on March 30th, 2012. This samba enredo (Carnival marching samba) was written by Ederaldo for the Filhos de Tororó in 1972.
Get Brazil's Most Historically Important & Moving Music!
And Help Finance Alumínio Saturno's Fight Against Prostate Cancer!
A Hand to Someone Deserving Never Sounded So Great!
Here's the story: Alumínio Saturno is one of Brazil's most important musicians. And one of its poorest. He, together with his brother João do Boi, leads Samba Chula de São Braz, an absolutely magnificent ensemble working in Brazil's deepest musical genre, analogous in Brazil to the delta blues in the United States. João is first voice, and Alumínio is first pandeiro (tambourine).
Alumínio in better days
Alumínio has been devastated by prostate cancer. No more samba for him. He sits at home, wasted away, wearing his urine collection bag and awaiting surgery in a public hospital in Salvador. Alumínio's main source of income has been subsistence farming, which he is now unable to maintain. His brother, the iconic João do Boi, is a street cleaner in their home town (which began life as a quilombo, a village of runaway slaves.
This is brother João do Boi, right (in his streetcleaning uniform), with percussionist Badega
A local producer got these guys (Samba Chula de São Braz) to Womex several years ago (Womex is a music industry extension of Peter Gabriel's World of Music and Dance), and they played several countries in Europe, and Israel, to deserved acclaim. That's all over for now.
So, I'm making their CD available for download online, nine U.S. bucks. Every centavo that comes in (after the Bandcamp service takes out their commission) is going straight to Alumínio, taken to his house personally by me. I'll put up a list of contributor/downloaders, and if you'd like for me to include any information about yourself, I'll gladly do so.
Alumínio can be seen dancing in the clip above, made outside his brother's house. Alumíno gets up to samba after João and then João's daughter, Alumínio's niece. Will Alumínio ever samba again? I don't know, but you can help to maybe make it possible.